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Travel WOD – Workout on the Road or on Vacation

You’ve taken the first step to fitness freedom by ending your membership to your local globo-gym. You’ve read our post on how to start your own gym at home or in your garage. Just when you think everything is going smooth, life throws a wrench into the works. This wrench can come in a lot of different forms, from family emergencies, to vacations, to business trips. The one consistency is that it removes you from your home gym and forces you to find a way to get an effective workout on the road. This is where the travel WOD (workout of the day) comes in. Read on for tips and pointers on how to get the most bang for your buck while on the road.

A travel WOD can range anywhere from simple to complex. As we’ve shown in some of our posts on programming, there is a lot you can do with zero equipment. From high intensity interval training using bodyweight exercises, to pull-up ladders using a decent mounted pull-up bar.

How to keep your workouts effective when on the road

When you’re forced to leave most of your equipment behind, it can become easy to fall into complacency. Often times in the absence of our barbell and bumper plates we can find ourselves leaning on what we’re most comfortable with. Many an athlete have gotten caught in this trap. They end up defaulting to long, boring runs on treadmills in the rec-centers of hotels. This is a fitness death trap!

If you end up on the road, there are a few basic tools you can fall back on to keep your travel WOD workouts as effective as they were at home.

Build a Travel WOD Go-Bag

A Go-Bag is a simple, portable collection of tools you can use on the road when you need to fit in a travel WOD. Think of it as your emergency gym kit. We recommend filling a small sport or duffel bag with some combination of the following items:

  • Gymnastic Rings

    A good set of gymnastic rings are a life saver. Find any surface that you can toss the straps over and you’ve got a whole body workout at your fingertips. If you can’t find the height to do pull-ups, you can always drop the rings lower and throw in some inverted rows or push-ups for a smokin’ whole body workout.
    Rings will allow you to do a ton of different pulling exercises on surfaces that would otherwise be unusable. Think tree branches, girders, rafters, or other structural members.

  • TRX Suspension Trainer

    We love the versatility and simplicity of gymnastic rings. They’re perfect for a home gym. But sometimes you need to accessorize, and this is where the TRX Suspension Trainer system comes in handy. It has a couple perks that you won’t get with rings. The TRX system makes mounting to a wider variety of objects a little bit easier.
    Want to mount to a door? No problem with the TRX. With rings? Not so simple. The TRX system caters to a wider variety of exercises. Although it comes with a more hefty price tag, we feel it reflects the versatility well and is worth every penny. The TRX is a great, compact addition to your Go-Bag.

  • Push-Up Bars

    These are a cheap, easy to transport way of getting more from a common bodyweight exercise. We would normally recommend full-sized parallettes for your home gym, like these on Amazon. But since portability is important here, the smaller push-up bars offer similar (but not exact) function.

  • Speed Rope Jump Rope

    This is a no-brainer. A high quality speed rope will keep you off the treadmills and ellipticals, and will get you way more out of your workout. A speed rope can be used on its own or as a part of a circuit during your travel WOD. They are perfect for warmups, cool downs and everything in between. Want to get smoked? Use your speed rope for HIIT or Tabatas.

  • Cross Training Shoes and Lifting Shoes

    It’s not necessary that you have both pairs of shoes. Most cross training shoes designed for functional fitness training will be ok for lifting. If your’e on the road, you’re not quite as likely to find decent lifting equipment anyway, such as a barbell and bumper plates. For this reason lifting shoes are a nice thing to have, but probably not critical gear for your Go-Bag. A good pair of cross training shoes should go with you if possible, though.

  • Wrist Wraps or Hand Protectors

    Not essential, but nice to have. If you’re on the road, you don’t want to worry about hand injuries, especially if one of your go-to exercises is going to be pull-ups. We really like WODies.

  • Recovery and Foam Rolling

    We have a short guide on this subject and believe in it strongly. If you do nothing else while on the road, use it as a time when you can take recovery seriously. Spend some time rolling and caring for your body. When you get back home your body will thank you for it. TriggerPoint makes our preferred foam rolling and recovery gear.

  • Protein and Shaker Bottle

    A lot of this topic comes down to personal preference. Every person’s nutritional needs may be different but it’s safe to say that when you’re on the road, getting proper nutrition may be difficult. Keep your protein requirements in mind as you build your Go-Bag, and pick up a cheap, economical shaker bottle to go with it.

  • The actual Go-Bag itself

    We really like the Everest gym bag with wet pocket. It has room for everything we’ve mentioned in this list, and a few special features that make it very convenient. The wet pocket makes it so you can store dirty/sweaty clothes separate from the rest of your gear. There is also a separate compartment that you can put your shoes in. The bag is going to come down to your personal preference, really. We suggest not spending more than you need to on features that you don’t necessarily need; a lot of the high speed “tactical” bags have bells and whistles that may sound great on paper but don’t add a lot of functionality.

Workouts you can do using your Go-Bag

Your Go-Bag will probably evolve over time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You may not want to include everything from our list. If you have a TRX system, for example, you can probably skip out on the rings and push-up bars, since the TRX can be an effective substitute for both in a pinch.

