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Stay in Shape on the Road with These Resistance Band Workouts

Stay in Shape on the Road with These Resistance Band Workouts

Do you worry about how to stay in shape when you travel? Going out of town can be a great way to relax, break up your routine, and give you a fresh perspective. When it comes to fitness and weight maintenance, however, the list of benefits stops. Whether you’re trying to lose fat or gain muscle, traveling can halt or even hurt your progress because your daily routine is thrown off, you’re constantly busy, you may not have access to a gym, and you eat out more.

There’s good news, though!  With a little planning and creativity, you can stay in shape while you travel, or even improve your fitness level. Use these travel hacks to stay healthy and return even better than you left!

1. Carry Your Gym With You

If you’re staying with family, friends, or at an Airbnb, you may not have a gym nearby. Even if your hotel has a gym, there’s a good chance it’s nothing more than three old treadmills, a bike, and a rickety multipurpose machine that appears to be from the 80s.

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Rather than get stuck with whatever you can find, pack a portable resistance-training workout in your suitcase. Three of the best items to include for both men and women are a set of resistance bands with door anchor and ankle strap attachments, loop bands, and a jump rope. It’s also a good idea to take a flat band, which is ideal for warm-ups and post-workout stretching. All of these are compact and lightweight so they’ll easily fit in your luggage, and will equip you to do both strength-training and cardio in your hotel room or outdoors.

    2. Rely on Resistance Bands

    Resistance bands offer a unique benefit from free weights because they create tension throughout the entire movement, requiring more control during an exercise. By forcing the muscles to constantly work, this form of resistance will increase the muscle fiber recruitment for better results. They also allow you to work from more angles, which gives you greater variety with less equipment, and aids in increased mobility and flexibility.

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    Using a door anchor with resistance bands adds multiple exercise options to hit your full body, and an ankle strap will make leg and glute workouts much simpler. Loops bands will allow you to do a greater variation of lower body exercises with more effectiveness than bodyweight alone. These are great for activating the glute (butt) muscles as well. And by activating them before heavier leg exercises like squats and lunges, you’ll see better results because you’ll be using the correct muscles to perform the exercise, not relying on stronger muscles like quads and hamstrings to take over.

    Even if you’re an experienced gym rat, when you switch to bands during vacation, you’ll stimulate your muscles in new ways, which is a helpful trick for busting plateaus!

    Make sure to take a set of 2-4 bands, because you’ll need different levels of resistance for different muscle groups. See below for sample workouts you can use on your trip!

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    3. Do High Intensity Cardio

    Whether your travel is for work or vacation, you’ll have time constraints and higher priorities than working out (Mai Tais on the beach, anyone?!). So keep your cardio short but effective. A great way to do this is high intensity interval training (HIIT) or Tabata. The method behind both types of exercise is to perform the moves with all-out effort for a short period of time, followed by a short period of rest. For Tabata, this looks like 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for 8 rounds. For HIIT, there is more flexibility, but may be something like 30 seconds on, 1 minute off. The key to both methods is to work as hard as you can during the work period (we’re talking sprint, not jog), then rest completely to let your heart rate drop back down.

    The benefit of both is that all you really need is your bodyweight. You can also do this on any cardio equipment. You’ll likely burn as many calories as you would during  longer duration, steady-state cardio, plus you’ll use more muscle, which torches additional calories post-workout.

    Example HIIT:

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    • Jump rope, sprint, or run stairs – 30 seconds
    • Rest – 1 minute
    • Repeat for a total of 15-20 minutes

    Example Tabata:

    • Mountain climbers – 20 seconds (rest 10 seconds)
    • Jump rope – 20 seconds (rest  10 seconds)
    • Squat jumps – 20 seconds (rest 10 seconds)
    • Burpees – 20 seconds (rest 10 seconds)

    (Repeat 8 times)

    Sample Workouts

    Start with the following warm up, then complete 3-4 sets of each exercise, either in a circuit or one at time (if one at a time, rest 30 seconds between each set).

