The Work Out Anywhere No Equipment Travel Workout

The Work-Out-Anywhere Workout by Maria Faires, RD, ACE-PT, ACE-MES

Even if you don’t have access to a full hotel gym, this list of travel exercises provides you with some body weight exercises you can do in your room so that you don’t lose your fitness gains while you’re traveling. There are lots of exercise options here. Feel free to pick and choose. For best results warm up with cardio, do the first 4 exercises as a dynamic warm up. If time allows, stretch after your are done.

I have linked some of the exercises to my YouTube channel. Click on any blue font text and it will take you to a video demo.

Warm up cardio: It is always important to warm up before working out. Options are running in place, dancing, step ups, jumping jacks, jump rope, run around the block a couple of times or walk up and down a stairwell.

Ankle Touches: Run in place, turning your knees slightly outward, bringing the inside of the leg up toward the chest and reaching your hands to touch the inside of your ankles.

Crab To Toe Walk: Sit on the floor with your knees bent, your palms behind your glutes, and your feet flat on the floor. Lift your glutes a couple inches off the floor. Lift and straighten your left leg while reaching for your left toes with your right hand. Return to the starting position. Repeat with your right leg and left arm.

Shoulder circle: Stand with your arms straight out from your sides, parallel to the floor. Slowly rotate both arms forward in big circles. Continue for 30 seconds, then draw big backward circles for 30 seconds.

Fire Hydrant Circles: Get in hands and knees position, hips over knees and shoulders over wrists. Keep the arms straight throughout. Pull belly button to spine. Lift one leg off the ground with knee bent and perform circles from the hip; getting as large a range of motion as possible without moving your spine. Do big circles then reverse the circle then switch sides. Make sure your spine is staying stable and all the movement is coming from the hips.

Forward Leaning Lunges: get in lunge position, bend forward, place palms on floor.

Glute Bridges: Lying face up on ground with arms to side, knees bent, and heels on ground (or chair). Lift hips off the ground until knees, hips, and shoulders are in a straight line, hold 3 seconds, return to start position and repeat.

Push-ups: If these are too difficult, do standing pushups. This exercise works your chest, shoulders and arms. Kneel on the floor with about 75 percent of your weight balanced on your palms. Pull your abdominals in so your back doesn’t sag and your spine is in alignment. Bend your elbows and lower your body towards the floor. Once your upper arms are parallel with the floor, press back up to the start.

To do a more intense pushup, pack 2 paperplates for this sliding pushup!

Diagonal One Arm Sliding Pushup  

Forward to Back Lunge

Ski Jumps: side to side plyos with feet together.  

Wall-Sits: From a standing position, lean back against a wall or a solid stationary object and bend your knees sliding down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold this position for as long as you can. If this position is uncomfortable to you just go to a depth that you feel comfortable with and then work at being able to get into the thighs parallel position as you progress through the weeks of your program. Your feet should be 18 to 24 inches away from the wall to minimize knee stress. Continue to breathe throughout the entire time.

Wall Slides for Posture

Reach, Roll and Lift for shoulder stabilization.

Squat Thrust/burpees: Stand with feet together. Squat down and place your hands on the floor next to your feet. In an explosive movement, jump feet backwards into a push-up position (keep core braced), jump feet back between hands and stand up. Leap up as high as possible from the squat position.

Side lunge windmills. Lunge to right side and touch left hand to right foot, bring right hand up and behind you. Stay low I a lunge and move to other side. Keep back straight.

Jumping Jack: Stand upright with feet together and hands at your sides. Raise hands up above your head, while jumping up just enough to spread your feet about twice shoulder width apart. Immediately reverse movement back to start position without stopping. Repeat as many times as necessary as quickly as possible.

Squats: Stand tall with your feet hip width apart and your hands on your hips. Bend your knees and lower your body. How low you go will depend on your strength and flexibility, but never go so low that your rear is lower than your knees or your knees shoot out over your toes.  Stand slowly back up.

Forward Lunge with Overhead Reach: Hold onto a 5 to 15 pound object. Get into a lunge position. Descend into a lunge and on the way up press the object straight up.

Bench Walkouts to forearm plank: Toes on bench and palms on floor, walk hands back towards bench, walk back out, one arm down to forearm, other arm down to forearm, back up to palms, walk back towards bench.

Single Leg Balance. Standing on one leg, maintain your balance Try to hold for 1 minute. Once this exercise is too easy progress to eyes closed.