The aim should be to find the most effective use of your bodyweight, because on the road that is likely all you will have to work with.

Here is a great video, featuring Rich Froning on some crossfit travel WODs you can do on the road with no gear other than your Go-Bag. Feel free to substitute and mix and match as you see fit. Just remember that complacency is the enemy of progress. Get out of your comfort zone!

Are bodyweight workouts effective?

Worried that bodyweight workouts aren’t effective enough? Tell that to the Bar Brothers, who have perfected the art of the pull-up. For a great fitness program featuring just a stationary pull-up bar, we recommend you check out our post on the Bar Brothers program. You might not be able to utilize it in a hotel room, but you can effectively turn any place with a pull-up bar into your travel gym.

The key is variation and intensity. Varying things up and keeping things interesting will keep you f rom getting bored and complacent. You’ll be more likely to stay on track with your fitness goals.

Use these workouts as a base of ideas for creating and implementing your own travel WOD plan for when you’re on the road.  The list is by no means meant to be comprehensive.

Running WODs

  • 4 Rounds for Time:
    • Run 400m
    • 50 Air Squats (or 20 double-unders)
  • 4 Rounds For Time:
    • Sprint 200m
    • 15 Air Squats
    • 10 Push Ups
    • 5 Walking Lunges (each leg)
  • 4 Rounds For Time:
    • Sprint 200m
    • 20 Burpees
  • 4 Rounds for Time:
    • Run 800m
    • Rest the amount of time it took you to run
  • 10 Rounds:
    • Sprint 100m
    • Rest 1:00
  • 10 Rounds for Time:
    • Sprint 100m
    • Walk 100m
  • 4 Rounds for Time:
    • Run 200m
    • 10 Air Squats
    • 5 Walking Lunges each leg
  • Run 1 Mile for Time:
    • Every 1:00 stop the timer and do 5 burpees

Bodyweight WODs

  • 20 Rounds for Time:
    • 5 Push-Ups
    • 5 Air Squats
    • 5 Sit-Ups
  • Every Minute Until Failure:
    • 1:00 – Do 1 Push-Up
    • 2:00 – Do 2 Push-ups
    • 3:00 – Do 3 Push-ups
    • 10:00 – Do 10 Push-ups
    • Keep going until you can’t do as many push-ups in that minute (i.e. at 20:00 you are only able to do 19 push-ups in that minute)
  • 5 Rounds:
    • 21-15-9:
      • Air Squats
      • Push-Ups
  • 5 Rounds:
    • 5 Hand Stand Push-Ups
    • 20 Sit-Ups
    • 20 Air Squats
  • Hold a Handstand against a wall for a total of 5:00. Rest as needed.
  • For Time:
    • 100 Burpees
  • Tabata Air Squats:
    • 8 Rounds:
      • Squat for 20 seconds
      • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Tabata Push-Ups:
    • 8 Rounds:
      • Push-Ups for 20 seconds
      • Rest for 10 seconds
  • 10 Rounds:
    • 10 Air Squats
    • 10 Burpees

Rings, TRX and Pull-Up Bar WODs

  • Hold an L-sit on the Rings, TRX, or Parallettes for a total of 5:00.  Rest as needed.
  • 5 Rounds for Time:
    • 5 Muscle-Ups (Rings)
    • 10 Push-ups
    • 15 Squats
  • As Many Rounds in 20 Minutes:
    • 5 Pull-Ups
    • 1o Push-Ups
    • 15 Squats
  • Lower the Rings or TRX to a few inches above the ground:
    • 50 full range of motion push-ups, resting only at the top
  • 5 Rounds for Time:
    • 20 Pull-Ups
    • 20 Push-Ups
  • 5 Rounds:
    • 2 Bar Muscle-Ups
    • 4 Pull-Ups
    • 10 Second Hold Chin over Bar
    • 20 Squats

Jump Rope WODs

  • 10 Rounds for Time:
    • 20 Double-Unders
    • 20 Squats
    • 20 Broad Jumps
  • 5 Rounds for Time:
    • 25 Double-Unders
    • 15 Burpees
  • 10 Rounds for Time:
    • 10 Push-Ups
    • 10 Air Squats
    • 10 Double Unders
  • 50-40-30-20-10:
    • Double-Unders
    • Push-Ups
    • Squats
  • 100 Double Unders for Time
  • 10 Rounds:
    • 20 Double-Unders
    • 10 Squats
  • 5 Rounds for Time:
    • 20 Push-Ups
    • 30 Sit-Ups
    • 40 Squats
    • 50 Double-Unders

Conclusion

The combinations and variations of the above workouts are limitless. We recommend you go into each road trip with a plan, or at least a vague list of what workouts you’ll be equipped for. Trying to come up with things on a whim will probably land you in the trap we mentioned above: doing something you’re comfortable with.

Building a decent travel WOD Go-Bag will be a great investment in yourself and in your own personal fitness. Using our tips of what to pack, and suggestions on possible workouts is a great place to start.

 

Have recommendations for an addition to the Go-Bag? Have a favorite road warrior or travel WOD workout? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

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