Effective strength training is possible anytime, anywhere. With the right hotel room training plan, you don’t have to forego your progress on the go. In theory, no equipment is required for this. If you know and use the right exercises, then training with your own body weight will get you very far. Even muscle building with bodyweight training is possible if you only do it right.
This article is the second part of a small series about Training on the go . The first article was mainly about the success factors in training planning and design. This article is about the best exercises for your hotel room training plan or your training on the go and when traveling.
With the large number of different exercises, choosing the best exercise is not easy for many. If you want to effectively challenge your whole body in a compact full body workout , you should, however, think carefully about which exercises you incorporate into your training. This is the only way to get the most out of it.
I thought about it for a long time and weighed the advantages and disadvantages compared to other combinations of exercises before I put together the following exercises. The exercises are divided into muscle groups and the sequence shown corresponds exactly to the plan with which I have trained for a long time and still sometimes train on the go.
Excursus: Equipment for your hotel room training plan
Basically, I have limited myself to a training program and exercises that you can only do with your own body. In order to get a little more out of your training, you can add a few small and portable tools to your training.
I am thinking primarily of a good sling trainer, like the aerosling ELITE *, which emerged as the test winner from my sling trainer test and a couple of Thera bands *. If you are interested in good, portable equipment and generally a meaningful packing list that creates good conditions for your training on (business) trips, read my article about my fitness packing list for business trips .
You can upgrade your training with a few simple tools if you want. In principle, nothing more is necessary for training than what you always have with you: your own body. You would also be surprised how many things in a hotel room can be used for your training.
The best exercises for the hotel room training plan
Now finally to the exercises that turn your training plan into the perfect hotel training plan. I have listed the exercises in the order in which I usually train my muscle groups. The largest muscle group, the legs, always come first.
The best hotel room exercises for the legs:
The leg muscles are the largest muscles in your body. No wonder, after all, they have to move your body (and often more) around the world all day. Well trained leg muscles are useful in countless sporting and everyday situations. For this reason I consider them (besides back training) to be the most important exercises. I start my hotel room training plan with it and invest a not insignificant part of my training time in these exercises.
The squat is the classic leg exercise. It belongs to the basic exercises and should not be forgotten in any training plan. There is hardly any other exercise that stresses your entire skeletal muscles as much as the squat. In addition to the legs, the important core muscles are also used intensively.
The difficulty of the free squat can be increased by the use of a Thera-Band and later by more demanding one-legged alternatives without the need for weights.
Lunges are an exercise that is often underestimated but should not be missing in any good leg program.
With lunges, the legs are trained separately. This makes it a very functional exercise. Even and especially if you don’t have any weights available, this exercise is very well suited to promote strong and stable leg muscles.
A variant that I like to do here is that I hang my back foot in a loop of the sling trainer and thereby also train my stability.
3) Hip extension on the floor (kick-backs)
Since the (Romanian) deadlift as my favorite exercise with hamstring focus is no longer in the hotel room training plan, we need another good exercise that challenges your hamstrings a little.
The hip extension is very well suited to exercise the hamstrings and glutes (buttocks) a little. To do this, you go into the four-legged position and stretch one leg straight back at a time. So you “step” very slowly backwards. Your torso remains under tension.
Here, too, you can increase the difficulty with bands and thus ensure an effective training for longer. There are also more challenging alternative exercises. If your legs and buttocks are no longer challenged with hip extensions, you can try bodyweight leg curls, for example. To do this, however, you have to find something under which you can stably clamp your feet.
4) Calf raises
Gladly neglected, the calf muscles quickly fall behind. So that this doesn’t happen to you and you cut an even better figure in shorts in summer, I have also included a calf exercise in the plan.
My favorite exercise for this is the classic calf raise. Either one-legged or two-legged, depending on the strength of your calves. To increase the range of motion, look for an elevation, such as a step. I’ve also misappropriated a big book that I had with me to read.
Alternatively, I also experimented with calf extensions with the Thera-Band and achieved good results with it.
The best hotel room exercises for the chest:
A strong chest is not only useful, it looks great too. You also need it to look good at the bench press compared to your friends (keyword: what do you press?). Even if you don’t have friends like that, the chest muscles are a large and important muscle group in your upper body and should be trained accordingly. The following two exercises are my favorites for chest workout on the go.
When it comes to chest muscle training, nothing beats the good old push-ups in bodyweight training. If you do it correctly, you strengthen the entire chest, arm and shoulder muscles with push-ups.
Wasn’t that something about push-ups? Strictly speaking, yes, but as many different types of push-ups as there are, it makes sense to integrate two different ones into the training plan. There is simply no more effective way to train the chest and remaining upper body muscles with your own body weight.
