Using an excuse to miss a workout, because of “no equipment” is lame, even if you’re on the road—and even if you don’t have access to a hotel gym. After all, most guys already travel with the perfect muscle builder stowed neatly in the trunk or overhead bin. “A suitcase is all you need to add weight to any exercise,” says strength and conditioning coach BJ Gaddour.
“It can be as heavy as you want and its contents shift as you exercise, forcing your muscles to work harder to maintain balance.” And the harder they work, the more they’ll grow and the more fat you’ll burn. Follow Gaddour’s lead to transform any carry-on into a workout tool – and turn any hotel room into your very own personal fitness centre.
The Ultimate Suitcase Workout
Load a suitcase with enough clothes or other items to make these moves challenging. Perform the exercises as a circuit, doing each for 45 seconds and moving from one to the next with 15 seconds of rest. Complete them all and repeat the circuit. Do a maximum of six circuits.
Suitcase Side-To-Side Overhead Press
Assume a tall kneeling position and place the suitcase on your right shoulder with one hand on each side. Brace your abs and glutes and press the bag overhead as you transfer it to your left shoulder.
Continue alternating sides. Too easy? Make it harder by doing the exercise from a seated position, with your legs spread wide to form a V on the floor. If that’s too hard, assume a split stance, kneeling on one knee with the opposite foot flat on the floor.
Suitcase Bear Hug To Headlock Squat
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bear hug your suitcase to your chest. Push your hips back and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Stand up and move the suitcase to your right side, wrapping your right arm around it in a “headlock.” Do another squat and return to the bear-hug position. Repeat the move, this time transferring the suitcase to your left side and using your left arm for a headlock. Continue alternating back and forth.
Suitcase Rolling Lunge
Stand the suitcase vertically on the floor with its telescoping handle fully extended and facing you. Grab the handle with your right hand and push the bag forward as you take a large step with your left leg. Lower your body until your left knee is bent 90-degrees and your right knee nearly touches the floor. Return to the standing position and repeat. Switch sides with each circuit.
Suitcase Mountain Climber
Position the suitcase on the floor so you can slip the toes of your left foot into the top handle as you assume a push-up position; your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles. Brace your core and drag the suitcase forward, as you bring your left knee as close to your chest as you can, without rounding your lower back. Reverse the move and repeat. Switch legs with each circuit.
Place the suitcase on its side on the floor in front of you, with the handle facing up. Bend your knees slightly, push your hips back, and bend forward so your back is flat and your torso is between 45-degrees and parallel to the floor. Grab the suitcase handle with your right hand, pull it toward your chest, and then release it, catching it with your left hand before it hits the floor. Continue alternating back and forth as you “juggle” your luggage.