I travel a good bit for my job. As a result, the weeks that I travel often involve a lack of physical activity since I am primarily a weight lifter when it comes to exercise and most hotel gyms have very little useful equipment for weightlifting - if they even have it at all. With that said, I'd like to develop some 30 minute routines to at least maintain some semblance of strength training while I'm on the road.

Presently, all I end up doing for strength training without weights is a mass number of body squats, pushups, and some core work. This hits a number of muscle groups, but not all. It is also very boring and not fun.

What are some suggestions for developing some routines that will ultimately encompass all muscle groups for times when I travel and have no access to any weightlifting equipment whatsoever.

  • you'll be amazed what push ups can do for you. i used to be a disbelieve, but now i swear by it
    – KJYe.Name
    Mar 1, 2011 at 21:43
  • 3
    I already do lots of pushups on the road, but they get boring by about day three and I'm looking for more of a full body routine.
    – whaley
    Mar 1, 2011 at 21:58
  • @whaley, +1 we definitely need varieties in our exercises
    – Arie
    Jul 26, 2011 at 12:42

9 Answers 9


Here's a few links to some great body-weight exercises that I use regularly:

  • 1
    Up-vote for NerdFitness & Steve Kamb! Everyone should visit this site. Mar 1, 2011 at 22:07
  • The suggestion of using a full gallon milk jug for rows is particularly crafty and genius. +1 for that alone :D
    – whaley
    Mar 1, 2011 at 22:11
  • 5
    Care to explain what the workouts consist off @bcwood?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Mar 14, 2011 at 18:37

Look into Pavel Tsatsouline's The Naked Warrior. In a nutshell, he recommends one-legged squats and one-armed pushups, with full body tension. He discusses proper technique and discusses alterations to make them easier or harder.

Also googling Prisoner Workout might find you some interesting links.

  • Agree! I wanted to add doing planks (if he isn't already) which is easy to increase in difficulty without extra equipment (there are SO many variations).
    – Rhea
    Mar 23, 2011 at 15:39

I've been practicing You Are Your Own Gym (YAYOG) by Mark Lauren for 3 weeks. I've never been fitter.

Your problem was similar to mine. It took me for more than 10 years to get this solution. I joined a fitness club long time ago but I hardly could practice at my club because I traveled a lot. I became sedentary for a long time (my obese weight record was 110kg meanwhile my height is 175cm). I started running mixed with walking last year and followed my nutritionist's diet programme so I lost weight for 35kg this year. I've been 75kg for this past month.

This certified Military Physical Training Specialist, Special Operations Combat Controller, triathlete, and champion Thai boxer offered me simple program that builds more muscle than weightlifting, burns more fat than aerobics, and is safer than both. This book contains 111 clearly illustrated exercises, developing every muscle from our neck to our ankles. He showed me how to do body-weight exercise in living room, bedroom, yard, garage, office, hotel room, wherever and whenever we like.

I still remember I couldn't even lift my body for only 1 push up a year ago, now I can do more than 50 push ups. I don't only do classic normal push up but also deep push up with my feet (higher than my upper body) on my bed and I use two boxes for my arms so that I can drop my chest down as far as possible. I can also do Seated Dips with 2 boxes for my feet so it's really stretching my triceps. Just to name 2 YAYOG examples. I keep pushing myself to practice better and better body-weight exercise, to be able to do Dive Bombers push up, Planche push up, One-Arm Push up, Basketball Push ups and finally Spiderman and Hand Stand Deep Push ups in the future.

Although it's my 3rd week on YAYOG but I insist myself to practice Muscular Endurance to really get used to it, not to mention because I rest too long, because I've been fighting my High Blood Pressure and Vertigo. Why I love YAYOG is because it trains me : Muscular Strength, Power, Muscular Endurance, Cardiovascular Endurance, Speed, Coordination, Balance, and Flexibility. It's interesting to see one comment on YAYOG Facebook page that said he thought YAYOG is easy as the picture example looked easy to him, but once he really tried it, it's tough. For me, I practice it persistently, from easier workout I can do first then improve it better gradually.

For this once in my life time, I don't need weights, my own body is the gym I need, I feel free from weights. But I realise I'm physically still far to recommend anyone to practice YAYOG, I saw your photo anyway from your profile and your blog (you seem to have stronger body than mine), but you might want to check out this guy's pics. We noticed a difference in his biceps, forearms, delts and lower back muscles. All are larger and more defined. His lats have grown too.

Hope this helps.

Note: I tried to give a direct link from Picasa to show the pic but this stackexchange system rejected as I got lower reputation. Anyway.

  • This looks almost like advertising. "[B]uilds more muscle than weightlifting, burns more fat than aerobics, and is safer than both". Really? The link does not work (although this may be temporary). Also, TLDR.
    – M.K.
    Aug 7, 2011 at 18:30

Joey Atlas's Ultimate Leg, Butt, Hip and Thigh workout is good and doesn't require any equipment, but obviously only targets those areas. P90X is my favorite home workout routine, and it comes with 15+ workouts, many of which don't require equipment (those that do only require hand weights or bands).

  • P90X or any video based workout would indeed be a good idea for a short workout without equipment.
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jul 26, 2011 at 10:38

I recommend push ups and crunches. 100 push up is a really popular workout for short period of time. One Hundred PUshups

my man, give Plyometrics a good try it will not dissapoint you =) . i am not sure if this is considered spam but here is a simple 15 min workout link Plyo

Please let me know after Plyometric what you think about working out HARD please =)

  • I'm doing pushups and crunches already for my body-weight exercises. It gets boring by day three. I'm looking for variety and a more full-body routine.
    – whaley
    Mar 1, 2011 at 21:59
  • @whaley my man, give Plyometrics a good try it will not dissapoint you =) . i am not sure if this is considered spam but here is a simple 15 min workout link topfatlosstrainer.com/2009/08/16/plyometric-cardio-workout
    – KJYe.Name
    Mar 1, 2011 at 22:01
  • Add this as a second answer or just append it to your previous answer and I'll upvote. Hopefully the floors in the hotel rooms are thick enough to where I won't disturb those below me at 6AM if I start doing this :D
    – whaley
    Mar 1, 2011 at 22:05
  • @whaley plyo is based on "cat like landing" too so it helps w/ being loud once you adjust to it.
    – KJYe.Name
    Mar 1, 2011 at 22:07
  • I did a fair amount of plyos during college football - I'm still around 225 lbs so even landing on the balls of my feet quickly may still cause a bit of noise :D I didn't consider this since I was originally looking for more strength training exercises, but a good suggestion nonetheless.
    – whaley
    Mar 1, 2011 at 22:09

Take a look at FitDeck (www.fitdeck.com) - basically playing card exercises used/developed by the Navy Seals. You may also want to look into Tabat interval training - some of the most intense/quick routines developed to build indurance and strength (4 exercises, each of which you do 8 x 20 seconds sets of with 10 second rest periods - sounds easy until you do them)


Grab yourself a copy of this comprehensive Crossfit Bodyweight Workouts (PDF). It lists a ton of workouts you can do with bodyweight or minimal equipment for strength and conditioning.


I second the 100 pushups workout above. I recommend alternating it day by day with 200 squats (linked at the same website). For a more intense workout, do burpees. Aside from pullups, these are really all you need.


Sprints are supposed to be very good. You can do them any way you want. Obviously, not really doable outdoors if the weather is really sucky.

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