High Knee Jog 30 seconds

Hamstring Plate Slides. Lie on back knees bent with heels on paper plates. Tighten butt, slide plates away.

Bench Burpees: toes on bench or sturdy stable chair, hands on floor. Hop toes to floor then back on bench.

Calf Raises: Standing, lift heels off the floor and repeat.

Rear Blasters: Get down on your hands and knees. Slowly extend your right leg behind you until its straight and in line with your back. To get additional effect, squeeze at the top for a couple of seconds. Now slowly lower your leg back into the starting position.

Skipping: forward and back.

Target Touch: Place a “target” (any small object 10-12 inches high) on the floor. Stand on your right leg approximately 12″-18″ away from the target. Slowly, perform a single leg squat and reach across with your left hand and touch the target and return to upright maintaining single-leg balance the entire time. Keep your back straight the entire time.

Low Ab March: Bend knees and keep bent. Brace abdominals, lift one leg at a time, marching slowly.

Plank: Get into a pushup position and lower your forearms to the floor. Look down at the floor, pull in your belly button and brace your abs. If this is too hard put your knees on the floor. Keep your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging. Hold this position for as long as you can.

Side Plank: Lie on side, knees straight, upper body propped on your elbow and forearm. Hold.

Clam Shell. Lie on your side. Stack your legs one on top of the other, and tuck your knees forward about 45 degrees. Lean your hips forward. Lift the top knee up, keeping your feet stacked. Your legs should look like an open clamshell. Then close your legs. Repeat this movement 10 to 15 times, keeping your pelvis steady throughout the movement.

Bird Dogs: Kneel on hands and knees with legs and hands slightly apart. Raise arm out straight beside head while raising and extending leg on opposite side up out behind body. Hold 8 seconds. Lower arm and leg to floor to original position and repeat. Perform movement with opposite arm and leg.

Cool-down stretch: Take two minutes to walk until your heart rate slows and your breathing returns to normal. Then proceed with stretching.

Stretching Do a stretch for all major body parts: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Arms, Quads, Hamstrings, Calves.


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The Brettzel Stretch

The Brettzel Stretch

This outstanding stretch is recommended by almost every corrective exercise specialist, physical therapy and conditioning coach I know.

brettzelThis is an excellent total body stretch to improve your mobility and hence reduce your risk of injury. It targets your quads, hip flexors, piriformis and low back. It’s also an outstanding stretch to improve your thoracic spine mobility, a common dysfunction. Many shoulder mobility limitations are related to poor thoracic mobility so this stretch will aid in improvement.

Begin by lying on your left side with your head on a pillow or towel so your head is in neutral alignment.

Pull your right knee up toward your chest as far as possible so the angle between your torso and hips is less than 90 degrees. Hold your right knee with your left hand.

Now bend your left knee and bring your left foot toward your left glute and reach back with your right hand to pull the left foot/heel toward your left glute. (If you can’t get a hold of your foot on the left side (in this example), try using a rope or stretching strap to assist in pulling the foot up).

Pull foot gently. Keep your neck in a relaxed and neutral position. Finally, perform a slow controlled shoulder turn to the right while allowing the head eyes to follow. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds while practicing slow controlled breathing. Perform 2-3 repetitions, and then repeat the on the other side.

Do not force through any pain at any time.

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Get ready for volleyball!

I have designed a workout that will assist you with improving your volleyball game. The strength training portion of the workout will enable you to jump higher, while the cardiovascular portion of the workout will enable you to maintain your energy near the end of those grueling matches. Try this workout and you will be on your way to winning that first place trophy.

Warm Up: 5-10 minutes of low intensity aerobic exercise such as walking, biking, or jogging until you break a light sweat.

Strength Training: Perform each movement slowly while keeping the weight under control. For each exercise, perform 2 sets of 12 repetitions. Perform strength training activities after volleyball practices or games.(See Maria for your specific exercises). Allow 48-72 hours between strength training sessions. Strength training workouts should be performed 2-3 days per week.

Cardiovascular training: To significantly improve your cardiovascular endurance, consider the following information. Cardiovascular exercise should be performed 3-7 days per week for 20-60 minutes. Your heart rate should be between 50-85 percent of your predicted maximum heart rate, which is 220 minus your age. Cardiovascular activities are rhythmical, repetitive, continuous, and involve large muscle groups. Biking, running, swimming, stair climbing, and cross country skiing are all examples of cardiovascular activities.

