Upper Body Travel Workout

Training Arms, Chest, Shoulders and Abs in Your Hotel Room

While travel often stresses the upper body areas, you can recuperate and reinvigorate with these natural strength moves right in your hotel suite.

Anyone traveling nowadays knows about the extra stress to upper body areas that most journeys involve. A day on the road sees you pulling suitcases, or carrying heavy briefcases or laptops on your shoulder. Then there are the periods spent in hunched or limited positions on planes, trains, or the highway. Often, this combination of demanding movement, along with the hours of immobility, can only be addressed after arriving at your hotel. Even if there is no gym on site, you can still use your hotel.room to fit in a shorter version workout targeting the major upper body muscles one day, then train your lower body muscle groups on a following day

Turn your suite into your mini-gym

When there’s no time for outdoors or health clubs, improvising right within the space of your accommodation can still provide a worthwhile session. Mark Saunders, an executive personal trainer in Tucson, Arizona, is enthusiastic about fitness routines on the road. “It can help reduce trip stress, burn extra calories from business meals and help ease the transition into your routine back home,” he points out. “It can also help you maintain regular sleep patterns in foreign beds and minimize the effects of jet lag.”

Take advantage of the surfaces and furnishings of your room for some stretching, cardio and strength movements. Lightweight rubber exercise bands are the key equipment to pack for on-the-road upper body training sessions. Aside from these and a jumping rope, the only other equipment will be your a chair, bed, and a door frame in your room. You can even do in-place cardio drills in your room—in-place high-stepping, jumps, or lunges. Always train for intensity and efficiency: for instance, if you’re traveling for a week or more and you usually train at least four days a week at home, aim for a minimum of three days a week while you’re away.

Multi-functional exercise for time-pressed workouts

Choose exercises that target several muscle groups at once. All of the following provide either core training or multi-muscle exercise:


You can either do some jump ropes, stair climb, or run in-place.

Upper Body:

  • Crunches – always start with abdominal crunches. Your lower back needs to decompress and stretch out.
  • Reverse Crunches – work the lower abdominals.
  • Rotational Crunches – target the obliques with more difficult side-to-side crunches.
  • Knee Raises – work the abdominals with sitting, lying or hanging knee raises.
  • Crunches with Exercise Band – using the band’s resistance to raise the torso.
  • Push-Ups, Military Style – for the pectorals, but also beneficial for shoulders and triceps.
  • Push-Ups, Wide-Arm Style – a good warm-up for the pectorals, deltoids, triceps and upper back muscles.
  • Standing Flyes with Exercise Band – target inner/outer pectorals and anterior delts.
  • Tricep Dips – off the edge of a stable chair; advanced version with feet on bed.
  • Tricep Push-Ups – hands together to form a triangle under chest, target the triceps.
  • Tricep Pressdowns – using an exercise band over a door, extend the arms downward flexing the triceps.
  • Wide-Arm Pull-Ups – using the upper frame of a door area, take a wide, firm grasp of it to lift up to shoulder level, targeting the lats, biceps and forearms.
  • Biceps Curls with Exercise Band – perform standing with exercise band looped under feet.
  • One-Arm Rows (with suitcase) – use a medium-size, flat suitcase to simulate one-arm rows on the edge of a bed, targeting the lats and biceps.
  • Upright Rows (with suitcase) –curl a medium-size suitcase toward the chest to target the upper back (traps), outstretched and rear deltoids.
  • Anterior Raises – holding a phone directory, raise arms to shoulder level and then slightly curl lower arms.
  • Hyper-Extension – target lower back muscles by lying on a bed face down, arms and legs extended, then raising the opposite arm and leg 2-3 inches.

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