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Travel-inspired Core Workout for the Abs and Back

by Sárka-Jonae Miller
See more articles by Sárka-Jonae Miller

(The Best Years in Life) For people who travel frequently for work or for some other reason have to find creative ways to exercise. Considering how much it costs to bring heavy luggage on a plane, traveling with a set of dumbbells isn't the answer. Fortunately, there are several exercises you can do to keep your core muscles strong using only your luggage or your bodyweight.

Human Suitcases

When it comes to fitting as many possible items into one piece of luggage nothing beats the large folding suitcase. And when it comes to getting an effective ab workout, few exercises compare to the suitcases exercse, which mimicks the folding and unfolding action of a suitcase.

Start sitting on floor with your knees bent and pulled up against your chest. Lift your feet off the floor and extend your arms straight in front of you, balancing on your tailbone and buttocks.This is the “closed” position. Lean backwards and straighten your legs outward but do not touch the ground. The stronger your abs, the farther back you can lean. This is the “open” position. Return to the closed position to complete one repetition. Work up to three sets of 15 to 20.


Laptop Side Bends

A laptop bag or a large purse is not only an awesome travel companion because it doesn't count as your carry-on luggage but also because it's small enough to be used in lieu of dumbbells for a popular exercise known as side bends. This exercise works the obliques, the X-shaped muscles on the sides of the abdomen.

Stand up straight holding your laptop bag in your right hand. Your left arm can rest against your side or you can put your hand on your hip. Bend sideaways to the right, causing the bag to lower toward the floor. If using a carry-on bag, you may need to stand on a block or a step to give you some extra height. Then, stand back up straight. Do not use your arm to lift the bag, only to keep it at your side. This is one rep. Do 10 on each side. Work up to three sets.

Almost Supermans

If you could fly like Superman you'd save a lot on airfare. Although it is unlikely you'll wake up with super powers, you can do the superman exercise to build a super strong back. Strengthen your back and ab muscles could make traveling more comfortable and reduces the chances of injury, something that is more likely to happen when swinging suitcases into an overhead compartment on a regular basis when you don't work out.

To do the superman exercise, lie face down with your arms straight out in front of you. Then, raise your legs off the floor as you also lift your arms and chest. Only your lower abdomen and thighs should touch the floor. Lower back to the floor to complete a rep. Start with only a few reps if you haven't done lower back exercises before and see how you feel the next day before increasing the number. Work up to 2 to 3 sets of 12 reps.

Your core muscles work almost all day. When you stand up, sit down, twist your waist, bend forward, and basically do any sort of unsupported movement your core muscles help keep you balanced and upright. All of these same movements can become uncomfortable or painful if you have weak muscles and sustain an injury. No one likes traveling with an injury, so do yourself a favor and try this routine twice a week for a few weeks. When it feels a little easier, try three days a week.

See also:

Simple Exercises to Strengthen and Shape Your Derrière

Exercises for Sexy, Sculpted Calves

Walk Away a Pound a Week



About the Author

Sárka-Jonae Miller is a health and fitness expert. She began working in the fitness industry in 2000 while pursuing a BS in journalism at Syracuse University. She became certified as a personal fitness trainer and group exercise instructor in 2003. She has also received training in massage therapy. Sárka also writes fiction. She is the author of the chick lit novel, Between Boyfriends. Get more health and wellness tips on Sárka's Natural Healing Tips blog or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

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