For many of us, a summer holiday means time away from the gym.
Sometimes, this can be a blessing — a much-needed break and a chance to de-load and consolidate our gains. At other times, it can just be plain frustrating.
Whether you feel like sticking to your training routine no matter what, or whether you just like starting each day by getting your heart pumping, it’s always good to have a few workouts-on-the-go at hand.
Here are five ways to tone on the go on your summer holiday.
Begin each day with sun salutations
Sun Salutations are a yoga sequence of poses, including downward facing dog, upward facing dog, and various others. There are several different variants of the Sun Salutation exercise, but all of them will help to lengthen your spine, stretch out tight muscles in the lower body, and work to improve muscular strength and endurance.
Sun Salutations can do done in just a few minutes, or they can be drawn out into a half an hour-long exercise, with each pose held for a significant amount of time, and the sequence repeated. The longer you hold each pose, the greater the conditioning effect on the muscles, heart, and lungs will be.
When you’ve completed your day’s Sun Salutations, you will feel refreshed, supple, have an extra spring in your step and be ready to greet the day.
Do a single set of push-ups to failure each day
The push-up doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves, but this classic exercise, beloved of Drill Sergeants everywhere, does a great job of working virtually every muscle in the body. Aside from the core muscles, pecs, triceps, and front deltoids, muscles like the lats and quads may even get a fair workout through secondary tensing.
Performing a single set of push-ups each day, to failure, and trying to increase your total score day-by-day is a great way of keeping your body active without burning out.
It’s also likely you’ll end the trip being able to do many more push-ups than you could before.
No-equipment bodyweight workout
Did you know that the best bit of gym gear you have is your own bodyweight? You might be a thousand miles or more from your home gym, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some strength training in with a little help from gravity.
Exercises such as burpees, single leg deadlifts and supermans rely on your own mass to provide plentiful resistance against particular parts of the body you wish to target. Many of these exercises take up little room, so are perfect for doing by the pool or on the beach. Before you jet off, why not research some great bodyweight exercises and put a day-by-day plan together?
“Grease the groove” by repeating a basic exercise throughout the day
Russian strength and conditioning coach, Pavel Tsatsouline, is widely known for popularising the concept of “Greasing the Groove”.
“Greasing the Groove” — apparently a common training approach in the former Soviet Union — involves repeating an exercise throughout the day, but without going anywhere near failure in any one set.
The idea is that this will train strength like a “skill” and will solidify neurological connections that contribute to greater strength.
In practice, this approach might involve doing 5 push-ups every time you enter or leave your bedroom.
Try “Greasing the Groove” with one or two exercises during your holiday, and see if your performance hasn’t improved by the time you get back home.
Do a timed plank every day
The plank is a notoriously simple but brutal exercise which involves you resting your forearms and toes on the floor, while keeping your back straight, in something like a modified push-up position.
From here, the goal of the exercise is just to hold the pose until you can’t take any more.
In a surprisingly short amount of time, the plank will exhaust your abs, core muscles, and maybe even legs to oblivion. Time your personal best plank hold, and repeat it once each day, always aiming to outdo your previous top score.
The abdominal muscles are essential for all athletic movements, as well as for good posture, and a strong core will also help to create the impression of a flatter, firmer stomach.
Planks are a great exercise for life in general.