Plyometric training: Choose 2 plyometric exercises and do them every other day. Flexibility training: Incorporate stretching into your routine during each workout. Stretch after a warm-up or at the end of your workout when muscles are warm.Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds and do not bounce while stretching.Repeat each stretch 3-5 times for all major muscle groups.    Your fitness level will improve during the initial 4-6 weeks. After this improvement phase, you may add additional sets and exercises to your strength training routine.

Volleyball Flexibility

Flexibility is essential if you’re going to achieve the kind of positions required to make big plays in a strenuous game. Most younger players spend a lot more time in the weight room than they do stretching, but if you’re all power and no flexibility, you can get micro-tears in your muscle fibers when you reach for a ball. And since your muscles cross your joints, your joints won’t have the range of motion you need to get to all those hard-to-reach shots.  Here are some of my favorite stretches for volleyball. Each of these exercises will help you perform your volleyball skills at a higher level.

Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage. You should do these stretches every time you play. One characteristic shared by all great volleyball players is that they are limber enough to do what it takes to get to the ball.

The pretzel stretch This stretch is an extremely important one for volleyball players because everything you do in this sport puts strain on the back of your thighs, your glutes and your butt. Squatting, lunging, digging – all of these things effect this area of the body.   Lie on your back with your head relaxed on ground. Cross your ankle over the opposite knee, then bend the bottom knee up until you feel a stretch in the back of the thigh that is on top.

Hip Flexor stretch Lunging for short shots is another common play that can cause you pain if you’re not limber. For this stretch, bend your forward leg, put your hands on your knees or on the ground and lean forward. Don’t arch your back, and don’t push yourself to the point of pain. The more flexible you get, the more you’ll be able to lean forward, but you shouldn’t overdo it when you first start out.

Hamstring Stretch sitting on heels. The hamstring muscle gets a big-time workout from volleyball, particularly when you’re scrambling for a ball. If you don’t have flexibility in your hamstring or in the back of your thigh muscle, you may cramp when you move quickly for a ball.  To do the hamstring stretch properly, don’t try to press your nose toward your knee. People do that all the time, and it’s a really bad habit. Instead, keep your back straight, put your hands on the knee of your extended leg and push forward a little bit, just until you can feel it in the back of your thigh. Once you feel it, stop.

Neck Stretch When you’re jumping up and pounding a volleyball, a lot of strain and tightness builds up in the back of the neck.

Part of the reason for this tightness is that you’re looking up to keep your eye on the ball as you track the set. Another reason is that, for any jump, you use your upper shoulder and neck muscles to get height. If you don’t keep this area loose, it’ll be tougher for you to sky.

Here’s a stretch that will keep your neck loose during a match. Grab your wrist and pull down on one arm. As you stretch, lean your head in the opposite direction of the arm being pulled. (In other words, if you’re pulling your right arm, tilt your head to the left.) Then, bend your head forward gradually. If you feel a slight pull behind your neck, you’re doing it right.

The Quad Stretch If you expect to get up to your maximum jumping height, you don’t want tight quads. Here is a great quad stretch. Notice how he’s keeping his back straight and his knee in line with his hip while pulling his back foot toward his body. When doing this exercise, never arch your back. That’ll do you more harm than good.

Groin Stretch To get a better angle on the ball for a pass, you end up leaning sideways in a way that puts a lot of stress on the inner thigh muscle. To avoid injuries when making plays like this, stretch from a sitting position, joining your feet at the front, pointing your knees outward and pushing gently downward. Again, watch your back posture. Never Slouch.


Plyometrics is one of the best ways if not the best way to improve power which will improve your vertical leap.  Let’s first look at what is power.  Power is similar to strength except you are adding the time factor.  Therefore the relation of strength and speed is what we are talking about when we talk about power.  A person who can perform a specific resistance movement, such as jumping, etc., the fastest would be said to have more power in that movement.  So what we are looking at is not just the contraction of the muscle, but how fast will it contract.  It has been shown that a muscle will contract the fastest when it has been loaded.  This is why you should be able to jump higher if you crouch down then immediately jump up than if you started in the crouch.  So if this is the best way to perform a powerful movement lets practice these movements.  This practice is called plyometrics and has been shown in study after study to decrease the time it takes for the muscles to contract, resulting in more power.

