I’m just over 4 weeks away from going on vacay, so I got to thinking about how I can strength train while traveling. I’ve never been the type to stick to my training while on the road, although I do a good job of staying active, whether that’s hiking, walking, swimming or the occasional airport sprint.

I’m on a program right now that’ll be broken up by a 2-week stay abroad and I don’t want to lose what I’ve gained. I’d rather try and maintain my gains as best as I can. So in addition to my usual vacay activities, I want to make a concerted effort to preserve my strength. With this in mind, I went scouring the internet to research and hunt down the best available content that will help me strength train while traveling.

airplane at sunset

Challenges on The Road

Challenges always face you on the road, maintaining your fitness among others. To be clear, I almost always think of these challenges when traveling abroad. Sure there are challenges to domestic travel, but they’re like comparing a training barbell to regular barbell. Please keep international travel in mind, as I lay out a few obstacles to your strength training on the road.

  1. Lack of gyms

There are other countries with gyms, but gyms are always plentiful. According to Statista.com, after the U.S. these are the countries with the most: Brazil, Mexico, Germany, Argentina, Italy, United Kingdom, South Korea, Canada and Japan. I’ve been to a few of these countries, and haven’t seen many gyms at that. Don’t expect to travel and find a gym with the same ease as you do here in the States.

  1. Lack of Equipment and Gear

If you’re traveling abroad, you can’t really bring much gear with you if any. You’ll most likely be limited to jump ropes, resistance bands, and maybe an ab roller. Your best bet will be to make due with what’s available where you’ll be staying and improvise like MacGuyver. Your next best option will be to focus heavily on bodyweight training.

  1. Diet and Routine

I’m going to reserve commenting here for the most part. Everyone intuitively knows what’s good for them based on their lifestyle. Personally, I lean towards enjoying myself while I travel, as the gym will always be there upon return, but I may never visit that country again. I’d rather not deny myself pleasures than restrict my travels and experiences strictly adhering to a diet and training regimen. The gym is never lost, but experiences are. If you can have your cake and eat it too, all the more power to you.

beach sunset

Workouts on the Road

Without further ado, let’s see how easily you can strength train while traveling.

  • Here’s a lengthy and in-depth piece by Steve, from our friends at Nerd Fitness. This article is well done as it documents his big trip and efforts to strength train while traveling in Asia and the Pacific. He not only documents specific strategies he followed, including diet tips, but he also provides specific workouts to do while on the road.
  • This article from the guys over at Breakingmuscle.com skips the fluff and goes straight to the meat, or shall we say “protein”, of the matter. Coming from the perspective of a lifelong lifter, Jonathan Precel prefaces his tips with his unsubstantiated fear of not training for a week. He got through it, didn’t shrink down to a pool noodle, and found some excellent training substitutes from density circuits to Tabata rounds.
  • Finally, this gem from Bodybuilding.com is my favorite. Danny Kavadlo got super creative with his training on the road. We all know about doing dips on chairs, but how about squatting while holding your luggage overhead? If that doesn’t grab your attention, how about Romanian deadlifts with a bed? I love the creativity here and might very well be employing these on my upcoming trip.

If you’re more into vids, I’ve rounded up some quality resources.

Here's a torturous, 4-minute bodyweight workout. The top comments are "I hate you so much. Thanks for the killer workout," and "Who else watched this video the first time thinking it was a piece of cake and then actual tried it?" Sounds like a winner. 

Here's another great workout you can do in your hotel room, with no equipment and just your bodyweight.

Lastly, here's a solid workout you can do anywhere on the road if you have a resistance band with you. 

Finally, if you're looking for some info on how to stay flexible, mobile and limber on the road, our friends at Airrosti have developed this useful guide, "Working Out on the Road: How to Travel and Stay Pain-Free." Foam rollers might not fit in your bag, but a roller stick will.

Looks pretty straightforward and easy. After I get back from my trip, I'll let you know how easy it is to strength train while traveling.

Thanks for reading Fringe Nation. Godspeed and safe travels if you're on the road or getting your passport stamped in the near future. As always, please share your experiences, insights and pro tips in the comments below. Have a great day and stay awesome!


Adam Miezio
Adam Miezio

Author