As a travel nurse, finding a time and place to exercise can be difficult. With frequent travel and odd work hours, you may not always have access to a fitness center. However, you don’t need a fancy gym membership, dumbbells, or even a jump rope, to have a good workout. Here are 10 bodyweight exercises you can do anytime and anywhere. It’s time to create your ultimate on-the-road workout and start crushing your new year!
Squats are an amazing lower body exercise that targets your hamstrings, quads, and glutes. Plus, they’re great for increasing your mobility and balance.
How to perform the squat:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and turn your toes slightly outward.
- Keeping your weight evenly distributed through your feet, sit your butt back and bend your knees.
- Try to bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- If you can’t do this yet, just go as low as you comfortably can. Over time, you’ll be able to go lower and lower!
- Again, keeping your weight evenly distributed through your feet, stand back up.
If you’re struggling with staying balanced, hold on to the back of a chair for support. Or, if this is too easy, try a more advanced version. A few fun options include jump squats, Bulgarian split squats, and pistol box squats!
Pushups are one of the best bodyweight exercises. Not only do they target your chest muscles, but also your stabilizer muscles like your core.
How to perform the pushup:
- Start in a plank position, with your hands flat on the floor.
- Your arms should be about shoulder-width apart, with your wrists under your shoulders.
- Keep your body straight by tightening your core and bending your arms to lower yourself to the floor.
- Go as low as you can while remaining comfortable.
- Your elbows should be at a 45-degree angle to reduce the risk of injury and discomfort.
- Push your body back up to start – keeping that straight line.
If this is too hard, try the modified version. All you have to do is perform the pushup in a kneeling position rather than a plank position.
3. Dead bugs
The dead bug exercise is truly underrated. According to Healthline, this one workout can strengthen your core, spine, and back muscles, as well as reduce back pain. Furthermore, it improves balance, coordination, stability, and posture.
How to perform the dead bug:
- Lie on your back with your arms pointed at the ceiling.
- Your legs should be brought up into a tabletop position – knees at a 90-degree angle right on top of your hips.
- Slowly extend your right leg straight, while also dropping your left arm back towards your head.
- By engaging your core, keep your back flat on the ground.
- Bring your arm and leg back to the starting position and repeat with the other leg and arm.
With any sort of ab workout, make sure you are breathing the entire time.
Targeting your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves, the lunges make for a great lower-body exercise. Not to mention, because it requires a bit more balance, it effectively works your stabilizer muscles as well.
How to perform the lunge:
- Standing shoulder-width apart, move your right leg forward (or backward) and bend both your knees.
- Your ending position should have your forward thigh parallel to the ground.
- Then, pushing through your forward foot, move your leg backward (or forward) to your starting position.
Like the squat, if you’re struggling with balance, hold on to a chair for stability. The more you practice, the easier the movement will become. However, if you’re wanting it to be more advanced, try jumping lunges or walking lunges!
A full body movement, burpees will get your heart rate up and work all your muscles. You can perform these for a certain number, or even for time if you really want to work up a sweat.
How to perform a burpee
- Start by standing shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your knees and place your palms on the floor.
- Kick your legs out behind you and lower your body to the ground in a pushup position.
- Using your arms, quickly push your body off the ground, and hop your legs back under your body.
- Keep your momentum by jumping straight into the air with your arms extended overhead.
For a lower intensity option, forget the jump at the end of the movement.
6. Glute bridges
This exercise is the perfect bodyweight movement to work those glutes! To make sure you’re targeting the right muscles, make sure you engage your core, and don’t overarch your back.
How to perform the glue bridge:
- Lie flat on your back, with your knees bent.
- Your heels should be a few inches away from your glutes, and your feet should be hip distance apart.
- Pushing through your heels, lift your hips up in a scooping motion, and squeeze your glutes at the top.
- Slowly lower your hips back toward the floor.
The plank is one of those moves that looks easy but is actually super hard. This exercise predominantly works your core, but you’ll be able to feel it in your arms and calves. Ready to try?
How to perform the plank:
- Get into a pushup position.
- You can hold your arms straight underneath your shoulders or bend them and hold your weight on your forearms.
- Keep your back straight and tighten your core.
- Hold this position for as long as you can – whether that’s 15 seconds or 2 minutes.
- Progress over time!
8. High knees
Who says you need to run for cardio? Like the burpee, this exercise is great for increasing your heart rate. Primarily targeting your calves and quads, this exercise will definitely get your lower body burning.
How to perform high knees:
- Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart.
- Bring your right knee up toward your chest as high as you can while pumping your arms.
- Keeping your chest lifted, quickly alternate knees while landing lightly on your feet.
If the jumping movement is too hard for you or your body, skip the slight hop and do high marches instead!
This exercise will light your shoulders, abs, and triceps on fire! It can also help your mobility and balance when consistently performed.
How to perform the inchworm:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Place your hands on the floor – you will have a bend in your knees.
- Slowly walk your hands out until you reach a plank or pushup position.
- Slowly walk your hands back towards your feet.
Inchworms are great to warm up your upper body before moving on to anything more intense, or as a fun way to end a tough upper body workout.
This movement will strengthen your rear deltoids and lower back, which is perfect for fixing any bad posture or annoying back pain.
How to perform the superman:
- Start by lying flat on your stomach.
- Simultaneously reach your hands and legs up towards the ceiling.
- Don’t feel like you need to have an excessive arch in your back.
- Lower your arms and legs back down.
Whether you’re starting with modifications or jumping straight into the advanced moves, working out on the road has never been easier. Ditch the gym and save your money with these bodyweight exercises you can do on your schedule.
And remember, working out is for more than just looking good. It’s to feel good. To alleviate stress, improve strength, reduce health risks, improve posture, relieve back pain, increase energy. Working out is for YOU and to celebrate what your body can do.
Ready to start your travel nurse journey? Contact Ethos Medical Staffing today, or call 1-877-ETHOS-RN.