    Warm-Up (using a flat therapy band, perform 15-20 reps of each)

    • Pass throughs
    • Bent over rows
    • Pull-aparts
    • Squats (standing on band, holding ends in each hand by shoulders)
    • Jumping jacks

    Upper Body Resistance Band Workout

    • Plank – 1 minute (no band needed)
    • Back row (anchor in door) –15-20 reps
    • Resisted push-ups (with flat band)– 10-15 reps
    • Mountain climbers (no band needed)
    • Bicep curl – 15-20 reps
    • Shoulder press – 12-15 reps
    • Triceps Extensions – 15-20 reps

    Lower Body Resistance Band Workout

    • Lateral walks (place loop band around lower thighs) – 15 each direction
    • Glute bridge (place loop band around lower thighs) – 20 reps
    • Squats (holding band in hands at shoulders )– 15-20 reps
    • Jump rope – 1 minute
    • Stationary lunges (holding band in hands at shoulders) – 10-12 each leg
    • Glute kickback (using ankle cuff and door anchor) – 15 reps each leg
    • Leg extensions (using ankle cuff and door anchor) – 15 reps each leg
    • Jump rope – 1 minute

    Full-Body

    • Plank – 1 minute
    • Core rotations (anchor in door) – 12 reps each side
    • Fire hydrants (with loop band around lower thighs) – 12 each leg
    • Squat with bicep curl – 15 reps
    • Bent-over row – 15-20 reps
    • Jump rope – 1 minute
    • Lunge with shoulder press – 10 reps each side
    • Burpees – 10 reps

    Be sure to stretch at the end using a flat band, including hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, chest, back and shoulders.

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    Last Updated on February 18, 2019

    8 Best Cardio Workouts for Efficient Weight Loss

    8 Best Cardio Workouts for Efficient Weight Loss

    When people think of cardio, usually a boring treadmill, elliptical machine, or other mundane activity comes to mind. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

    When you’re short on time or easily distracted, there are a variety of fat-burning cardio alternatives that will increase your body’s metabolism, boost weight loss, and keep you interested.

    Here’s a list of different types of cardio workouts:

    • Steady State (Burns less fat, but isn’t as demanding on the body)
    • Interval Training (Burns more fat)
    • HIIT
    • Spinning
    • Stairs
    • Weight Training (Supersets) short rest periods
    • Weight Training (Compound Sets) short rest periods
    • Machine Circuit Training

    And I’m going to talk about each of them in detail:

    1. Steady State

    Steady state cardio involves working at a low to moderate intensity — around 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate, for a sustained period of time. This type of cardio doesn’t burn a huge number of calories, but it does burn a high percentage of fat tissue for fuel, and it isn’t too draining.

    An example of steady state cardio would be a long outdoor walk at a moderate pace. Interval training, on the other hand, is much more intense.

    2. Interval Training

    Similar to HIIT but with exercises that are slightly longer in duration, interval training alternates levels of intensity. For example, if you enjoy running, you would run or sprint for 30 seconds, then bring down your heart rate and walk for two minutes.

    Pick two intensities per interval, usually one at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate and the other at 60 percent, and alternate between them. I find that 85% for 30 seconds and 60% for one minute, not only burns more calories but increases my energy level as well.

    Another example would be jumping rope. Jump rope for two minutes, rest for one minute. Begin again, this time jumping rope for one minute and resting for one minute. On the third and final round, jump rope for 30 seconds and resting for 30 seconds. Repeat five sets of this routine.

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    3. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

    Have a busy schedule? Fifteen minutes a few times a week is all you need. HIIT is an extremely popular workout because it can be done quickly, burn calories in a short amount of time, and can even be done in your home or during a lunch break at work. And the best part – You don’t need any equipment.

    With the use of your body weight, HIIT is typically 20 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of active rest which means your heart rate remains elevated for the entire 15-minute workout.

