Three Great Travel Workouts You Can Do with Little Or No Equipment

Photo via iStock.

Traveling is a great time to gain much-needed recovery from working out, but if you want to keep up your fitness gains while on the road, it doesn’t have to be difficult—or involve the hotel gym. “Let’s face it, hotel gyms really can be lame sometimes,” says Corey Phelps, founder and creator of Cultivate365, an online fitness program based in DC. “Perhaps your hotel gym is lackluster, or maybe you would prefer to sweat it out in your room. Either way, your workout doesn’t need to suffer.”

Here are three fitness routines Phelps created for when you just want to hole up in your room and get your sweat on, or, if you’re so lucky, you find yourself at the beach.

The No-Equipment Workout

Phelps suggests performing each movement for one minute (or, if it’s a multi-side movement, one minute on each side). Repeat the circuit three to six times.

Invisible Jump Rope
Use your imagination and hop over an “invisible” rope. Hop about two inches off the ground in place, springing off the balls of feet. Twirl from your wrists, keeping your elbows close to your ribs. Always keep your core tight and knees soft.

Mountain Climber
Begin in a plank position, hands under the shoulders, core and glutes engaged, hips in line with shoulders, feet hip-width apart. Draw your right knee in toward the chest, then the left knee, alternating at a quick pace. For an added challenge and some oblique work, you can draw the knee in toward the opposite elbow, and alternate.

Plank Jacks
Begin in a plank position as above, and while holding the plank, hop your feet out wide then back to the starting position at a rapid pace.

Stand with feet hip-width apart with knees slightly bent. Jump to the left laterally, landing on the ball of the left foot while the right leg sweeps behind. Try not to use the right foot when you land. Then jump to the right laterally, landing on the ball of the right foot while the left leg sweeps behind, trying not to use left foot when you land. Continue alternating back and forth.

Runner’s Skip
Begin in a low lunge position (similar to the position runners get in before taking off at the start of a race). Put your left foot forward, your right foot back, fingertips on the ground. Bring your right foot forward and knee towards the chest and hop upward with the left. Try to land as lightly as possible on the left foot. Return to start and repeat, and then do on the other side.

Corey Phelps. Photo by Jesse DeYoung.

Resistance Band Workout

Phelps is a big fan of resistance bands because they take up little space when traveling and “can truly elevate any workout.” Here, she recommends performing each movement for 20 reps, repeating the circuit four to five times.

Place the band under your feet and hold the ends in each hand. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, hands at your shoulders. Sit down until thighs are parallel to the ground. Stand up and extend arms overhead. Bring arms back to shoulder height.

Single Leg Deadlift with a Row
Place the band under one foot, hands at sides. Hinge at the hip, keep the leg with the resistance band straight, extend the free leg behind, and pull your hands toward your ribs. Return to an upright position. Perform on both sides.

Sumo Squat with a High Pull
With the band tucked under both feet, stand with feet wider than shoulder-distance apart, toes pointed out, hands holding the band and extended in front. Sit down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Stand up and pull the band up toward your chest, reaching elbows up higher than your shoulders. Lower arms to start position.

Split Squat with Bicep Curl
Place the band under one foot and stagger feet into a split stance, arms extended straight out in front. Lower down into a lunge and bend your elbows to curl arms to a 90-degree angle. Stand up and lower arms back to start position. Perform on both sides

Triceps Pushup with a Kickback
Begin with your hands and knees on the ground in a tabletop position. Loop the band around one foot and hold the ends in each hand. Hug your elbows in next to your ribs and lower your chest down toward the ground while extending the leg, holding the resistance band back straight. Press up then lower your leg down to start position. Perform on both sides.

Single Arm Oblique Row
Begin in a seated position, legs extended out straight, band looped around both feet, holding its ends in each hand. Pull one arm towards the chest, leaning back and rotating simultaneously. Return to the start. Perform on the other side

Hollow Hold with Chest Expansion
Begin laying on your back. Loop the band around both feet, arms by your sides. Extend your legs off the ground and curl your head, neck, and shoulders off the ground. Your back should be flat on the ground. Pull your arms out into a “T” position. Return your arms to your sides and repeat.

Beach Workout

This running and strength workout is a dynamic circuit for the sand. Be sure to wear sport sunscreen that’s water- and sweat-resistant; hydrate well before heading out in the sun; and take water with you. (Here are more tips for running on the beach.)

Phelps suggests to start by running on hard, packed sand for five minutes at a steady pace. Then, for the circuit, switch to soft sand. Perform each movement for one minute with a 25-second sprint in between. Repeat the moves four to five times.

Walking lunges

25 second sprint


25 second sprint

Mountain climbers

25 second sprint


25 second sprint

Kim Olsen

Kim Olsen ([email protected]) is a freelance writer in Alexandria.