How to Stay Ripped While Traveling
It is possible to build muscle and strength without barbells and dumbbells. Follow this guide to get jacked while traveling.
You like to travel.
You also like to lift heavy to get stronger and build muscle.
So what happens when you're away from home?
Do you put your workout routine on hold?
Finding a gym when you're on the road can be tricky. Many hotel "fitness centers" have just a treadmill and some light dumbbells. This would be a problem if bodyweight training wasn't so awesome. That's right, bodyweight training. See, many people think of simple push-ups, sit-ups and air squats as being too easy to build any serious muscle or strength. They're not completely wrong. Doing the same exercises over and over again without any progress or changes will do very little for improving muscle size and strength. You need a plan that follows certain guidelines in order to get the results you want.
Bodyweight training is incredibly effective for building muscle if it's done right. There are two basic ways to make bodyweight exercises effective for building muscle: increasing volume and constantly making exercises harder with progressions. Using these two principles, you can build muscle with just bodyweight training. They both require patience and discipline to accomplish but are worth the effort.
Here's how to build muscle with just bodyweight training.
The idea with volume is that you have to increase the amount of work you do over time. Our bodies are incredibly adaptive and muscle will stop growing if you constantly do the same thing over and over.
Want to get ripped from doing just push-ups?
You have to do more of them than you did yesterday and more than you did last week. One way I found to be effective for measuring this was to set a time mark for me to complete as many reps of an exercise as I could. Here's what this looks like:
Complete as many reps as possible in 2 minutes:
Week 1: 84
Week 2: 87
Week 3: 88
Week 4: 96
Over four weeks I tested myself and I was able to add more reps each week. Notice that the biggest jump came between weeks 3 and 4. This should continue beyond just four weeks, this is just a sample to show you what your volume progress should look like. Entire workouts can also follow this same progression. For example, I performed the same workout everyday for a month. The number of repetitions never changed but the goal was to complete the workout quicker every time I tried. I was performing greater volume in a shorter amount of time each workout. Read more about it here.
Another simple rule to follow increasing volume is this: Do 200 pushups throughout the day. This can be little sets of ten done every half hour or fifty pushups done four times throughout the day.If your maximum is under 50 pushups, do 200 a day. If your maximum is above 75, do 300 pushups a day.
Please note that while increasing volume will lead to some muscle growth, the greatest improvement will come in muscular endurance. Incorporating new and progressively harder variations of exercises is key for muscle growth.
Exercise has to get harder over time. Our bodies are very adaptive and doing the same thing over and over again will lose effectiveness quickly. With bodyweight exercises, there are countless variations of each exercise that allow us to constantly make things harder. The key is understanding how we can do this.
There are many variations to the basic bodyweight exercises we all know that we can use to make them harder and continually challenge our muscles. You can change body positioning, perform one-arm or one-leg variations, or do half-reps and holds for more time under tension. Here are some examples of how to make push-ups are harder with variations:
Variations: Feet-elevated push-up, pike push-up, one-arm push-up, dive bomber push-up, handstand push-up
Holds: Starting from the up position, lower yourself halfway down. Hold for 5 seconds. Lower yourself all the way down and hold for 5 seconds. Come back up to the starting position. That's one. Do 5-10.
By making simple changes like foot positioning or the pressing angle, you can make push-ups harder. Doing this will keep your muscles guessing, causing them to grow. You can do the same for your lower body too. Try single-leg squats instead of regular squats. You can elevate your rear leg on a bed or chair. Work your way up to doing pistol squats. Try single-leg glute bridges to activate your glutes (the most underworked muscle group in many people) in a more challenging way.
Continually make exercises harder by trying new variations.
You can also find ways to add resistance to bodyweight exercises to make them harder and more effective for building muscle and strength. Weighted vests are great but are difficult to travel with. There are many other ways to add weight to your bodyweight workout. You can use a backpack or suitcase for weight push-ups, pull-ups and squats. When traveling, the key is to get creative and think outside the box.
Try the below muscle-building bodyweight workout while you travel.
Perform each exercise for as many rep as possible (AMRAP) in one minute. Rest for one minute between exercises.
Rear Feet Elevated Pike Push-Ups
Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats or Pistol Squats
Side Planks (30 seconds each side)
Single Leg Glute Bridges (one second hold at the top)
Dive Bomber Push-Ups
Bodyweight training is an incredible way to maintain your fitness while traveling. It can be used for effective muscle growth if done properly. Continually add more repetitions and incorporate harder variations of exercises. It takes patience and discipline but the results will come if you remain dedicated and focused.
Check out this video if you're still not convinced that you can build muscle with just bodyweight training.
Check out this guide to learn about the nutrition guidelines to follow for staying ripped while traveling:
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