By Kim Fuller Published November 2014 in the Vail Daily
Hotel gyms are a nice perk for travelers looking to keep their fitness on point, but consider that the hand towels in your room can be just as effective for exercise. Pack a few minimal tools that don’t take up much space in your suitcase — a resistance tube with handles and a mini band. Combined with a few things that are most likely in your room — a chair and hand towels — and you can get a quick workout without leaving your hotel room.
“I’m the type of person who packs a whole suitcase of things that I don’t need, and these don’t take up any space,” said personal trainer Malori Bennett of her recommended packable fitness tools, “so that makes it really easy.”
Bennett trains at the Aria Athletic Club in Vail and Dogma Athletica in Vail, and she implements the same roadie routine for herself when she’s traveling as she recommends for her clients.
“If you are trying to keep your exercise on track, to wake up or to find that half an hour and to get something like this in … is really important, I think,” she said.
Traveling provides a lot of opportunity to embrace a sense of place, which can be a great way to get your heart rate elevated.
“I try to walk around in new cities as much as possible,” said Jenny Tucker, a local barre instructor. “It let’s you explore on a different level.”
On a recent trip to New Orleans, Tucker took advantage of early hours to get her sweat on.
“I loved running through the French Quarter before the city really woke up,” she said.
Bennett said circuit-style training is fast and efficient. She recommends body-weight resistance exercises that can be done with a tube, mini band, chair (elevated surface) and gliders (or hand towels), as well as implementing some cardio.
Choose one or two resistance exercises with each tool and do two 45-second sets, followed by 10 seconds of rest between the sets. Switch up the exercises you do on different days to keep a well-rounded approach. Implement one or more of the recommended cardio exercises during your session, or find time to walk, run or bike to elevate your heart rate.
“You don’t need hours of cardio and time at the gym,” Bennett said. “Do 30 minutes of ‘go until you can’t go more, stop until you can go again.’”
GLIDERS (HAND TOWELS)
Come onto your back, then stay on your heels as you slide your feet in toward your tailbone. Keep your gluteal muscles off the floor the whole time. Keep the top of your back down, and do not use your hands.
Set up a plank position with your arms straight and your torso strong. Lift your hips up over your shoulders as far as you can without bending your legs. This is less about speed, more about form. Hold a plank when you are stopped.
Extend your arms full in a plank. Bend one knee in toward your tricep with toes lifted, supported by your core. Extend your leg back and set your foot down before you bring the other knee in. Keep your hips low in line with the rest of your body.
Side lunge walk
Hold a squat deeply as you step laterally (a big step and then a little step, repeated) one direction several times (depending on how big your space is), and then go the other direction for the equal amount of steps. Don’t rest your hands and keep the squat low.
Hold a low squat and dig your heels in as you walk forward with big, wide steps. Walk forward as far as you can with your allotted space, and then walk backwards.
Take a wide and powerful step out to one side and do a low squat, pulling weight back into your heels with your knees over your ankles, your back straight and chest up. Bring your feet back together and switch sides.
With one or two feet standing in the center of the tube (both feet creates more resistance), pull the handles up while keeping your shoulders back and your chest out. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement.
Stand straight up with your hands at shoulder-height, a short or longer distance apart (a short grip on the tube creates more resistance). Keep your arms straight throughout the movement as you spread your arms apart, squeeze your upper back. Bring your hands back toward center to repeat.
Stand at the center of the tube with one or both feet. Pull the handles up toward you with elbows and hands turned out. Bring weight back into your heels, keep your shoulders back, look forward and squat down with knees over ankles. Press down through your heels to stand up straight, activating your core and squeezing your gluteal muscles as you come up.
Hold one handle of the strap with a hand, and place the other handle in the foot opposite of the hand holding the strap. Use your free hand to hold the tube to keep it tight. With a flexed foot in the handle, pull your knee in like mountain climbers, then extend it back. Stay with one leg on the first set, then switch to the other leg for the second set.
Place the toe edge of one foot on the ledge of a chair, stand or bench, taking a large step forward with the opposite foot so that your front knee is over your ankle when you bend it (not in front of it). Bend your front knee as low as you can and come half way back up to pulse up and down. Don’t lean forward, and keep your shoulders back.
Place your hands on an elevated surface with fingers facing your back. Your elbows and hands stay where they are as you dip your shoulder down to create a right angle, then come back up. Make this harder with one leg straight out in front of you.
Side plank dips
Place a straight arm on the elevated surface so that your body is facing toward the right or left. Keep your body strong and straight while you drop your hips down, pulse, then back up. Keep your opposite hand in the air.
CARDIO BURST EXERCISES
Add these in either after strength training sets or as a circuit station.
• Toe taps (on at least a 2-inch surface)
• Lateral jumps
• Burpees, burpee push ups, burpee long jumps
• Jump rope
• Push ups
• Jumping jacks
• Johnny jacks (In a plank position on elbows, lift yourself with each arm up to a hand plank position, and then down and back up quickly and repeatedly.)
• Alternate jump lunges (quick and explosive)
• Squat jumps/Sumo squat jumps (toes pointed out 45 degrees, works inner thighs)
• Bicycle crunches
• Planks and side planks