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Traveling Workout and Portable Gym and Exercise Equipment

Updated on August 31, 2012

Traveling offers an opportunity to experience some of the greatest workouts you will ever have. Whether you’re a hardcore gym enthusiast, power lifter, triathlete or somebody who is just trying to stay on track with their fitness goals, get ready to challenge yourself. Travel is no excuse to let go of your exercise routine.

If you are driving, the range of equipment you can bring with you is much greater than what you can take on a plane. Of course the available cargo space varies from vehicle to vehicle, but it is easy to stash a kettlebell of two and some ropes or straps in the trunk or under the seats. Adjustable dumbbells are also a good choice. Disassemble them and the handles and plates are convenient to store. Let's not forget some sturdy sandbags. Buy the sandbags and fill them with sand from a local beach or hardware store when you arrive. What could be easier or more effective?

Plane travel makes bringing your iron with a little more difficult, and a lot more expensive. But there are a number of tools the frequent flier can pack that will work the whole body while adding a maximum 3-5 pounds to their luggage. The most versatile pieces of equipment you can choose? Resistance cables, suspension trainers or plain old rope.

With door or wall attachments and several levels of resistance, you can spend as little as sixty dollars for a go anywhere, work anything resistance cable kit from Lifeline or TNT. The workouts are challenging and can be scaled to emphasize strength, power or endurance. Combine this with a weighted jumprope and hotel stairs for excellent conditioning.

Here is a sample workout using TNT Power Cable Deluxe set, which comes with up to 120 lbs. of resistance in 40 lb. increments. Start by warming up joints with windmills, good mornings, and rotations and then move into a giant set of :

-Walking lunges: Holding onto cables attached to door or wall, perform walking lunges until the resistance starts pulling you back. When you can’t walk forward, perform five more reps on each side. Do this cycle 3-5 times.

-Cable Push Presses: With tension on the bands, perform push presses by stepping forward for stability and keeping the upper body rigid. Follow these with standing chest flyes. Aim for 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps each exercise.

-Full Body Extension/Power Rows: Facing the door or wall, hold a handle with both hands, bend knees slightly and lean forward until your body is parallel with the floor. Keeping arms straight, stand up until the arms are straight overhead. Do 8-12 repetitions and switch to rows. With knees still bent, ‘sit-up’ straight and perform rows for 8-12 repetitions.

There are endless possibilities for workout variety with resistance cables, and the entire two pound package fits in a small corner in your suitcase.. Add the jumprope for another two pounds and you have created an effective hotel room gym.

The weighted jumpropes and TNT power cables are a basic necessity you will use again and again, even when you aren’t traveling.

Suspension Trainer/Rope

A suspension trainer with a door attachment is a versatile and light piece of exercise equipment. It provides a whole body workout and emphasizes core muscle stabilization throughout every movement. How light is it? About 2-3 pounds; and it comes in handy mesh carrying bag with a door attachment. Each one also comes with dvd instruction to follow along with.

The TRX suspension trainers offer packages with a generic 30 minute workout and a 12 week military style fitness workout. Both can be scaled to individual needs. They also offer an entire library of sport and goal specific workout instruction downloads. Or, just sign up for TRX TV and get new workouts every week.

The Jungle Gym XT, the biggest competition for TRX, and an effective suspension training product, comes with a 90 minute instructional dvd and workout poster. Also adds a whopping 2 pounds to your luggage.

If you would rather workout outdoors or you want to avoid spending money on new equipment, go cheap and buy some 3/4" white rope from the hardware store. Although it will not fit over the door frame, rope can be anchored over any sturdy bar, fence or tree branch.

For more on suspension trainers, read:

Buying a Jungle Gym XT Online

Buying a TRX fitness system online

Wrap the ends around the hand and/or wrist and perform body rows, pushups, oblique twists and more. Even better, tie a loop on either end to use for a handle. Total cost? Less than 20 bucks on average.

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands, as opposed to resistance cables, are flat strips or loops of material. Used for yoga, pilates or powerlifting, respectively, they take up no more room than a pair of shorts. A wide variety are available at a cheap to reasonable cost. For more on resistance bands, read: Which Resistance Bands Should you Choose?

Of course you don't have to bring anything but yourself for a great workout, but having some options available provides great motivation to get moving. Grab some traveling workout equipment for the car or plane ride, and you'll be prepared when the urge hits!

Resistance cables in action

The Monkey Bar Gym has a great variety of equipment.
The Monkey Bar Gym has a great variety of equipment. | Source

Shop for cool equipment!

The Lifeline cables are some of the best on the market.
The Lifeline cables are some of the best on the market. | Source

Monkeying around with the Jungle Gym


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