Summer is so close we can almost taste it, which means one thing: vacation. But frequent travel makes exercise difficult, which is why equipment-free workouts are key. And let's face it: Sometimes basic jumping jacks, planks, and squats get boring. Instead, use the wall of your hotel room, Airbnb, or anywhere else you're staying to add a little spice to your routine. As an added bonus, you can do them even if you're not traveling!
The following strength and power exercises will keep you fitter than ever, no matter where you are. You don't even need shoes to do them.
1. Wall sits.
Wall sits are a classic static exercise to build leg strength. To begin, sit back against the wall with a tall spine. Bend your knees and stack them directly over your ankles. Keep your hips at the same level as your knees so your thighs are parallel to the ground. Breathe and hold for one minute.
For a more advanced version, do single-leg walls sits by extending one leg parallel to the ground. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
2. Wall push-ups.
The wall is a great way to modify or intensify push-ups. Start by facing the wall and spread your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Step your feet back to create a diagonal with your body. Inhale and bend your elbows out to lower your chest toward the wall. Exhale and press away from the wall. Do 10 to 20 reps.
For a more advanced version, face away from the wall and ground your hands on the floor, keeping them slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Walk your feet up the wall until you form a diagonal plank position with your hips in line with your shoulders. On an inhale, bend your elbows out to lower your chest toward the ground. On an exhale, press up. Do 5 to 10 reps.
3. Walking wall planks.
Walking wall planks are a great way to add more core strengthening to the basic plank. Start in a high-plank position one-arm’s-length distance from the wall. Find full-body engagement and pull your navel in to keep your core strong. Inhale to prepare, and on an exhale extend your right arm to place your right hand on the wall, then follow with the left hand. On an inhale, return your right hand, then left hand to the ground. Repeat this for 30 to 60 seconds.
4. Wall dolphin.
Doing this yoga pose on the wall strengthens your shoulder girdle muscles including the trapezius, rhomboids, and pectoralis minor. For all of you yogis out there, it is an excellent exercise to prepare for arm balances!
Start seated on the floor, facing the wall. Extend your legs so your feet touch the wall. Keep your forearms parallel to each other and walk your feet up the wall in line with your hips so you form an inverted L-shape. Be sure your shoulders stack directly over your elbows, and your hips directly over your shoulders. Push the floor away through your forearms. Breathe and hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
5. Push 'n' run.
Place your hands on the wall straight out from your shoulders and step your feet back. Push into the wall as if you could push it down. Run by driving your knees up and continue pushing the wall away. Push ’n' run for one minute as hard as you can!
6. Wall jump squats.
Face the wall, lift your arms overhead, and pick a spot about 1 foot higher than your fingertips. Step your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. On an inhale, bend your knees to squat low. On an exhale, hop off the ground and touch the point you picked on the wall. Be sure to land lightly (especially if you are barefoot) with the balls of your feet touching down first. Repeat the jump squats for 30 to 60 seconds and aim to touch the same spot every time.
7. Wall mountain climbers.
Face away from the wall to place your hands on the ground and walk your feet up the wall to a steep, diagonal plank position. Push through your hands and engage your core. Inhale to prepare, and on an exhale pull your right knee into your chest. On another inhale, place your right foot back on the wall. Exhale to pull your left knee into your chest.
Focus on exhaling and continue to alternate pulling your knees. To modify, go slower. To intensify, give it some speed!