Some time ago I took part in a push-up challenge and collected, made and recorded 22 push-ups . It is best to take a look at them and choose the right variants for your training.
My favorite push-up alternatives are Archer push-ups, push-ups with the feet on a rise, and one-arm push-ups. The latter look really creepy in the video in the previously linked article, because I tried to somehow create as many of them as possible …
The best exercise for the shoulders:
Who wouldn’t want broad and strong shoulders? I do not know anyone. The shoulder muscles are also very important for many everyday movements. A well trained shoulder protects you from many ailments and potential injuries. For these reasons, the shoulder is also given an extra exercise in this training plan.
7) Shoulder push-ups (pike push-ups)
The best bodyweight exercise for the shoulder muscles is certainly handstand push-ups. However, not everyone can do this. That’s why I opted for the simplified version that you can use to work your way up. It is also variable, so you can gradually increase.
You do the shoulder push-ups as follows: Get into the push-up position and lift your hips towards the ceiling as high as you can by walking with your feet towards your hands. Keep your legs and back straight. Your body should form a triangle shape with the floor. Now you do a push-up movement and keep your legs and back straight.
Gradually increase the angle and thus the load on the shoulder muscles until you manage to do handstand push-ups against the wall.
If you have resistance bands available, you can alternatively perform shoulder presses with them. In combination with the lateral raise, this is my shoulder favorite for hypertrophy training .
The best hotel room exercises for the back:
Anyone who trains the chest should definitely train the back muscles to a similar extent. In this way you build up an all-round balanced and healthy musculature. Well trained back muscles also prevent or reduce many common types of back pain. For these and many other reasons, you should include the following exercises in your hotel room training plan. They are very effective, yet relatively easy to learn and you can do them in (almost) every hotel room.
8) Row (Row / inverse Row)
Now it’s getting interesting. Didn’t I just say that I only list exercises in the hotel room training plan that you don’t need anything for except your own body?
This is not entirely true with rowing. However, you don’t need dumbbells or the like for this, as with classic barbell rowing . You can use something simple that is available in every hotel room: a towel. This can be clamped between the door handle or used as a counterweight with your own leg strength. This may seem a bit strange at the beginning and maybe unstable. However, with practice, this quickly becomes a very effective exercise. You can adjust the intensity very well.
Alternatively, you can make excellent use of a Thera-Band or a sling trainer. This makes it much easier for me personally to keep an overview of my progression.
Here, too, you may have to get a little creative, as not many hotel rooms have pull-up bars. To be honest, I am of the opinion that it should be different! 😉
However, every room I’ve stayed in so far had at least one door that was sturdy enough to hold onto and I now weighed over 100kg. The door to the room is always stable enough and that is usually the bathroom door too.
To protect your hands a little, you can simply put a towel over the edge and / or use training gloves . I’ve always been doing this ever since I tore my hands open.
If you absolutely do not trust the door, alternatives can also be found. A Theraband with a door anchor, for example, can be used wonderfully for pulling down.
The best hotel room exercise for the stomach:
A strong core is valuable in every sporting stress but also in every everyday situation. For this reason, you should always consider your core muscles in your training units if possible.
10) The plank / forearm support
The plank is a great exercise for stabilizing the entire trunk area. Of course, there are numerous other exercises you can do to target your abs and lower back muscles. I wrote an article about the best ab exercises in case you are particularly interested in ab training. However, whenever I have to decide which exercise to do, I would always choose the plank.
Just hold the plank for as long as you can. If it doesn’t work anymore, hold again for 5 seconds and then let go, take a few deep breaths and then again. You do the whole thing until your core muscles are really burning. It is important that your torso is fully tense the whole time. If you let yourself sag on the plank, the training effect is not very good.
Your own hotel room training plan
With this arsenal of great exercises, you should now be well prepared to be able to carry out an effective training yourself. No matter where you are and no matter when you want to train.
Because you persevered for so long and read this far, I will even save you from writing your hotel room training plan today. Just click on the following link and you will get your own plan in the stylish Fitvolution training plan design.
The hotel room training plan is ready! And now?
Your hotel room training plan is in place, now you can of course start training with it! If you would like to find out more about certain things, I have a few more recommendations for you:
Do you want to build muscle mass (even when you’re on the move) and are you really serious about it? Then you should take a look at my book Muscle Building Basics . In it you will find out exactly the things that really matter if you want to get your muscles to grow effectively with a manageable effort.
In addition to strength training, regular cardio training is also important to stay really fit and healthy. Running is particularly suitable for this on the go. If you haven’t already, I can only advise you to start jogging .