Plyometric Safety Tips

While plyometric will increase your vertical jump, form has quite a bit to do also. Try to crouch to a point where your knees reach a 90 degree angle. A good arm swing will easily add inches. By throwing your arms up as you jump you are decreasing the weight that you have to push off the ground and the inertia of your arms going up will help pull the rest of your body up. Also the faster you are moving before the jump, the higher you can jump. You can transfer this horizontal speed to vertical speed with the proper form. This is why high jumpers get a running start to jump much higher than they could standing still.

When doing jumping plyometrics, be sure to land on the balls of your feet without too much knee flexion and spend as little time as possible in contact with the ground.

Limit the number of jumps based on the ability to maintain good form.

Work and jump only on good surfaces. Avoid concrete floors.

Perform jumps with feet forward and knees and thumbs up. Land softly on the balls of your feet.

Listen…did you hear your feet as you land? Next time try to land more quietly.

Perform exercises at a controlled pace. Use pure muscle strength, not momentum.

Keep in mind that these exercises are strenuous. Be sure to rest two or three days between each workout. If you notice pain in your back, knees or ankles during or after, stop doing plyometrics and consult your trainer.

As for number of sets, try 1 for the first week, 2 for the second and from there increase as you feel necessary.

Remember, that as you jump, explode upward. Most people have said jumping is “pulling” upward rather than “pushing” downward.

There are an infinite number of plyometric exercises to increase vertical leap but here are a few good ones.

Jump rope (150-200 reps) This is a great warmup.

Star Jumps:From a squatted down position, jump up taking your hands and legs up and out to the side. When you land, make sure you land on both feet together, softly, lowering down back into the squat position, remembering not to allow your knees to pass over your toes.

Two foot ankle hop (low intensity) – keeping your feet together and remaining in one place hop up and down using only your ankles and calves. Concentrate on getting as high as you can and exploding off the ground as soon as you land.

Rim Jumps (medium intensity) – Stand under a basketball rim.  Jump up touching the rim (or net or whatever) with alternate hands.  Concentrate on getting as high as you can and exploding off the ground as soon as you land.

Blocking jumps (10-12 reps)
This consists of finding an open area and taking two side steps to the right/left and exploding upwards while reaching over the “net” with both hands (in other words, you’re blocking). This can also be done with a three step routine.

Standing jumps (until failure)
This is finding a point (the top of a net or a basketball rim) and jumping to touch it. Don’t take any steps, explode upwards and reach with both hands. As soon as your feet hit the ground explode back upwards. Time on the ground should be minimal. Try doing this until you can’t reach your target anymore.

Depth jumps (10-12 reps)
Stand on a step that is about 20″-24″ high. Step off, land with both feet simultaneously and explode upwards reaching with both hands. Time on the ground should again be minimal. The height of the box can be adjusted through the program.

Jump on and off box (10-12 reps)
Here one stands about a foot away from the step (facing the step), jumps on to the step, quickly steps off, and explodes upward from the ground. This one can tire you out pretty quickly.

Side jump on and off box (10-12 reps)
This is similar to jumping on the box then stepping off. Here stand faced perpendicular with the box, jump sideways onto the box and jump off.

Attacks (10-12 reps) Here, just go through you’re attacking motion (R-L-RL for right handers) from the right and left sides and even the middle of the court. Make sure you explode each time and try to reach higher than your previous jump (ha-ha).

High knee tuck jumps As you jump, tuck your knees up to your chest bring your heels to your rear end. Do it quickly!!

Lateral box jumps  (Stand next to a box between 12 and 18 inches high, start on the left side of the floor and jump back and forth over it in a skiing-like motion.)

Weighted ball chest passes  (If you’re less advanced, work with four-pound ball. More experienced athletes can use heavier balls. Stand about 10 feet away from your partner and toss back and forth. Catch the ball, absorb some of its impact and then release it quickly.)

 Good plyometric exercises for increasing speed

While all of the above exercises will also increase your speed (leg speed), these are many others that just focus more on movement. Here are some examples:

Zig Zags (medium intensity) run an elastic cord about a foot off the ground.  While on one foot hop back and forth over the rope.  Repeat with other foot.

Side to side ankle hops– Same as regular ankle hops (see above) but instead of remaining in place you jump 2 to 3 feet side to side.

Sprints.  Sprints are plyometrics since the force of your body coming down loads the hamstring.



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