On the Road…..Again!


That’s right, I’m on the road again. Last year at this time, I typed a blog post about working out while on vacation in Tucson, AZ. You can read that post here. This spring break, I am down in Indio, CA. It’s located in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs. The weather is unusually hot for this time of year, with the temperature topping out in the 90′s. As I had mentioned in last year’s post, if you are someone who works out consistently over the year, a vacation can be a great time to give your body a break. Except for natural movement training, you can do that everyday, and in fact, I would highly recommend it. However, for all the other formal training plans, it can be a great time to shut it down and get in some active recovery. I have been so busy with coaching in the gym lately, it’s been tough to squeeze in my workouts. A vacation presents a great opportunity for me to get in some consistent workouts. I plan on participating in some Master’s Track Meets that begin in April, so I am motivated to keep working out and not take time off. Unfortunately, I don’t have a decent workout facility close by and have to be creative at the resort gym. The workout room is full of weight machines and you might have noticed that I am not a fan of machines. On a positive note, they have a rack of dumbells from 5 to 50, with 5 lb increments in between. Since I don’t have access to any other tools, I have had to be a little creative with my current workout plan. As long as you train the fundamental movements, you can always piece together a solid workout to supplement your practical movement training (think MovNat). Here’s a refresher on those fundamental movements.

  • Hip Hinge
  • Squat
  • Push
  • Pull
  • Loaded Carries
  • The Sixth Movement: Rotation, Single Leg, Ground Work (tumbling, rolling,etc), Turkish Get-ups, Core Specific

This list is based off of Dan John’s work in his awesome book, Intervention. If you throw together a workout that addresses all these movements, you are doing pretty good in my opinion. So here are some exercise ideas for each category that requires little to no special equipment other than dumbells, odd objects (a rock, suitcase, log, sandbag, etc.), or body weight. Just choose one exercise from each category according to your strength, fitness level, and training experience. Also, don’t do anything silly if you have injuries or other physical limitations.

Hip Hinge: Odd Object CleanOdd Object Deadlift, Dumbell Sumo Deadlift, Dumbell Romanian Deadlift, Dumbell Straight Leg Deadlift, Dumbell Swings, Broad Jump, Hip Raises/Bridge

Squat: Odd Object Squat, Dumbell Goblet Squat, Dumbell Front Squat, Squat Jumps, Total Body Extensions

Push: Odd Object Jerk, Odd Object Push Press, Odd Object Overhead Press, Dumbell Jerk, Dumbell Push Press, Dumbell Overhead Press, Dumbell Floor Press, Push-Ups, Foot Hand Crawl, Push-Up Walkouts, Push-Up Plank Hold

Pull: Pull-Ups, Dumbell Supported Bent-Over Row, Dumbell Unsupported Bent-Over Rows, Front to Back Swings, Side Swings, Inverted Rows

Loaded Carries: Dumbell Carry (Farmer’s Carry, Suitcase Carry, Rack Walk, Waiter’s Carry, and other variations), Odd Object Carry (Waist Carry, Chest Carry, Shoulder Carry, Overhead Carry)

The Sixth Movement: Turkish Get-Up, Tight Rotations, Plank Variations, Forward or Backward Rolls, Rotational Rocking and Backward Rocking, Any Lunges, Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats, Split Squats, Pistol Squats, Lateral Movement, Sprints

As I mentioned earlier, I have access to rack of dumbells at the resort where I am staying. Even in the small weight rooms at hotels, there’s a chance you might find a few dumbells. Here is my full body travel workout if you have access to these fitness tools. These workouts are just samples. Check with a medical professional before you begin an exercise program.

1a) Dumbell Romanian Deadlift 4 x 6 reps

1b) Dumbell Overhead Press or Push-Ups (if you have shoulder issues and need to avoid overhead lifting) 4 x 8 reps

2a) Dumbell Front Squat 4 x 10 reps

2b) Pull-Ups 4 x 8 reps or Dumbell Supported Bent-Over Row 4 x 12 reps each arm

3a) Farmer’s Carry 4 x 10 to 20 yards

3b) Turkish Get-Up 4 x 5 to 8 reps each side

Conditioning: 2 Mile Run or 50 meter Build Up Sprints x 6 reps

If I didn’t have access to dumbells, then I could do the following body weight workout. Really, the only equipment necessary is a sturdy bar or branch for pull-ups, or a sound railing for inverted rows.

1a) Broad Jump or Hip Raises/Bridge on Back (if broad jump is too intense) 4 x 5 jumps or 4 x 15 Hip Raises

1b) Push-Ups or Variation (depending on fitness level) 4 x 10 reps

2a) Squat Jumps or Squat Variation 4 x 8 jumps or higher reps of easier variation

2b) Pull-Ups or Inverted Rows 4 x 8 reps or 4 x 12 reps

3a) Foot Hand Crawl or Front Plank 4 x 10 to 20 yards or 4 x 30 seconds

3b) Walking Lunges or Split Squats 3 x 20 steps or 3 x 10 reps each side

And lastly, here is a sample of a movement exploration combo workout. This workout will be optimized if there is access to a playground with a horizontal bar to play on.

3 to 5 rounds of the following:

1a) Tap Swing, Side to Side Swing or Active Hang x 10 swings or 5 swings each side or 15 to 30 second hang (skip this if there is no access to a good horizontal bar)

1b) Foot Hand Crawl or Knee Hand Crawl x 10 to 20 yards

1c) Leg Swing Jumps  (3 foot landing) or Skater Shuffle x 5 jumps each leg or 10 shuffles each side

1d) Balance Walk on curb, barrier, board, or simply walk on a line x 20 feet

1e) Build Up Sprint or Run x 50 meters

These are just a few workout ideas if you are on vacation. One thing I would like to mention before I wrap this post up, I have been observing people in the workout room at this resort, and I believe people would be better served by performing workouts that include the fundamental movements instead of sitting on machines. I see a lot of people focusing on their mirror muscles, which include the chest and biceps. I’ve also seen kids coming into the weight room and wandering around rather aimlessly. This is a great argument for investing in good fitness coaching for your child. They would know how to piece together a good workout, plus be safe and efficient with their time. I also see people spending entire sessions on the cardio machines. I know sometimes people need to workout at the resort for the following reasons, in case their family needs them, weather conditions warrant staying inside (the temperature has been climbing a little closer to triple digit mark each day here), or they are concerned about their safety in an unfamiliar area. However, when there are great sidewalks and trails close by, I would encourage people to do their conditioning outside. It’s great to get some fresh air and soak up some sun (just don’t get sunburned). It can be a fantastic way to explore new surroundings!

I often have some of my best workouts while on vacation, even with a lack of equipment. As I have shown, with just a little creativity, we can get a well balanced workout. There are always options when we follow the fundamental movement principle. Heading outside for my conditioning gives me a chance to explore the area. Just remember to train all the fundamental movements (you can be creative with the sixth movement) and you’ll always be able to create a great full body workout, no matter where you are and what you have access to. If possible, get outside and explore. Most important of all, remember to find time to relax and have fun, you’re on vacation!





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