Staying on top of your fitness game can be difficult if you frequently have to travel. Sure, most hotels have a fitness center, but they often times fall short. That squeaky treadmill and 10lb set of neoprene dumbbells just won’t cut it for most of us. If only you could pull a Rick Moranis and shrink your Olympic barbell set so that it fits nicely in your carry-on bag. The reality is you can’t—but with the right fitness gear, you can get a decent workout wherever you travel. Below we have hand-picked exercise gear that is great for travelers based on size, weight and portability.
Although resistance bands are no match for traditional strength training with weights, they are a decent compromise for frequent travelers. Resistance bands are very affordable (you can get a decent set for around $50) and very compact. They can also be used to work almost all parts of the body and can substitute most exercises you would do with dumbbells such as bicep curls, shoulder presses, overhead triceps extensions, and bent-over rows. Adding a door anchor to attach the bands gives you an even greater variety of exercises.
OK, so maybe they don’t work the entire body, but push-ups are a great upper body exercise. Packing push up bars can ease the strain on your wrists. For those who like to avoid germs, push-up bars also eliminate placing your hands on the hotel room floor.
Slip one of these into your suitcase and you’ll have an intense cardio workout wherever you go. Jump ropes are great for circuit training or high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Not only will you give your cardiovascular system a run (or jump) for its money, but jumping rope is great for improving coordination. A word of caution, if you haven’t jumped rope in a while, you might opt for wearing pants instead of shorts.
Gliding disks are like those flat, padded disks you use to move furniture around, but designed for exercising. Great for abdominal training, lunges and gliding around your hotel room while listening to ’80s music. They sound ridiculous, but you know you want to try them.
Traveling or not, suspension trainers are both fun and provide a challenging workout with the added benefit of being super portable. You can attach these sturdy systems to your hotel door, or to a pole or tree, if you prefer taking your workout outside. Suspension trainers allow you to work against your own body’s weight to perform a variety of compound exercises. Aside from the strength training benefits, suspension trainers are applauded for their ability to improve core strength and stability, which is especially important for office workers confined to a chair all day.
Instructional Yoga Mat
Embrace your inner Yogi and strike a pose. Instructional Yoga mats help the inexperienced with yoga poses by having the correct foot and hand placements printed directly on the mat. Yoga is a great way to unwind in your hotel room after a busy day of meetings and discussions. Yoga is known to improve strength, flexibility, posture and many other physiological benefits.
Sandbag Trainer (with water fillers)
Sandbag trainers are essentially a heavy-duty duffel bag with sturdy handles positioned on both the sides and ends of the bag. You can add weight in 5 to 20 pound increments by adding bags filled with sand.
TripCase tip: add resistance using water bottles instead of sandbags. You can also purchase water fillers and just fill them up once you get to wherever you are staying. Sandbag trainers are great for doing traditional barbell movements such as squats, military presses, power cleans, curls, bent-over rows, lunges, and even ab work. Sandbag trainers are great for traveling because you can use the bag itself to store other workout gear!
Hydro Medicine Ball
A traveling medicine ball sounds like an oxymoron due to its large size and weight, but hydro medicine balls can be easily packed in your luggage and then filled up with water from your hotel room sink. Filled to full capacity, some hydro medicine balls can go up to 60 lbs.
Portable Kettlebell (with water bladder)
Probably the most versatile piece of workout gear on this list, the portable kettlebell gives you the versatility of a traditional kettlebell without having to pack the weight of 3 bowling balls. These sturdy, nylon vessels can be filled with sand, gravel, dirt, and most importantly, a water bladder. Most kettlebell exercises only require a few square feet of floor space. Workout in your hotel or turn a nearby park into your workout sanctuary. If you’re looking for 1 piece of equipment that will allow you to train for strength, power and endurance, the kettlebell will give you the most bang for your buck.
Although these nifty fitness gadgets are not likely to replace your everyday workout routine, you can’t deny the value of being able to pack a few of these items in a bag and have a gym at your disposal wherever you go. Plus, your next trip will give you the perfect excuse to change up your routine!