Ask Fathom

How Can I Work Out on the Road?

by Hilary Bass Rifkin

The author getting to perfect form. Photo courtesy of Lomax.

Dear Fathom: Just because I'm traveling doesn't mean I want to give up exercising. Unfortunately, hotels don't always have gyms. How can I stay fit when I've left my regular routine at home?

Being on the road doesn't have to mean gaining five pounds. We asked Lomax PT trainer and Fathom contributing editor Hilary Bass Rifkin for an efficient, 20-minute workout that you can do in a hotel room with no special gym equipment. This is the first of many workouts she'll design for us.


Jumping Jacks

Reps: 20

Leg Swings

Count: 10 per leg
Equipment: Chest of drawers (to hold for balance during leg swings)

How-to: Stand facing dresser. Swing one leg across and in front of other, then out to your side, pointing foot up towards ceiling.
Watch out for: Kicking the dresser when you swing! Don't lean on it, just place fingertips at arms length for balance.



Reps: 12
Equipment: Chair and wall

Watch out for: Lightweight chairs! Place against a wall in the room. Keep your back and bum as close to the chair as possible as you dip.
See the move:

Decline Push-Ups

Reps: 12
Equipment: Chair or bed

Watch out for: Hips dropping due to gravity and weight pitching forward. Focus on holding core nice and tight and raising hips slightly.
See the move:



Reps: 12 per leg
Equipment: Suitcase or overnight bag

How-to: Hold suitcase overhead with arm straight and extended or at waist-height.
Watch out for: Don't let your knee travel past your legs.
See the move:

Air Squats

Reps: 12
Equipment: Your body weight

Watch out for: Don't let your knees cave inwards. Keep control through a tight core and use your arms for balance.
See the move:


Leg Raises

Reps: 20
Equipment: Use bed if it's firm, otherwise, use floor

Watch out for: Keep your neck and head relaxed and on the floor. If your head lifts, you aren't engaging your lower abdominals.
See the move:

Renegade Row

Reps: 12 per side
Equipment: Floor

Watch out for: Hip rotation when lifting arms on each side. Make sure your hands are under your shoulders.
See the move:

Repeat series (though not the warm-up) five times.


Leg Swings

Reps: 10 per leg

Hamstring Stretch

Time: 30 seconds per leg

Chest Stretch

Time: 30 seconds per side


Equipment for all: Dresser, door frame
Watch out for: Remember to keep clear of the dresser. Don't bounce legs when stretching hamstrings; gently reach opposing arm out towards foot of extended leg.


Fitness Tips for Business Travelers
Medical Advice for Travelers: Part I
Medical Advice for Travelers: Part II

We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.