Muscles worked: chest, shoulders, triceps, hamstrings, lower back
Although regular pushups have their merits, and they are certainly on this list, we start off with one of their more intense variations – divebombers. Often done in the military, this exercise requires you to start in a piked position (above far right). You then lower your nose to the ground while maintain your arched position (above middle). Right before your nose hits the floor flatten yourself out as if you are trying to slide under a bar and keeping your hips low to the ground drive your head upwards until you are looking straight ahead. Finally, do everything in reverse until you are back at the starting position. That was one divebomber pushup.
Muscles worked: all of them (almost)
While this may not be the best workout to do in your hotel room, that’s what hallways are for (at least until someone calls the police). The risk is worth it though, as this dynamic exercise works everything from your shoulders to your quads. And the best part? Its easy to explain – just get on all fours and start crawling as fast as you can. But remember, these aren’t baby crawls…they’re bear crawls, and bears don’t crawl with their knees on the ground (at least we’re pretty sure).
Muscles worked: back, biceps, abs
Okay, so this is the first of several exercises on this list that you can’t really do anywhere. Depending on your level of creativity though you can get pretty close. All you need is a table, a low bar, or something else you can slide under and hold onto. Now, just like in the image above, pull yourself upwards towards the tabletop. Rows are a very effective back exercise and this is probably the closest you’ll get to doing them on the road.
Muscles worked: quads, glutes, hamstringsThis is probably one of the best leg workouts you are going to get without a gym and luckily its pretty straightforward. All you have to do is take a large step with one foot and bend your knee to a 90 degree angle (as in the image above). Although you can walk forward with each lunge you don’t have to. You can stay in the same spot if you want and just keep switching legs. Heck, you could even do these in the shower.
Muscles worked: quads
If you are anywhere near a wall then you have all you need to destroy your quadriceps with this intense exercise. There isn’t much to explain, but if you can’t do one leg, do two.
Muscles worked: calves, hip abductors, hip adductors
While there is probably no need get into the “how” of jumping jacks, as we assume everyone is at least familiar with the mechanics, unfortunately familiarity breeds contempt and this workout is often overlooked due to its percieved simplicity. It can be an amazing warm up though, and if you are having trouble finding space to run/jog, a thousand jumping jacks make for an excellent cardio workout.
Muscles worked: lats, traps, biceps, rhomboids, deltoids
Depending on your grip (overhand, underhand, spread) you are essentially working out your entire back. Like table rows, however, this exercise requires something for you to grab.
Muscles worked: calves
Not surprisingly this exercise targets one muscle – your calves. You don’t need much space to do it but if you can find a slight ledge, as in the image above, it will allow you to have a greater range of motion.
Muscles worked: deltoids
Although at first glance this exercise may seem trivial, beggars can’t be choosers. If you want to work out your shoulders without a gym you need to improvise. Besides, after the thousands shoulder circles we guarantee you that you’ll feel it. If you don’t though, put something in your hands.
Muscles worked: quads, calves, hamstrings
This is a dynamic exercise that only requires an elevated surface. Once you figure that part out you’re ready to break a serious sweat. Just jump up onto the box/park bench/bed/etc. and then jump down again. Repeat this until your lower body is destroyed.
Muscles worked: lower back
Starting in the prone position (above left) pull your head and upper back off the ground. Hold it for a second as you focus on contracting your back muscles and then lower yourself back down. Cycle through this several times and you should feel a pretty good workout, especially in your lower back.
Muscles worked: upper chest
As we promised, here is yet another pushup variation. All you have to do is find an elevated surface to rest your feet on and then proceed with pushups as normal. The advantage of these is that they specifically target your upper chest, and depending on the degree of incline, your shoulders as well.
Muscles worked: quads, calves, hamstrings
Here is yet another powerful lower body workout. If you failed to find that perfect elevated surface for your box jumps (#16) fear not, jump squats to the rescue. With your hands behind your head proceed with a regular squat and once you reach your lowest point explode upwards, jumping of the ground. Repeat.
Muscles worked: chest, triceps, abs
We promise – we’re at least half way through the pushup variations. The reason we include so many is because they are extremely effective and work numerous muscles groups. Spiderman pushups involve you emulating the superhero’s wall climbing movements as you are doing pushups on the ground. Basically, every time you lower yourself, one of your knees will come up and tap your elbow.
Muscles worked: triceps
This is the only exercise on our list that is designed to deliberately target the triceps. In order to maximize the effect, if you can find a surface to raise your legs off the ground, the intensity of the workout is compounded.