    Check out this HIIT routine by Fitness Blender: 15 Minute HIIT Workout

    4. Spinning

    Spinning is a great way to get your heart up and keep it up in a 45-minute spin class. Our thighs and back are our largest muscles so they work the hardest.

    To get the most out of spinning, try to stay out of the saddle throughout an entire spin class. That way, you are forced to hold up your body weight which burns more calories and increases intensity.

    It’s also great for stabilizing and building strong core muscles, versus cycling outdoors, where most of the time you are sitting in the saddle and going for distance (steady-state cardio).

    5. Stairs

    One of my favorite places to get out of the gym for cardio and trim fat from my thighs and butt is the Santa Monica Stairs, near California’s most popular beach. Climbing 170 steps a few times builds the glutes, leans the thighs, strengthens the calves, and builds endurance.

    So, if the gym is not your scene and you love the outdoors, climbing stairs is a great alternative. Find a place with multiple steps, do six or seven rounds, and you’ve easily burned around 600 calories.

    6. Supersets

    A superset is two exercises that work opposing muscle groups, such as biceps and triceps, quadriceps and hamstrings, or different body parts such as the lower and upper body with little to no recovery between sets.

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    The superset may include two to five sets of 8 to 15 repetitions of each exercise or more.[1]

    So, if you love to workout with weight-training but aren’t really feeling cardio, supersets with no more than 30-second rest periods between exercises will keep your heart rate up. Not only will you build muscle, you will burn fat!

    For example, say you are doing a leg workout, five sets of exercises with high reps and low weight is all it takes to turn your weight-training into a cardio workout.

    Here’s one of my leg training workouts:

    i. Dumbbell Step-Ups on a secure bench or box (4×15, each leg)

    ii. Front Squat (4×15)

    iii. Wide Stance Dumbbell Goblet (4×15)

    iv. Leg Extension (4×15)

    v. Leg Curl (4×15)

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      Photo Credit: Shape Magazine

      vi. Front Squat


        Photo Credit: Stack

        vii. Wide Stance Dumbbell Goblet Squat

        viii. Leg Extension

        ix. Leg Curl

          Photo Credit: T Nation

          7. Compound Sets

          Compound exercises are exercises that recruit muscles in the entire body, such as pull-ups, squats, bench press, etc. However, a compound set simply means to “compound” the number of different exercises into a series of sets with little or no recovery between, similar to supersets.

            This may be accomplished by performing four to five exercises for the same muscle group, opposing muscle groups or total body exercises performed in succession such as full body extensions, followed by squat/cleans and complete the compound set of compound exercises with lunges with biceps curls.

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            Compound sets put stress on the body and are great for expending additional calories while strength-training.

            8. Machine Weight Training Circuit

            Like compound exercises, a machine circuit workout targets the entire body, upper body, lower body, or core. The difference is, with the use of machines instead of free weights, muscle strength is increased by by making your muscles work against weight.[2] By limiting rest periods between exercises to 30 seconds, your metabolism will go into over-drive!

            Machines also give you better control over the exercises, which decreases risk of injury.

            Here’s a machine circuit training example: Muscle and Strength Machine Workout

            The Bottom Line

            The above-mentioned workouts should be completed within 30 minutes, unless you’re taking a class which is typically 45 to 60 minutes, giving you time to get on with the rest of your day.

            By keeping your rest periods to a minimum between exercises, your heart rate will stay elevated and you will burn more calories, get lean, and have more energy.

            Don’t be a gym rat, spending unnecessary time doing lengthy workouts that give you minimum results. For efficient weight loss, perform these workouts three times a week and watch the fat melt away while achieving your fitness goals.

            More Resources About Weight Loss

            Featured photo credit: Spencer Dahl via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Mountain Life Fitness: Super sets, compound sets and giant sets
            [2] Better Health Channel: Resistance training – health benefits

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