Working Out With Nothing but a Floor

When you're on-the-go, finding a gym can be hard and going for a run outside is always fraught with the risk of getting lost.

So I now pack two good exercise tools in my suitcase that allow me to do a workout anywhere, anytime:

1. Jump rope – A jump rope is light, compact, and use-able anywhere. Because you stay in one place, you can simply take one step outside your hotel building and get after it.

2. Ripcords – I discovered these when their CEO, a blog reader, emailed and offered to send me a box. They're awesome. You can do many types of exercises with resistance bands.

Another blog reader, Adam Gilbert who's CEO of, emailed me a workout plan that requires nothing but a floor:

1. Jumping jacks – Do 4 sets of 50

2. Body Weight Squats – Do 3 sets of 20 (shoulder width)
( – Great video to watch for form)

3. Wall Sit – 2 sets of 1:30 each
( – Good video to watch for form)

4. Calf Raises  – 4 sets of 25 each

5. Push ups (shoulder width) – 3 sets of 20 each (Go slow and steady.)

6. Push ups (close grip) – 3 sets of 20 each (Go slow and steady. Again, own the exercise!)

7. Lying Torso Raise – 3 Sets of 15 each

Directions: Lie face down on the floor and place your hands loosely behind your head. Slowly raise your upper body until your chest is a few inches off the floor. You should feel your lower back muscles contracting as you rise up. Hold the top position for two-seconds then slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

8. Crunch – 3 sets of 15 each
( – Good video on how to do them. Most importantly crunch your chin up towards the ceiling. Look up! And hold!)

9. Bicycles – 3 sets of 30 each (Every time you touch a knee it counts as one)
( – Very good video with great form!)

10. Plank (Hold for 2 minutes or as long as you can. 2 minutes is the goal though.)
(Perfect form –

14 comments on “Working Out With Nothing but a Floor
  • this is a solid workout. ben, another great tool is the trx trainer. i got one after dropping my gym membership and can take it with me virtually everywhere.

  • Printed and put on the fridge. This is a great accompaniment to the take-anywhere cardio workout: the run. I like when the excuses are extracted. Thanks Ben!

  • Throw a PowerBall into your bag too. Handy for upper body and also portable. Be prepared to demonstrate if you get asked what it is going through security!

  • Ben, I’m so glad you’re putting the workout to good use!

    Consistency (which is, unfortunately, easier said than done) with both your diet and exercise is the secret to realizing your health and fitness goals and maintenance – although everyone wants to believe there is a secret pill or magic formula.

    Not every workout can be a banner workout and doing either of these will help maintain that consistency and ultimately the momentum which is so powerful.

  • Just a couple quick hits. Crunches are not a good exercise for the back, check out for reasons why.

    In addition, the current research on planks is that they should not be held over a minute due to ischemia risks and the fact they can be tough on some people’s shoulders. They are also boring. Cutting up the 2 minute set into smaller chunks or making the plank more difficult by raising the legs is preferable.

    Finally, there is a product that is getting a lot of positive attention in the strength and conditioning world called the TRX This is a much more robust tool than the tubing, as it allows you to use your own body weight as resistance. Perfect for traveling and can also be a mainstay in a home gym. I am a fan of tubing for some uses, but I would never choose it over body weight movements for strength purposes.

    Love the blog.

  • Chris,

    The crunches link is very controversial. I work closely with top doctors in the field who would argue differently.

    The same arguments could be made for hyperextensions. If you’re doing crunches the correct way, crunches will strengthen your back without a doubt.

    Like every exercise though, it’s all about form.

    It’s not about how much weight you lift or how long you can hold a position for, it’s about how you lift or how you hold the position.

    Only once you’re form is perfect should you begin to focus on increasing weight/time.

    Same for the plank. If your form is incorrect you risk injury but if it’s excellent – the benefits are huge.

    Squats, considered a classic power movement, can do major damage to your knees and lower back if you’re not careful either. Even bicep curls can do back damage, if you don’t know what you’re doing.

    When in doubt go lighter and slower.

    And, if you’re not feeling the tension in the muscle you meant to be working, you’re either doing the exercise wrong or using too much weight.

    Finally, this is just one example of a workout. So many different variations you can do with circuits too.

  • My favorite way of fitting in a cardio workout when I’m at a hotel without an exercise room is running the stairs. No need to worry about outside weather!

  • Great post. I was just recently looking for some new workout ideas to use while traveling.

    In the past I’ve done squats, pushups, jumping jacks and some stretching.

    A couple others to consider adding are burpees and lunges.

  • LOVE the workout – can’t even blame the cold weather now for not exerting some energy. Thanks Adam! I checked out mybodytutor – it really looks like exactly what I’m looking for to reach my fitness goals.

  • Ben, thanks for sharing this workout. I’ve noticed more and more that hotels are now charging guests to use their exercise rooms. As someone who embraces the frugal lifestyle (especially while traveling), your in-room workout is right up my cheapskate alley.

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