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More Training Info > No Gym Workout

"No Gym Required" Workout

If you will be hitting the road for the holiday season or for whatever reason you won't have access to your favorite climbing gym, indoor track, or fitness facility, DON'T DESPAIR! You can still get in several quality workouts wherever you will be. The following workout is one that you can do ANYWHERE, requiring only a little imagination, your own body weight, and a few choice pieces of furniture. Some of the exercises listed may be unfamiliar to you; print out this page and take it with you, for it includes 1) the order you should complete the exercises, 2) a description of how to perform each (we're working on pictures!) and 3) how to warm-up and cool down properly. Perform 2 sets of 10-12 repetitions (or as many as you can do up to 12, maintaining proper form), alternating between sets a and b within a numbered set (otherwise known as supersetting). By that, we mean in dual set #1, perform a set of exercise 1a, followed by a set of exercise 1b, then another of 1a, a second of 1b, and go on to do the same with the super set #2. Rest only as long as it takes to switch to the next exercise (and catch your breath just slightly!)

Please, Remember to Warm Up!

Make sure you do 5-10 minutes of light calisthenics, jogging, jumping jacks, or comfortable walking up and down several flights of stairs (great if you're in a high rise building or hotel) to get the blood flowing and break a light sweat; otherwise, you may run the risk of pulling or straining a muscle. Do about 5 minutes of whole body stretching, including the hip flexors, lower back, hamstrings, chest, and lats. (what? you don't know how to stretch these muscle groups? Then by all means, hurry up and get yourself an appointment with a Body Results trainer! Contact us and we'll get a copy of our favorites to you!!)

Strength Exercises

Note: Some of the exercises in this workout are single-limb exercises; if you know ahead of time that you have a weaker or non-dominant side, always start with that side first, until you are balanced, and only complete on the strong side as many repetitions as you could successfully complete on the weaker side (read: WITH GOOD FORM); otherwise, you're just further perpetuating the problem.

1a Split Squats -- (also referred to by some as standing dips or stationary lunges) Entire leg

Place the right foot up on a step or a chair behind you (the higher it is, the harder it will be; you can also do this with both feet on the floor if it's a brand new exercise for you). Your left leg (the one that is forward) will do most of the work, but you'll also feel an intense stretch in the hip flexor of the right leg that is extended behind you. Keep your forward (left) knee behind the shoelaces as much as possible. Now, keeping your torso as vertical as possible, with hips and shoulders squared forward, lower your body down as far as you can, stretching your right hip flexor and pressing through the left heel to maximally activate the glutes as you raise back up. A hand on a wall or chair is allowed until you establish better balance. Complete 10-12 repetitions on the left leg, then repeat on the right leg before going to the second exercise in compound set 1.

1b Variable Angle Pushups -- Pectorals, triceps, deltoids, abs.

Sick of pushups? Try this fun-- but also tough --variation. Place several solid objects of varying heights on the floor in a semi-circle around you, such as a rolled up towel, phone book, hard suitcase, low chair rung, etc. If you can, do these on your toes; if you need to build up the strength in your chest, do these on your knees. With one hand on each object, complete a pushup and then (keeping back straight and abs tight to protect the back) maneuver yourself over to another object nearby (walk slightly on your hands keeping knees in the center of the arc) and complete a second pushup; keep varying the height and angle of the pushups as you touch each object in various combinations. If you are a rock climber, you'll appreciate the inherent variety and difficulty of such an exercise! In a sparse hotel room, your best bet may be to do decline pushups with your feet up on a bed or chair (remember, too, you can do these on knees or flat on the floor, until you've built up your strength!) The squishier the object on which you place your feet (i.e. soft bed, sofa, or Stability ball) the harder your abs work. Complete 12 and then return to 1a for the second set of split squats. Once you've done 2 sets of pushups, you're ready to go on to compound set 2 and complete in the same manner.

2a 1-leg squat: Glutes, ankles, entire leg

A great balance exercise. Stand on your right leg, left foot barely touching the floor out in front of you, and hand on a wall or desk for slight support. Slowly lower your bodyweight (as though you're sitting in a chair behind you, but you're just using one leg) and as you do so, slide the front foot forward as far as you can, then press back up through the right leg. Try not to pull or push up with your hand!Complete as many as you can, as deep as you can go, then do the other side before going on to triceps dips.

2b Chair (or bathtub) triceps dips: triceps, deltoid stretch (be wary if you've strained a rotator cuff muscle)

Place a chair against a wall so it won't slide out from underneath you, and position your hands (fingers forward, palms down) on the edge of the chair or, tub. To protect your wrists, try to keep them as neutral as possible. (Imagine a ruler attached from knuckles to mid-forearm in a straight line; try to keep that position as much as possible when doing pushups, presses, or dips. Some people find that doing dips and pushups on the knuckles helps prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and also makes the exercise more challenging.) Keep your butt fairly close to the edge, feet forward and knees slightly bent, and lower body until your arms are bent to about 90 degrees, then press back up. Place your feet up on a chair or stability ball for more intensity.

3a Plie squat lunges: abductors, quads, glutes, erector spinaes; GREAT for climbing!

