Exercising on Vacation: Fit Check

How to get those workouts in between relaxing and sleeping

Sleep in, pool, beach, lay out, sleep, and repeat. That’s usually how summer vacations go. But believe it or not, some people just can’t get away from their daily workouts—even when they’re spending a week in island bliss. So whether you need your fit fix or are just stuck inside because of that finicky tropical weather, here’s a workout you can do using whatever is in your hotel room.

Sports Club/LA trainer Alyssa Mouland runs a “Travel and Train” program and offers this six-exercise workout using a towel, suitcase, and chair.
Exercise 1: Towel Slides
Muscles worked: Inner and outer thighs
Reps: Three sets of 12 to 15 on each leg

Place a folded towel on the bathroom floor. Stand sideways to the right of the towel. Place your right foot on the towel, keeping your left foot on the bare floor.

Simultaneously bend both the knee and the hip of the left legs, while sliding the right leg directly out to the side. To return to upright posture, push through your left heel, straightening that leg while the right leg, which has stayed straight the whole time, slides back to the starting position. After 12 to 15 reps, switch legs and repeat.

“Only go as low as you can comfortably go and still be able to control the movement back to the starting position,” Mouland says. “For beginners, you may want to hold the bathroom counter top lightly to help with balance.”

Exercise 2: Pushups
Muscles worked: Chests, triceps, shoulders, and core
Reps: Three sets of 12 to 15

Lie chest-down with your hands at shoulder level, palms flat on the floor and slightly more than shoulder-width apart, with your feet together. Keep your back and neck in neutral posture, legs straight and your toes tucked under your feet.

Maintaining this neutral spinal alignment, straighten your arms as you push your body up off the floor until your arms are perfectly straight, but not locked. Your shoulder blades should be slightly separated at this point.

Slowly lower your body towards the floor by bending your elbows. Elbows should be coming out at about a 45 degrees angle from your sides.

Lower your body until your chest is a couple inches from the floor, where your shoulder blades should be squeezing together. From this position begin to push back up for your second repetition.

If you are unable to hold a neutral spine throughout the movement, Mouland recommends using the edge of a table or chair in the room. “The higher the ledge you use, the easier the movement, so choose the correct intensity for your skill level.”

Exercise 3: One-Arm Luggage Row
Muscles worked: Back and biceps
Reps: Three sets of 12 to 15 on each arm

Place your suitcase on its side with the side handle facing up.

Position yourself on the left side of the suitcase with your leg forward and the right leg back. Place your left hand on your left knee, tilting the torso forward about 45 degrees. Keep your back in neutral posture and engage your core. Grab the handle of the suitcase with your right hand.Pull your right hand back towards your right hip, squeezing your shoulder blades. Switch arms and repeat.

“How much stuff you leave in the suitcase during this movement depends on your level of strength,” Mouland says.

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Exercise 4: Lunge with Floor Reach
Muscles worked: Legs and gluts
Reps: Three sets of 12 to 15 each leg

Stand with both feet hip distance apart. Step forward with the first leg, landing on the heel of the front foot and lower the body by bending both knees until the knee of the rear leg is almost in contact with the floor. At the same time as you are lowering your body, slightly bend your torso forward to allow your hands to reach toward the ankle of the front foot.

Return to the original standing position by pushing through the heel of the front foot, remembering to bring the arms and shoulders back into good posture before beginning the next repetition. After 12 to 15 reps, switch legs and repeat.

Exercise 5: Chair Dips
Muscles worked: Triceps
Reps: Three sets of 12 to 15

Sit on the edge of a chair with your hands gripping the edge of the seat. Walk your feet away from the chair a few steps while allowing your hips to slide slightly forward until they are no longer on the chair, but still very close to it.

Keeping your legs straight, slowly lower your hips toward the floor by bending your elbows. Keep your upper arms parallel to each other and don’t let the elbows bow out to the sides.

Once the elbows reach a 90-degree angle, begin to push back up to the starting position.

Exercise 6: Plank
Muscles worked: Abs and shoulders
Reps: Three sets for 30 to 60 seconds

Come down to the floor on your hands and knees. Place your forearms on the floor with your elbows directly under your shoulders and your hands coming straight out from your elbows with your palms facing each other.

Step both feet backwards so that your body is straight and the only points of contact with the floor are your toes and forearms.

Pull your belly button up toward your spine, engaging your core muscles. Keep a neutral spine. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds.

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