Traveling can expand your mind. It’s a great way to expose yourself to new customs and cultures, seeing and doing things that would otherwise stay off your radar. However, traveling can also be mundane, inconvenient, and frustrating!
It all depends on where and why you are traveling – for personal enjoyment or for work.
Regardless of why you have to travel, spending time away from home and living in hotels can disrupt your regular gym routine.
Missing a couple of workouts is no big deal, especially if you are enjoying a deload. But, a break of a week or more could mean that you start losing some of your hard-won gains.
While most towns and cities have a gym you can use, and your hotel may even have a gym, there is no guarantee these options will be available everywhere you go.
The good news is that you can work out in your hotel room and maintain your fitness even if you don’t have a lot of time for exercise.
So, here are ten of the best hotel room workouts, each one selected to help you stay in shape during your travels.
- The Ten Best Hotel Room Workouts
- 1. Bodyweight Deck of Cards Workout
- 2. Prisoner Burpee Workout
- 3. Murph in a Hotel Room Workout
- 4. Push-up/Air squat Ladder Workout
- 5. Mike Tyson Squat Workout
- 6. Hotel Room Tabata Workout
- 7. The Luggage Workout
- 8. Resistance Band Workout
- 9. Push-up / Burpee Ladder Workout
- 10. 12-minute Hotel Room Bodyweight Circuit
- Hotel Room Workouts – Wrapping Up
The Ten Best Hotel Room Workouts
Stay in shape without leaving your room with the ten best hotel room workouts! But, before you begin, make sure you prepare your muscles and joints for what you are about to do by warming up.
Start with a few minutes of jogging in place or jumping rope, and then do some dynamic mobility and flexibility exercises for the body parts you’re about to train. Finish your workout with some static stretches to minimize delayed onset muscle soreness.
1. Bodyweight Deck of Cards Workout
If you travel a lot, you probably have a deck of cards in your luggage already. But, of course, you can always buy one from the lobby gift shop if you don’t. Using a deck of cards adds some randomness and variation to your training, which, given the absence of fitness equipment, could be very welcome.
How to do it:
Take your deck of cards, shuffle them, and place them face down. Turn over the top card. The suit determines what exercise you have to do, and the value is the number of reps. The exercises are:
Picture cards are worth 12 reps each, while aces are one rep. For jokers, do 50 jump jacks.
So, if you turn up a seven of spades, quickly drop to the floor and do seven sit-ups. Turn over the next card, e.g., ten of hearts, and then do ten air squats. Work your way through the entire deck as fast as possible until you’ve done all the cards.
2. Prisoner Burpee Workout
While we hope you aren’t a prisoner in your hotel room, the amount of space available is probably similar! This workout involves one exercise but, despite its simplicity, will still work virtually every muscle in your body, burn a lot of calories, and kick your butt!
How to do it:
For this workout, do a 20-1 descending ladder of burpees as fast as you can. Pause just long enough between sets to catch your breath and then move on. By the end, you’ll have done over 200 reps and will have trained your entire body.
- 20 reps
- 19 reps
- 18 reps
- 17 reps
- 16 reps, etc.
- 1 rep and done!
To do a burpee:
- Stand with your feet together and your arms by your sides.
- Squat down and place your hands flat on the floor.
- Jump your feet out and back into the push-up position.
- Do a single push-up.
- Jump your feet back up to your hands.
- Leap up into the air as high as you can.
- Land on slightly bent knees and repeat.
- Make burpees easier by omitting the push-up and/or the final leap into the air.
- Make this workout harder by starting your ladder with 25 or 30 reps.
3. Murph in a Hotel Room Workout
Murph is a CrossFit workout that, with one small modification, is ideal for travelers. The real Murph WOD (workout of the day) starts and ends with a one-mile run. Needless to say, if you are confined to a hotel room, that’s not going to be possible.
This version replaces the runs with another exercise to challenge your heart, lungs, and legs: burpees.
How to do it:
Storm through the following sequence as fast as you can. Complete all the reps for each exercise before moving on to the next. Break the reps down into as many sets needed, but try and keep your rests as short as possible.
4. Push-up/Air squat Ladder Workout
If your hotel room is very small, you may only have space for very basic exercises. That’s okay – you can still get a great workout from things as simple as push-ups and air squats. Despite being incredibly straightforward, this workout still works almost all your major muscles.
How to do it:
Storm through the following converging sequence of exercises as fast as you can:
- Push-ups x 20
- Air squats x 2
- Push-ups x 18
- Air squats x 4
- Push-ups x 16
- Air squats x 6
- Push-ups x 14
- Air squats x 8
- Push-ups x 12
- Air squats x 10
- Push-ups x 10
- Air squats x 12
- Push-ups x 8
- Air squats x 14
- Push-ups x 6
- Air squats x 16
- Push-ups x 4
- Air squats x 18
- Push-ups x 2
- Air squats x 20
5. Mike Tyson Squat Workout
Mike Tyson was famous for his ability to almost terrify his opponents into submission. The so-called “Baddest Man on the Planet” was one of the most dangerous, intimidating boxers ever to step into the ring and was the youngest world champion in history.
