No gym? No excuses (sorry!). Repurposing common household items and your go-to travel gear, these super efficient resistance moves prove you can keep up your fitness routine from wherever you are in the world—even your living room—without traditional equipment, a spacious workout studio, or a ton of time.
As always, consult with your doctor before starting this or any other new-to-you exercise program, and remember to honor your body—take each move at your own pace and make modifications as needed.
Before blitzing through the circuit below, get your blood pumping with a few minutes of easy cardio and active stretching—think arm circles, reverse lunges with overhead arm reaches, and light jogging in place. Feeling warm? Let’s work it out.
Move 1: Plank with Pike
In lieu of gliders, which add core-challenging instability to ab work, fold a kitchen or hand towel into a square and position under your toes while you come into a high plank. Keeping your core tight and your hips slightly tucked, slowly pike hips upward, pause a beat, then return to your plank. Complete 15-20 reps.
Move 2: Straight-Arm Sit-Ups
Recruit your Stash Waist Bag to help boost flexibility and engage your core in this twist on traditional sit-ups as the next move in your travel workout. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet hip distance apart, flat on the floor. Holding the bag lengthwise, with one end in each hand, stretch arms overhead to begin. Slowly curl up to a seated position, keeping arms fully extended in front of you. Hold one count at the top, then slowly roll back down, vertebrae by vertebrae, to your starting position with arms stretched overhead—that’s one rep. Complete 15-20 reps.
Move 3: Weighted Jumping Jacks
Time to get that heart rate up with a quick cardio burst! This is an easy travel workout move no matter where you’re at. Stash a full, well-sealed water bottle into the surprisingly spacious (and aptly named) Stash Waist Bag to add resistance. Holding one end of the bag in each hand, press arms overhead while jumping feet in and out. Do as many jumping jacks as you can in 45 seconds.
Move 4: Sliding Side Lunges
Fold your towel in half (feel free to dab off some sweat first!) and place under your left foot. Standing with feet hip distance apart, sink back into a squat while sliding your left foot out until you feel a stretch in your inner thigh. Make sure to keep your core engaged, knees over toes, and back flat while you slowly draw your leg back into your starting squat position. Complete 15 reps on your left leg, then 15 on the right.
Move 5: Weighted Squats
A travel workout is all about using the gear you have on hand. Fill the lightweight Wayfinder Backpack Mini (which happens to make for a great workout bag) with water bottles, cans, books or other gear to bump up the burn during standard squats. Once you’ve reached your desired weight—you should still be able to maintain proper form, with a tight core and flat back—put on your backpack and sit back as if you’re going to sink into a chair, keeping feet hip distance apart, knees tracking over toes, and your weight in your heels. Pause at your deepest squat position, then come back up. Complete 15-20 reps.
Move 6: Bent-Over Row
Enlist the travel-ready Cargo Hauler Duffel 40L—filled with water bottles or books until you reach a weight that’s challenging for you—to strengthen the muscles in your back. Stand with your feet hip distance apart, maintaining a soft bend in your knees and leaning forward at the waist. Keeping your arms straight, hold the weighted duffel in front of you with one strap in each hand so that it’s parallel to the ground. Bend your elbows and row the duffel up to your torso, squeezing your shoulder blades together for one count, then slowly lower the duffel back to your starting position. Complete 15-20 reps.
Move 7: Wall Sit with Bicep Curls
Activate your lower body while you work your biceps with water bottles or cans. Lean against a solid wall with your feet positioned shoulder width apart, about 12 inches in front of you, then lower your hips until you reach a 90-degree angle with your knees. Keeping your elbows tucked into your waist, slowly curl your weights upward (you can work one arm at a time if you only have one bottle or can handy). Squeeze at the top before slowly releasing back down. Complete 15-20 reps.
That’s your total-body circuit! Go through 2-3 more rounds of the above moves, depending on your energy level and how much time you have to burn.
We want to know: What are your favorite ways to fit in a travel workout when you can’t get to the gym? Share your top tips and go-to moves with us on Instagram or Twitter !
While Eagle Creek is here to provide tips and insights on travel and wellness, we cannot accept any responsibility for any potential consequences arising from the use of this information. Always conduct your own research, consult with your health care professionals, and use your best judgment.
Stash Waist Bag
Cargo Hauler Duffel 40L
Wayfinder Backpack Mini
Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):
8 Skills & Survival Tips Every Traveler Should Know
7 Adult Running Camps To Elevate Your Fitness
How to Join a Meditation Retreat
By Drew Taylor on June 8, 2020
Drew is a travel- and wellness-obsessed writer, editor and social media strategist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her favorite destinations are Italy and Vietnam, though South Africa is next on her bucket list.