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Fitness

No Gym? Exercises for the Road

When you're away from home, follow this plan to maintain your fitness
©Shutterstock; Illustrations by Kyle Hilton
©Shutterstock; Illustrations by Kyle Hilton

As Guard Soldiers, we find ourselves on the road frequently throughout the year. Even though time, space and equipment are often limited when you’re traveling, don’t let that keep you from getting in a workout that will leave you energized and ready for the mission at hand.

The following exercises can be done with a few feet of floor space, and a towel or belt. This is the perfect opportunity to target some movements that you typically don’t make time for in your weekly program.

1. OVERHEAD SIDE LUNGES

Stand with feet about 36 inches apart and slightly turned out. Extend the towel overhead—pull outward on the towel to keep it tight. Keep one leg straight as you lower to the bottom of a side lunge on the opposite side. Return to starting position, then repeat on the other side. Sets: 2-3. Reps per set: 10 total at slow cadence.

Tip: Keep your ­feet f­lat at all times. Can be per­formed with arms in f­ront if­ you are unable to reach f­ull range of­ motion with arms overhead.

2. RUSSIAN TWIST

Start at the top of a sit-up with arms forward, palms facing upward. Pull out on the towel and squeeze shoulder blades together to engage the upper back muscles. Lower torso one vertebra at a time until the abdominals engage. Draw the belly button toward the spine and slowly rotate as far as possible to one side and then the other. Sets: 2-3. Reps per set: 15 in each direction at slow cadence.

Tip: Rotate at the waist and not at the hips to isolate the core activation.

3. SLALOM PLANKS

Begin in the front-leaning rest position with feet on a towel. Tighten the abs and back muscles as you dynamically pull knees to your chest. Return to starting position, then draw both knees outside right elbow. Repeat on the left side. Sets: 2-3. Reps per set: 10-20 total knee pulls.

Tip: If­ you are not on a tiled or slick sur­face, you can roll the towel and place it between your ankles and perform the movement while attempting to not drop the towel.

4. SIDE HOPS

This is not only a quick and simple cardio burst, but it also helps to strengthen the ankles and calf muscles for the demands of running without ever leaving your room. Sets: 2-3. Reps per set: 30 total hops.

Tip: Keep knees slightly bent and ankles together. Work on quick, deliberate movements to build ankle strength.

5. BENT FRONT RAISE

The unsupported forward bend fires up the posterior chain while the outward pull on the towel works the posterior shoulder muscles. Feet are shoulder-width apart throughout. Sets: 2-3. Reps per set: 10-15.

Tip: Exhale as you raise arms toward the ceiling and draw abs toward spine to maintain a neutral lower back.


 

SHAKE UP YOUR DAY

After a long day on the road, a “shakeout” run will revive your body. Repeat the following as many times as you can in 20-30 minutes:

• Run—counting 45 steps on each foot, building intensity as you go. You can also run for 30-60 seconds if you prefer as long as intensity is moderate to high.

• 5-10 8-count push-ups

• 10-15 full range of motion air squats or walking lunges

• 30 bicycle crunches on each side or 4-count flutter kicks

• Walk or stretch 30 seconds, then start over with the run, increasing intensity as able

 

Warning: Always seek the advice and guidance of a qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have before commencing a fitness program. This article should not be relied on or substituted for professional medical diagnosis or treatment. The exercises presented are for suggestion only. Participate at your own risk. Stop if you feel faint or short of breath.