There’s all this talk about gym-bros and home-gyms. There seems to be this ongoing not-quite-feud between these two factions, wherein you either gym from home or at your local gym. However, today, we wanted to move away from all that and explore the notion of an… outdoor-gym-bro.
And no, I don’t mean these huge ‘portable gyms’ or huge Power Racks that need to be assembled and disassembled each time. While they’re great for personal trainers bringing everything from plates to racks to massive cable and cardio machines, as a normal person with a normal gym schedule, it’s a bit too bulky – let alone the price.
Instead, we will be looking at equipment that isn’t too heavy nor bulky but still allows you to do a lot of different exercises. For people who travel often, or even just for the weekend, you don’t want to be carrying 10 KG worth of dumbbells or an entire bench. In this article we will explore four different items you can bring that won’t take up much of your luggage space, but still will let you get those gains and meet your fitness goals:
- A yoga mat
- Set of resistance bands
- A skipping rope
- A sturdy bag
Naturally, if you’re going hiking or maybe spending a weekend away at an Airbnb, you never know what kind of flooring you’re going to find. You could be sitting on rocks or cement or floorboards that has never seen a mop. So, both as a safety and protection item, a yoga mat (or any kind of mat) is a must for any getaway. Yoga mats are super versatile, in that any standing, sitting, or lying exercise can be performed on it. From crunches to lying triceps extensions to even a Destroyer of the Universe pose, they provide structure and a good foundation for your workouts.
Meanwhile, if a yoga mat is meant to provide a foundation, resistance bands will add intensity to any workout. When you do a squat, you’re squeezing your glutes and working your lower body. However, if you add a resistance band to that, it forces you to maintain proper form and makes your muscles work harder (since it doesn’t let your muscles make up the strain). They’re essentially just rubber bands, so they’re light and easy to carry. Most of them will come in a set with different sizes. There are many exercises that can use them, not just squats, such as extensions, curls and more. These exercises can be done standing or sitting, and don't require much preparation.
Skipping ropes are best for high-intensity calorie burners. From a casual slow pace to a rapid double jump or even alternating foot jumps, they are great for a cardio workout when you don’t have much space. Not to mention that they’re just as easy to store as a resistance band. Of course, you can still go running or hiking through wherever wilderness you’re in (and it’s good to get lots of different cardio), but this is a great, effective alternative. Skipping exercises both your legs and your arms, which is more active than simply jogging. Some skipping rope workouts you can try HIIT workouts or a more relaxed beginner version.
Now, a ‘sturdy bag’ is a bit non-descriptive. Unlike the above, it isn’t actually equipment. This instead is just a makeshift heavy weight. You can use the bag for your possessions, but also stuff whatever heavy object you see into it and turn it into a potential free weight. And there’s a lot you can do with a free weight. Like resistance bands, free weights add intensity and make your workouts more difficult and develop your strength. This isn’t an end-all solution, but it’s a start. You can equate this to dumbbells, kettlebells or even a slam ball, so there's a lot of things you can do with them.
And there it is! Our list for tiny items – that little taste of your home-gym – to bring to your holiday. This isn’t an exhaustive list, and there’s a lot of alternatives out there.
You can also consider these functional fitness bundles.
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