I'm a huge advocate of bodyweight strength and core training but sometimes it's nice to add a bit of variety to your workouts!
The gym can help as it gives access to equipment like Kettlebells, Boxes, Dumbbells and other ‘fancy' equipment. What do you do when you are on your holibobs or away travelling?
Well, we have you covered!
As an in-gym PT, travel-to-you PT and now Online PT I've used my fair share of ‘portable' fitness equipment so here are my thoughts on equipment that is; lightweight, easy to pack, simple to use and can accommodate a variety of exercises.
Before I go into the awesomeness of resistance bands as a piece of kit you can use to stay fit while you travel, I just want to clarify that there are two main variations of bands used:
They are individual bands that you attach together to increase the resistance. They usually come by weight (lbs which is slightly annoying) and then you will vary the amount of attached bands depending on your exercise and desired resistance. These are a great option particularly for those working on upper body strength but the can be used for a load of full and lower body exercises.
As I say, these style of bands are my favourite. Often tougher to use and getting to grips with the right technique can sometimes take a few funny attempts. These bands come in a variety of resistances (low resistance = slim and easy to stretch all the way to high resistance = thick and hard to stretch). I recommend these to my clients as they make you focus on technique.
Designed by former Navy Seal Randy Hetrick who began using his jiu jitsu belt as a suspension trainer just before he got deployed on a mountaineering based mission. TRX is well know across the world and there are a load of alternatives but with the same principles – suspension training.
I have a travel version of the TRX which is smaller, thinner (and less colourful) than the one we see in the gym. The great this is that the travel TRX comes with a load of attachments that will help you use it anywhere (trees, doors railings etc.) The Travel TRX packs up small and can train every aspect of your body. A particular reason I love it (and my clients hate it) is the options for core training are ENDLESS!!
Simple in design, tough when it comes to use. These sliders are designed for smooth hard surfaces or carpets. The great thing is that they pack up small and flat! You can of course do strength based exercises with them but they are mainly used for core stabilisation and strengthening. Folded up towels on a slipper flat surface can sometimes be a substitute but you look a bit daft so you may as well use the kit that shows people you are actually exercising.
A MUST MUST MUST for anyone wanting to improve their cardiovascular fitness but they hate running! No need to tell you how small it packs down but it is one of the toughest exercises you can do as it draws on your physical AND mental strength. There is no secret that perfecting the simple movement takes time but it's only something that can come if you get yourself one and use. A few varieties to keep an eye out for: speed ropes (really thin designed for fast movement) and standard skipping or jump ropes (designed for steady tempo'd skipping). If this is your travel equipment choice I applaud you! Make sure you don't give up when it gets tough.
Okay I admit these won't specifically increase your fitness BUT they will aid your recovery and stretching protocol post workout. Similar to foam rollers, they provide myo-fascial (self therapy) release. These spikes balls can come in soft, medium or hard depending on your muscles need.
With a recent move to Portugal and the COVID pandemic, I have taken my fitness training online. A lot of the equipment I've chatted about above is what I use and also recommend to my clients. When things ease and face-to-face PT becomes a bit more accessible, I'll continue training based around functional and varied fitness.
Thanks for reading.
Nathan | Blogger at Gone to Discover & Fitness Coach at Active Rebel