Jet-setting and road-tripping are fun, but they often throw a wrench in your regularly scheduled workout routine. Since most hotel gyms aren’t exactly inspiring, we asked personal trainer and former professional athlete Curtis Williams to hook us up with moves you can do on the go.
Every time Williams travels, he tosses SKLZ Mini Bands ($19.99, ladyfootlocker.com) into his suitcase or gym bag. “They’re super versatile so you can target multiple muscle groups without having a ton of equipment,” he says. “You can incorporate different modalities of training like stability, cardio, strength, and core work so you’re maximizing your time without limiting your workout.” Bonus: These mini bands are small (all three roll up to the size of a fist!) and lightweight, making them perfect for travel.
For each of these exercises, choose the mini band that matches your fitness level:
- Yellow is light resistance
- Red is medium resistance
- Black is heavy resistance
Perform each move for 30 seconds. For one-sided exercises, alternate sides for 30 seconds. To create your own workout, choose 5 to 7 of your favorite exercises, rest for 10 seconds between each, and complete 3 to 5 sets. Or try the quick hotel HIIT workout Williams created at the end of this article.
Place band around ankles. Stand with feet together and knees slightly bent, hinge at the hips, and touch fingertips in front of you for balance. Jump as high as possible and extend arms overhead while simultaneously spreading legs wide. Sweep arms and legs back to starting position and absorb the impact through legs to control landing.
Make it easier: Do a classic jumping jack with the band around ankles.
Place band around ankles and stand with feet wider than hip-width apart. Push off left foot to hop onto right foot as you swing left arm in front of you and sweep right foot behind you. Be sure to kick leg back (like you want to leave a footprint on the rear wall) rather than to the side, or the band will get bunched and roll up your leg. Repeat on the other side.
Start on all fours with band around midsole of each foot. Kick right foot straight back like you’re trying to stamp a footprint on the wall behind you. Engage abs to prevent arching low back. Return to starting position. Repeat on other leg and continue to alternate legs.
Start with band around legs just below knees. Lie on floor on left side with knees stacked and bent to 90 degrees, left elbow below left shoulder, and right hand on hip. Lift hips off floor to form a straight line from shoulder to knee. Keeping core tight and hips still, rotate right leg open to splay knees (like a clamshell opening) and then lower back to starting position.
Make it easier: Rest hip on floor.
Place band around ankles. Start with feet hip-width apart, core engaged, and arms at side. Jump feet out to wider than hip width as you send hips back to squat and bring hands in front of chest. Jump feet back together and stand up to return to starting position. For more in-depth instructions on how to squat correctly, go here.
Place band around wrists. Stand tall, core engaged. Bend elbows to 90 degrees with palms open (like you’re holding a serving platter). Keeping elbows still near ribs, engage the muscles between shoulder blades to spread hands wide. Return to starting position then lift straight arms to shoulder height and spread wide again. Bend elbows back to 90 degrees and repeat.
Lie faceup with band around feet, arms down by sides. Engage core and use low abs to draw knee to chest. Lower foot back to starting position. Continue to alternate with other leg.
Make it harder: Try this standing up to challenge your balance and further engage your core.
Place band around wrists. Start in a high plank position with wrists under shoulders, hips square, and core engaged. Drop to knees, keeping hips low. Pop hands open wide as you lower upper body and chest toward floor. Press palms into floor to explosively send upper body back up and pop hands back below shoulders. Repeat. For more detailed instructions on how to do a classic push-up, go here.
Make it harder: Lift your knees to perform a push-up.
Place band around ankles. Stand with feet just wider than hip width (you should feel some tension in the band). Bend knees and take a big leap to the right. Squat as you land to absorb the impact and touch right fingertips to floor. Repeat by jumping to the left and touching left fingertips to floor.
High Plank Leg Lift
Start with band around ankles in a high plank position. Keep abs tight and hips low. Bring left foot out to the left as wide as possible then return to starting position. Lift same leg up straight as high as possible, being sure not to arch lower back (you should feel it in your glutes). Return to starting position. Repeat on other leg and continue to alternate.
Place band around ankles. Stand with feet just wider than hip width. Send hips back and bend knees to lower to a squatting position. Bend elbows and clasp hands in front of chest for balance. Step forward as far as band will allow. Repeat with other leg for 4 steps and then reverse for 4 steps. Land on heel as you move forward and with toes as you move back for the best balance.
Place a heavier band around ankles and a lighter band around wrists. Start on all fours and then lift knees off floor. Move right arm and right toes to the right as far as your strength will allow and then follow that motion with the left hand and left toes. Repeat then reverse the direction to return to starting position. Keep core engaged and back level throughout so you don’t pike hips.
Reverse Crunch Split
Place band around ankles. Lie faceup, arms at side. Engage core and lift legs to a 45-degree angle. Using lower abs, slowly lift hips off floor, rolling up spine as if you’re trying to bring feet straight above chest. Thrust up as if you’re trying to stamp the ceiling with the soles of your feet, use abs to lower hips, and then lower legs back down to a 45-degree angle. Spread legs as wide as possible and then return to starting position and repeat.
Knee Tuck Rotation
Place band around feet. Start in high plank position. Using abs, draw left knee to right elbow. Return to starting position. Pull right knee to left elbow. Continue to alternate.
Hip Bridge Sit-Up
Place band just below knees. Lie faceup with knees bent, feet hip-width apart, and arms resting at sides. Press into the heels of feet to lift hips up, forming a straight line from knees to head. Slowly lower hips back down then use abs to lift upper body up to sitting while raising arms straight overhead. Slowly lower back down one vertebrae at a time to return to starting position. Repeat.
Make it easier: Follow the cues above but instead of doing a full range sit-up, simply do a crunch.
Want to try these moves during your next vacation or weekend getaway? Give this small-space routine a go.
Special thanks to Curtis Williams, Under Armour trainer and founder of Training C.A.M.P. in New York City, for curating and modeling these moves for us. He wears his own Under Armour gear. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.