Do You Travel Often? Try the “Hotel Room Workout” to Stay in Shape

Exercises that can be done in a hotel room to stay in shape when one is away from home for traveling.  

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Flex 'em
7 min read
Terrified that your traveling for work or pleasure is turning out to be a bit of a buzzkill for your daily dose of exercise?
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Terrified that your traveling for work or pleasure is turning out to be a bit of a buzzkill for your daily dose of exercise? Try what is called the “Hotel Workout” or the “Hotel Room Workout” much popular with many celebs and their trainers. It’s convenient, no-fuss, no-frills and requires a mere 20 minutes of your time (and possibly all the furniture in your suite including the futon!). Believe it or not it can even help you adapt faster to the new time zone!

Here are at least 13 different exercises and a bonanza of bonus exercises that you can do with zero equipment and burn as many calories as you would following the same full body routine back home with your equipment.

Wake Up With A Warm-Up

It’s no secret really that a warm-up when properly done (and with gusto!) elevates your heart rate, increases blood flow, raises your body temperature and wakes up your muscular and nervous systems, prepping them for the routine ahead.

Let’s start with a basic warm-up say Arm and Leg Swings and Circles, Torso Twists, standing Cross-Over Toe-Touches, High Knees, a few Jumping Jacks or any other set of warm-up exercises of your choice.

Strange Bedfellows

Challenging, badass exercises and that comfy bed in your suite that is. A delightfully unexpected meet cute some might say. Here’s why.

Incline Push-up

(Image Courtesy: Sindhu Rajkumar, Owner, VO2MAX Workout Station & Fitness Instructor)

Assume the push-up position with your arms on the bed, hands more than shoulder-width apart and a bit forward as compared to your shoulders, elbows straight and feet on the floor behind you. Keeping your head, neck and back in one line, core tight and glutes squeezed, slowly lower yourself to the bed bending your elbows. Then push back to the starting position.

Inhale as you go down and exhale on your way up. Typically you exhale in the toughest part of any exercise or when you’re working against gravity. Tough to remember? Just breathe normally throughout. Pair up with Cross-body Mountain Climbers to make this exercise really work for you.

Try 5 Reps x at least 3 Sets

Bonus Exercise: You can even do Side Planks resting your elbows on the bed.

Decline Push-up

(Image Courtesy: Sindhu Rajkumar, Owner, VO2MAX Workout Station & Fitness Instructor)

This if you ask me is the scheming evil twin of the Incline Push-Up. Obviously I mean this is in the nicest way possible. Go on all fours on the floor ahead of the edge of the bed, elevate your feet to the bed. Ensure your shoulder, elbow and wrist are in a straight line and your hands are more than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your abs tight, elbows close to your body and your body itself in a straight line, lower your chest down to the ground as much as you can and push back up to the starting position. Terrific toning happening right there for the chest and arms.

Raise your leg up for a more advanced version of this exercise.

Do 5 Reps with the right leg up followed by 5 with the left one up and maybe just 2 sets of this.

Pillow Passes and Leg Circles

(Image Courtesy: Sindhu Rajkumar, Owner, VO2MAX Workout Station & Fitness Instructor)

(Image Courtesy: Sindhu Rajkumar, Owner, VO2MAX Workout Station & Fitness Instructor)

Looks deceptively simple. You’ll soon realize it’s the perfect “sorbet” before the next course of fat-blasting ab exercises. Fold up the pillow to increase resistance.

Chair-o-Dynamics

Bulgarian Split Squat

Make no mistake, this is a decoy lunge masquerading as a squat! Be that as it may, it’s a fantastic lifting and toning exercise for your tush. Keeping your shoulders stacked on top of your hips, chest raised, rest your left leg on a chair and jump a bit forward with the right. Your right knee should not go beyond your toes. Both your right and left knees more or less give you a 90 degrees angle. Engaging your core, squat down and explode back up to the starting position. Repeat reps with the left leg forward.

(Image Courtesy: Sindhu Rajkumar, Owner, VO2MAX Workout Station & Fitness Instructor)

5 Reps on each leg x 2 Sets

Lateral Lift to Crunch

(Image Courtesy: Sindhu Rajkumar, Owner, VO2MAX Workout Station & Fitness Instructor)

On to some obliques action. Resting your left elbow on the top of the chair, right hand behind your head. Raise your right leg, drive the knee into a crunch and lower down.

12 Reps on each leg

Modified Sit-Ups

(Image Courtesy: Sindhu Rajkumar, Owner, VO2MAX Workout Station & Fitness Instructor)

Here comes some serious double trouble that hits both your abs and obliques. Park your feet flat on the ground on either side of the chair, tuck your abs, press your palms together and as you sit-up twist a bit and drive them first to the right, then come back down till your lower back kind of taps on the floor. Come up again this time drive your arms to your left.

Try to do at least 20 of these.

