In my 15-year career in the health and fitness industry, I have seen, and physically completed, hundreds of different exercise routines. Many of them, I have implemented with my clients through the years.
But of all the routines that I have come to know, my clients are most interested in the best routine and exercise for those who travel and find themselves constantly “on-the-go”. I’m grateful to have this method to share my thoughts, experience, and professional insight on which exercises I believe are the most effective, time-efficient, and simplest to complete in less than 30 minutes.
For the sake of those traveling, where no gym or use of weights and machines are available, I will solely focus on routines that use body weight and body plyometrics only. Additionally, I highly recommend any one who finds themselves traveling often to purchase a set of medium to high strength resistance bands. These will prove to be highly effective and invaluable. They are lightweight and take up no space in your luggage, all while providing a multitude of cool, creative, and beneficial exercises. Best of all? You won’t have to spend more than $10.
So let’s get started.
I believe in keeping an on the go workout as simple as possible. We will focus on the basics: targeting lower body, core, and upper body in a circuit routine. We will keep the rest intervals low, the heart rate up, to provide a fat burning cardio zone, and group the workout in three exercises per set before we take a 60-90 second max rest and then repeat. Each group will consist of a lower body exercise (such as the squat or lunge), a core exercise, and an upper body set. You will perform each group three times and then go to the final group of three exercises.
- SQUAT: Feet shoulder width apart toes pointed slightly outward, then descend your body so your thighs are parallel or below parallel for one rep. On the ascent it is crucial to drive up through your heels and contract and squeeze your thighs and glutes at the top of the rep. Each rep should take one second and no more than two seconds. To keep your back from rounding, a simple trick is to raise your arms in front of you towards the ceiling as you descend, lowering them to the ground as you ascend. Inhale on the descent, exhale on the ascent, and after you’ve completed 20 reps, immediately (with no rest) go to the core step below.
- CORE: Lying on the ground place your hands to your sides or hands under your glutes for stability, with both knees touching and feet together and with no bend in your knees, raise your legs to the ceiling for a leg raise that directly targets your lower and mid abs. On the descent make sure you tap your heels to the ground then repeat for one full rep. Now do 20 reps and then with no rest go to the upper body step below.
- UPPER BODY: Get into push-up position and keep your plank and back level, no jackknifing your body and no arching your back. Keep it solid. With hands at slightly wider than shoulder width apart, descend until your chest touches the floor and then push your body back up to lockout starting position, this is one full rep. Do 20 reps or as close as you can. After this set take 60-90 seconds rest, take a sip of water, don’t check your texts, and get ready to get back to business. Start this entire group again from the top for Round Two. After you do three rounds of squats, leg raises, and push-ups, you will move on for the final group of three new exercises.
GROUP 2/ FINAL GROUP:
- REVERSE LUNGE: Standing in a fully upright position, take a step back (about approximately 2 feet in length) slowly with your left leg while slowly descending your body, keeping your back straight and your eyes straight ahead and not down at the ground, lower your body until your right leg/thigh is parallel to the ground and your left knee barely touches the floor. Then slowly drive your body back up to standing position with the power of your right leg. This is one full rep. Once you are back to standing upright position, switch legs and step back with your right foot. Do 20 reps, 10 on each leg and then immediately, with no rest, go into the next step.
- PLANK PIKES: For those of you reading this that know me and have seen me in action with my clients, you will see this exercise as a staple of my core exercise arsenal. When done correctly, this exercise is a beast that not only fires up the entire core, but also indirectly targets the lower back, shoulders and arms.
- Get into perfect plank position resting your forearms on the floor. Unlike the stable static hold of the traditional plank, we are going to take it to another level. Slowly descend your hips until they touch the floor while still maintaining your body weight on your forearms. As soon as your hips touch the ground, push your glutes up toward the ceiling as high as you possibly can. Do this slow and squeeze and contract your abs tight. Also push and drive your body from your forearms so your hips and glutes are as high as possible. Your body should be in a jackknifed position and look like an upside down letter V. This is one full rep. Slowly descend your hips all the way back to the floor until they touch the ground and repeat. Do 20 reps.
- After this set your abs will be burning and feeling good, then immediately with no rest go into upper body.
- WIDE AND NARROW PUSH-UPS: Another staple of my upper body routine includes this great exercise in which you will change your hand distance upon each rep going from wide (wider than shoulder width) to narrow hand placement (10 inches apart). The wide placement builds and targets the outer pecs while the narrow hand placement targets the inner pecs, front delts, and the triceps. Narrow is much harder and by switching back and forth with each rep it makes it challenging yet very effective and cool.
Perform one wide push-up and immediately switch your hand placement to narrow and do rep two, then back to wide. Do 20 reps.
After this killer set and 3 consecutive exercises, you will likely be out of breathe and needing this rest interval. Rest for no more than 90 seconds. Repeat this group of reverse lunges, plank pikes, and wide/narrow push-ups for a total of 3 rounds to complete your killer “on-the-go” workout routine. And last, but certainly not least, smile big and give yourself a pat on the back for having the discipline to train on your travels or vacation.
By Drew Mauro, Mercedes Club Personal Trainer