Dont let travel demands get in the way of fitness. All thats needed is a park bench and a resistance band to exercise while on vacation.
Have you experienced poor results when you work out after an extended break from your fitness routine? Unfortunately, our bodies become de-conditioned surprisingly quickly. Frequent travellers can avoid the disappointing “welcome back” workout and preserve training effects by doing maintenance workouts while on vacation.
Research shows that one to two days per week appear to be an effective maintenance frequency for those already engaged in resistance training. All you need is a park bench and a resistance tube!
The park workout
This workout combines classic strength training exercises with intensity training to challenge you without bulky training equipment. The circuit style will take your muscles to a high level of fatigue and will keep the heart rate elevated for cardiovascular benefits.
After a light warmup complete the sets in each workout two to three times before moving on to the next set, and take minimal rest in between. Finish each workout with gentle stretching and plenty of water.
A park bench, a grassy field, a medium-strength resistance tube, and a water bottle.
Set 1 Double-pump walking lunges
Stand tall with upright posture; activate the core by gently drawing the belly button toward the spine.
Take a large step forward with the right leg and slowly lower the body until the right thigh is parallel to the ground. The knee should remain directly above the ankle at the lowest point in the movement.
Using right-thigh strength, press your foot into the ground to raise the body up. The front knee will remain slightly bent at the highest point.
Slowly lower the body until the right thigh is parallel to the ground again.
This time, press right up into a full standing position and step forward with the left leg.
Repeat 2 pumps on the left leg before switching back to the right.
Complete two sets of 12 alternating reps for each leg, for a total of 24 reps.
One-leg push-ups on a bench
Place hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the seat of a park bench; assume a push-up position.
Create a straight line with your body, ensuring that your back does not arch or your hips do not sink.
With deep abdominal muscles engaged, slowly raise one foot and hold it 3 in (8 cm) above the ground.
Descend into the push-up; draw the middle of your chest toward the seat edge of the bench.
The reduced support will call on your abs to do extra work, so do not allow your body to rotate.
Complete 6 reps, then switch to the alternate leg for 6 reps, for a total of 12 reps.
Place your right foot on the seat of a park bench (or curb for decreased intensity).
Using power from the right thigh, press up until you’re standing on the bench.
Lower back to the starting position with as much control as possible, avoiding a quick drop.
Complete 12 reps on right leg, then switch and do 12 reps with the left leg.
Triceps bench push-ups
Stand behind a park bench with your hands placed thumb-width apart on the back of the bench.
Walk your feet backward until your body forms a straight line angled toward the bench.
Keeping the elbows close to the body, slowly lower the chest toward the bench.
Press back up to the starting position.
Complete a full set of 12 reps without allowing the elbows to lock at any point.
Set 3 Single-arm reverse fly
Anchor a resistance tube at chest height and rotate your body so the anchor point is to your left.
Hold a handle in your right hand and stretch your arm out fully in front of your chest.
Pull against the resistance of the tube until your arm is outstretched at your right side.
Keep the elbow slightly bent throughout the entire movement.
Perform 12 reps with each arm.
Resistance tube woodchop
Anchor a resistance tube at chest height by looping it around a solid, fixed object.
Hold the handles together with both hands and rotate so the anchor point is to your left.
Outstretch both arms fully in front of your chest, elbows slightly bent; position yourself so there is slight tension on the tube.
Using your torso strength, pull against the resistance of the tube and rotate to the right until your head, shoulders, and arms face to the right.
With control, return to the start position.
Complete 12 reps on right side before switching sides; do 12 reps on left side.
Set 4 Single-leg squat
Stand with your back to the front of a park bench.
Raise your left leg back and rest your foot on the seat of the bench for support (use a curb for decreased intensity).
Slowly lower your body until the right (front) thigh is parallel to the ground. The right knee will remain above the ankle at the lowest point in the movement.
Repeat 12 reps on one leg, then alternate and do 12 reps on other leg.
Anchor a resistance tube at torso height by looping it around a bench, tree, or other solid object.
Hold handles in your right hand and step back until there is tension on the resistance tube when right arm is fully outstretched.
Assume a stride stance by placing the left foot slightly in front of the right for balance.
Row the handles toward the torso.
Be sure to keep the elbow close to the body and maintain an upright posture.
Complete 12 reps with right arm, then alternate and do 12 reps with left arm.
Shari Feuz is a Vancouver-based freelance health and fitness writer and personal trainer.