Sure, “Iron” Mike had incredible boxing genetics, but he also trained like a beast. One of his favorite leg workouts required nothing but a deck of cards and a little space, making it ideal for hotel room-bound travelers.
How to do it:
- Line up ten cards face down in a straight line on the ground with four inches between each one.
- Stand over the first card with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Squat down to pick it up.
- Take a step forward to the second card. Squat down and place the first card on top of the second card. You now have no cards in your hand, and there are two cards on the ground below you.
- Squat once and pick up the first card.
- Squat once and pick up the second card.
- Take a step forward to the third card. Squat down, and place one of the two cards in your hand on top of the card on the ground. Now squat down and put the other card on top of the cards on the ground.
- Squat one time each to pick up the three cards one by one.
- Take a step forward to the fourth card.
- Repeat this process until you’ve made it through all ten cards. At this point, you will have done 100 reps.
- Rest 1-2 minutes and then repeat.
Confused? Don’t be! Here’s a video demo of this workout:
6. Hotel Room Tabata Workout
Tabatas allow you to get a lot of work done in very little time. A single Tabata takes four minutes to complete, and this workout contains four of them to total 16 minutes. Requiring no equipment and very little space, this workout will tone and condition all your major muscles while burning plenty of calories.
How to do it:
For each Tabata, go as hard as you can for 20 seconds and then rest for ten. Repeat for eight sets to total four minutes. Rest one minute and then move on to the next exercise.
The exercises are:
- Mountain climbers – elbows on your bed
- Box squats – touch your butt to your bed each rep
- Crunches – calves resting on your bed
- Bulgarian split squats – rear foot on your bed (alternate legs set-by-set)
7. The Luggage Workout
You know that suitcase or backpack you’ve been dragging around on your travels? It’s the perfect barbell substitute. Sure, it’s not the easiest object to handle, and it’s not very well balanced, but that’s what makes it such a useful training tool.
Load up your case with some clothes, shoes, etc., and get ready to lift!
How to do it:
Do 3-5 sets of 12-20 reps of the following luggage-based exercises…
8. Resistance Band Workout
While you won’t be able to carry a set of dumbbells in your luggage, you CAN pack the next best thing – a set of resistance bands. Armed with a good set of bands, you can replicate most freeweight and gym machine exercises in the comfort of your hotel room.
Depending on your training wants and needs, you can do a bodybuilding-type split workout, a full-body circuit, and whatever other type of training you enjoy.
Combined with a door anchor and some ankle straps, you really can train every muscle in your body with resistance bands.
Here’s a full-body workout you can do with a simple set of bands:
|1||Resistance band goblet squat||2-4||12-20||45-60 seconds|
|2||Resistance band Romanian deadlift||2-4||12-20||45-60 seconds|
|3||Resistance band floor press||2-4||12-20||45-60 seconds|
|4||Resistance band bent over row||2-4||12-20||45-60 seconds|
|5||Resistance band shoulder press||2-4||12-20||45-60 seconds|
|6||Resistance band lat pulldown||2-4||12-20||45-60 seconds|
|7||Resistance band kneeling crunch||2-4||12-20||45-60 seconds|
|8||Resistance band Pallof press||2-4||12-20||45-60 seconds|
Please Note: Repetition ranges are for illustration purposes only. Depending on the strength of your bands, you may need to do fewer or more reps. So, to get the most from this workout, just keep going until you are within a couple of reps of failure.
9. Push-up / Burpee Ladder Workout
No time for a long workout? Try this push-up/burpee ladder. It’s over and done in ten minutes or less, but still pretty challenging.
How to do it:
- Begin in a standing position
- Drop to a push-up position and do one rep
- Stand back up quickly
- Drop back down and do two push-ups
- Stand back up
- Drop back down and do three push-ups, then stand back up
Repeat this pattern until you reach 10 reps, having completed a total of 55 push-ups, standing up between sets, and trying not to rest.
10. 12-minute Hotel Room Bodyweight Circuit
Unless you are on vacation, you may not have a lot of time on your trip for exercise. Even if you are enjoying some well-deserved time off, you may still prefer to spend your time doing something other than working out.
This bodyweight takes no more than 12 minutes to complete, requires no equipment, and works virtually every muscle in your body. That means you can spend your time doing something less energetic, like soaking up the sun out by the pool!
How to do it:
Do each of the following exercises in turn, moving quickly from one to the next.
- Alternating lunge x 30 seconds
- Push-ups x 30 seconds
- Butt-ups x 30 seconds
- Squat jumps x 30 seconds
- Bicycle crunch x 30 seconds
- Jumping jacks x 30 seconds
Rest 60 seconds and repeat twice more to total three laps in 12 minutes.
Hotel Room Workouts – Wrapping Up
Regardless of your fitness goal, getting and staying in shape requires effort and consistency. Sadly, more than a few missed workouts can cause your progress to stall, and you may even start to lose your hard-won gains.
Traveling and staying in hotels can disrupt even the most carefully planned training program.
Stay on track with these tried and tested hotel room workouts. Other than an optional set of resistance bands, you don’t need any equipment, and they’re all pretty short, so you have no excuse for not staying in shape on the road.
Of course, if your hotel has a decent gym, you are free to go and make the most of it. But, in terms of convenience and time-efficiency, these hotel room workouts are tough to beat!