Louis Vuitton and Lats

Squat and Overhead Press

Grab any bag, holding it in front of your chest. Pushing your hips back, sit back into a squat till your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Now pushing through the heels push the bag up. Reduce or add content to the bag to challenge yourself adequately for this exercise. Keep your movements slow and controlled.

(Image Courtesy: Sindhu Rajkumar, Owner, VO2MAX Workout Station & Fitness Instructor)

Try 10 -12 Reps.

Luggage Rows

(Image Courtesy: Sindhu Rajkumar, Owner, VO2MAX Workout Station & Fitness Instructor)

Resting your left arm on the seat of a chair, stagger your right leg behind. Back, head and neck in one straight line. Bending at the hips, pull your bag up to your chest and slowly lower it down.

8 Reps per side x 2 Sets

Suitcase Hip Hinge

(Image Courtesy: Sindhu Rajkumar, Owner, VO2MAX Workout Station & Fitness Instructor)

Hip Hip Hooray! for your lower back and hamstrings, balance and stability as well. Stand hip-width apart holding your bag in your right hand. Bending your left leg, raise it behind you. Engage your core. Back, head and neck in one straight line. Now bending forward at the hip, slowly lower your bag till it almost touches the floor and come up.

6 Reps per side

And…That’s how it’s done!

Ottoman To The Rescue!

Even a sturdy coffee table will do.

Glute Bridge

(Image Courtesy: Sindhu Rajkumar, Owner, VO2MAX Workout Station & Fitness Instructor)

Lie on your back on the floor, feet on top of the ottoman. At this position ensure that your legs line up. Press down with your heels and raise your hips to full extension. Pause and then return to the original position. An advanced move is to keep one leg raised up during the exercise. Formidable four-way toning for your glutes, abs, legs and lower back.

12 Reps with each leg up

Now for some, Edge-Of-The-Seat-Action!

Tricep Dips

(Image Courtesy: Sindhu Rajkumar, Owner, VO2MAX Workout Station & Fitness Instructor)

Hands on the edge of the ottoman on either side of your hips, palms facing down, fingers facing your glutes, elbows pointed back and feet stretched forward and down on the floor on your heels. Scooch down lowering yourself toward the floor keeping your back and glutes close to the ottoman till your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Pushing back with your hands, raise yourself back up to the starting position squeezing those triceps. Want to make it a tad easier, bend your knees.

6 Reps X 3 Sets

Best Bud: Your Own Bodyweight

All too often we tend to overlook the fact that we always carry on our person arguably the most versatile of all exercise equipment, our own body weight. Kicks (front, back and side) in combination with lunges will give you the much-needed Cardio Blast.

Bonus Exercises

Try Walking Lunges or Reverse Lunges with Front Kicks. Power boosters for your glutes, quads and core. Even for that matter a few Surya Namaskars, for ingeniously integrated into this all-encompassing exercise is a Dive Bomber Push-up and Cobra among other exercises.

(Image Courtesy: Sindhu Rajkumar, Owner, VO2MAX Workout Station & Fitness Instructor)

(Image Courtesy: Sindhu Rajkumar, Owner, VO2MAX Workout Station & Fitness Instructor)

(Image Courtesy: Sindhu Rajkumar, Owner, VO2MAX Workout Station & Fitness Instructor)

(Image Courtesy: Sindhu Rajkumar, Owner, VO2MAX Workout Station & Fitness Instructor)

Word of Advice

  • Don’t let the ‘Reps and Sets’ be a cause for you take a rain check and skedaddle. Simply do as many as you can without overly or unduly tiring yourself out.
  • An exercise is only as good as the form and technique you use to perform it. Closely follow professional instructions and guidelines to reap the benefits of an exercise to the maximum. One of the best places to learn good form and technique for any exercise is the Exercise Library of the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
  • It’s always a good practice to consult your doctor before you set out to attempt any new set of exercises away from home, especially if you have a pre-existing or suspected medical condition.
  • If you’re not comfortable doing a particular exercise, reduce the intensity or resistance or do an easier, modified version or just skip it altogether.
  • Floor Alert! Beware of the creaky, wooden floors you typically find at those exotic resorts. It does not bode well for those plyometric jumps!

Bon Voyage!

Lastly, do not forget to hang the “Do not Disturb” sign outside your door (lest the cleaning lady chances upon you in a disturbingly downward-facing dog pose!!), and buzz Housekeeping for some extra hand towels. Post-workout reward yourself by tucking into with a well-deserved, wholesome and healthy breakfast buffet. Bon Voyage!

(Aruna Ramesh Balaji is a freelance writer, fitness instructor and former television journalist. She firmly believes that one of the gateways to a happy life is good health made possible by significant lifestyle changes. It’s her most cherished goal to make available the collective wisdom, both ancient and contemporary, of masters and experts in the fields of health and fitness, so readers such as yourself can lead healthier and more fulfilling lives.)

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