We give ourselves far too many excuses to skip workouts. Whether it be due to long hours at the office, family responsibilities, poor weather or a really bad hangover, it is not difficult for our mind to convince our body that it should relax and watch the World Cup. As the saying goes, though, excuses are like assholes, everyone’s got one. One excuse we’re going to help you kick right now is space. At home, in a hotel room, backseat of car, nuclear submarine – these are all places you may find yourself “stuck” and in need of a quick workout. If you know some tips to workout anywhere, “I can’t make it to the gym,” simply doesn’t fly. Here are some tricks we use to get in a quick pump when life puts you in a corner.
So the work day has ended, and it would be great to hit the gym, but you’re needed elsewhere. Maybe you need to head to have dinner with the family, play with your kids, or fix the leaky faucet. No home gym, no problem. If you have a door frame, you can get in a solid back and bicep workout with 2 simple pieces of equipment. There are several adult sized pull-up bars on the market today, most which work with leverage and can be installed and uninstalled in seconds. Purchase one of these bars and you are on your way to a killer back workout. Use the handles vary your hand position from narrow to wide and your grip from open, closed and parallel to hit most of your back muscles. Involve your kids in the workout by having them spot your and you’ll be teaching them working out is fun in the process.
Additionally, pick up an elastic band or two for curls and rows. BodyElastics.com sells bands with a variety of resistance. Holding one end of the band in each arm, step on the middle of it and curl your hands up, keeping your elbows at your side. Connect the bands to your door, sit on the ground, and now you can perform rows. Keeping your back straight, abs tight and pull that band into your midsection. Total space required for this back routine: your door frame plus five feet in one direction. You can knock this out between dinner and bedtime stories.
Traveling for work can be a chore. At first, it is exciting visiting new cities, but the novelty soon wears off. You might also notice your muscle definition fading as well, especially if you eat out with clients every night. Don’t let your work suck the life out of you any more than it already does. In the privacy of your hotel room, you have what you need for some emergency lifting on the road. A simple and obvious solution is push-ups. On the floor next to your bed do sets of 20 standard, wide arm pushups, 20 reps with your elbows tucked against your trunk with fingers point forward and 20 reps with your palms together forming a diamond. Next place your feet on the edge of the bed, with the rest of you body off of it, in push-up position and perform 20 reps. This is akin to a decline bench. Repeat.
After the push-ups, find a chair and place it about 4 feet from the edge of the bed. Put yourself between the objects, feet on the bed and hands on the chair, with your body suspended between. Bending your elbows straight back, perform sets of 12 dips. To make it easier, place your feet on the floor. Total space needed for this chest and tri setup: one tiny hotel room in the middle of nowhere. Think about how much you hate spreadsheets for motivation.
You’ve been working hard all spring to get into great shape, but now life is sending you on the road for weeks at a time. Worried about keeping your physique? If you get creative, you’ll realize the SUV you’re in is a mobile gym. Note, all exercises should be done with the vehicle turned off and in park. Sorry commuters. To start, get in the back seat, and position yourself in the middle. Rest your feet on the center console between the driver and passenger seats. With each hand, grip the handles over the rear doors. Keeping your torso stiff, pull your chest towards the ceiling, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Your backseat is now a row machine, capable of working your back and biceps. Many variations of rows, one handed and two handed can be done in and out of your vehicle, using these same handles, or other sturdy parts, like the actual frame. Don’t believe us, check out this guy.
From that same position in the backseat, flip over your your stomach is down, with your toes resting again on the console. Prop yourself off the seat, or floor if there is an opening, with you arms and hold. This is an ab plank. Focus on keeping your body straight and core flexed tight. Hold for 45 seconds, rest and repeat. Finally, the manliest of all car workouts is the push. If you have a partner in the car with you, have them in the front seat with the vehicle in neutral. You get behind the vehicle and push it. Obviously, this is a tremendous workout for your legs, chest and triceps and it is more possible than you think. Your buddy keeps the rolling metal straight and can lightly touch the brake to slow the momentum once you built it up too great. Push mostly with your legs and avoid putting your back in any weird positions. Space needed: one SUV, a little bit of open road. You’ll be saving on gas as well.
With a bit of creativity, the world can be your gym. If friends call you crazy when they hear stories of your dedication in the face of life’s obstacles, remind them, “A body like this doesn’t come for free.”