Stand in a super wide stance (as wide as your flexibility allows) with toes turned out, knees pressing out and back, and balls of the feet up on the edge of weight plates (or on the floor is fine if you don't have anything sturdy to stand on.) Lower your butt as far as you can (STRETCH!!) and then shift your weight side to side, transferring your center of gravity until it is as much over one leg at a time as possible, then shift over to the other side. Do these SLOWLY and really concentrate on the feeling of shifting your center of gravity. You can also do plie-calf raises to finish off the set, starting in the center, and then lifting your bodyweight up and raising up onto your toes as high as possible.

3b Rotational twists: obliques

Hold a suitcase, backpack or something else of fairly hefty weight close to your body in front of you. Stand with feet shoulder distance apart and keep your knees slightly bent. Keeping hips facing straight forward, rotate as far as possible to one side, then the other, stretching to full range of motion. Keep the movement slow at first (so you don't strain your back!) and weight close to you; if you don't have anything very heavy, you can make the exercise harder by holding a light object a bit farther away from you.

4a Wall reverse pushups: rhomboids (middle back; great for climbers who need help with posture)

Find a right-angle corner of the room without any lamps, furniture, mirrors or pictures and snug yourself into it, facing into the room. Feet will be about 12-18 inches in front of you, and butt should touch the wall ONLY before the first repetition in order to see if you are centered in the corner. Place elbows against the walls so upper arms are parallel to the floor, and extend your hips out so body is in a straight line from heels to shoulders. Without changing the angle in the rest of your body, press elbows into the walls, keeping shoulders down and relaxed, and concentrate on squeezing your shoulder blades together behind you. To make it easier, bring feet in closer; harder, extend farther away from you.

4b Feet-walk: rectus abdominus (lower abs; for those without current lower back pains)

Lie on your back with knees drawn in tightly to your chest. Hold onto them with your arms, if need be, to make sure the lower back is pressed all the way into the floor. Slowly release the arms and place your hands back behind the head while maintaining that position with your legs (placing hands under the hips will probably cause you to cheat!) NOW, without releasing your back to the floor, and keeping your abs as tight as possible, try to walk one bent leg toward the floor and back up, keeping a 90 degree bend in the knee. If you are doing this properly, it will feel increasingly difficult as the foot approaches the floor. Alternate legs until you have done 8-10 each side (or 16-20 repetitions.) If you have lower back pain, simply place your feet flat on the floor and do a pelvic tilt curl, curling your tailbone under and then relaxing, much like a scorpion might do as it prepares to sting!

5a 1-arm suitcase row: lats, rhomboids, biceps, posterior deltoids

Start with non-dominant hand holding suitcase or backpack, lean over and place other hand on bed or chair for support. Bend your knees slightly so that you can keep your back flat (imagine a plate sitting on the small of your back and keep it level) and stagger your feet so that you are comfortable. As you pull weight up toward your rib, keep the elbow in nice and close to the side and stretch hand down and forward as far as possible without shifting the position of the rest of your body. Repeat to other side before doing a set of good mornings.

5b Standing arched back good mornings -- Abs, erector spinaes (lower back)

Hold a suitcase or back pack in front of you, close to your chest. Stand with feet shoulder distance apart, knees bent about 10 degrees throughout the entire exercise. Bend forward at the hips, with your butt sticking out slightly behind you, and keep the back perfectly flat, abs tight, until you feel a good stretch in the hamstrings. If you feel it in your back, you very likely have rounded the back--try to imagine that flat table position you had for the 1-arm row. Exhale forcefully as you lift so the abs support the lower back..

Additional Notes

These 26 sets (some single-limb sets mixed in with double) at about a minute apiece should take you less than 30 minutes (with time to return the room to the way you found it) to complete! What about aerobics? Feel free to add them to your workout. One option is to alternate strength days with cardiovascular days. Another option is to combine strength and aerobic days. Then which do you do first? Good question. Ask yourself which is more important for the day: aerobic conditioning, or strength? If you want to train more for strength, then put that early in your combined workout; if your focus is on endurance, put the cardiovascular portion of your workout first, to get you well warmed up. This is highly individualized in terms of your unique goals, energy levels, and personal preference. Play around with different combinations and see what works for you.

What are the options for cardio on the road? Brisk walks, a jog or run, hill or stair climbing (if you have access to some good hills--they're ubiquitous here in Seattle!) or good old fashioned calisthenics (jogging in place, jumping rope, jumping jacks and the like.) Or simply put on some good tunes and go crazy dancing! The point is to enjoy yourself, or you won't take time to do it!

Make sure you stretch well afterwards, too, particularly the muscles you know are usually tight. This is the best time to hold the stretches and actively try to lengthen the muscles, when they're thoroughly warmed up. Hold at least 15 seconds, without bouncing or jarring. Any less than that and you're pretty much wasting your time. Enjoy!

Nota Bene: As always, when starting a new routine, remember that form is of the utmost importance; also remember that this workout IS NOT for everyone. This is designed to be a maintenance type of workout for Body Results clients who already have a pretty good foundation in strength. If you have stumbled upon this site and are new to exercise, please be aware that some of the newer exercises may cause muscle soreness. As with any exercise program, if you are just beginning, make sure you have had medical clearance to do so and have no contra-indications that would prevent you from safely completing the workout. Body Results assumes absolutely no responsibility, liability, or fault for improper completion of the workout by those exercisers who have not been through consultations with our trainers.


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