On my last day in New Zealand, I wanted to get moving in the morning before flying for almost a whole day, and also to enjoy the beautiful scenery one last time! I ran about a mile or so, and then stopped on a set of stairs to do a little barre-inspired workout with my stretchy band. I also went on these swings by the water, because I love swings (the best playground equipment in my opinion) and it’s a great way to enjoy sunshine and the views! Here are some videos of quick workouts you can do while traveling - including one with the swings haha!
A stretchy band is a great thing to bring on a trip, because it takes up virtually no space, but can intensify a workout. You can use them to workout anywhere, without the need for a gym or equipment! Stretchy bands are quite inexpensive and you can find them on Amazon. These are the bands I have. They are on sale right now for $2.15 each, and is normally $3 - I have a green (medium) and blue (heavy). I usually use the blue band. You can find more band options and sets and get more intense versions on Amazon if you are looking for more resistance. I got these during my barre teacher training so I have always used this kind and I really like them!
I think it is good to have at least two resistance options so you can modify the resistance depending on how you’re feeling or the intensity of the exercise you are doing. If you start with a higher level of resistance and you start to feel like you can’t keep going, try switching to a lighter band before completely stopping, and see if you can continue the movement while keeping up your good form! Don’t sacrifice quality form just to use a higher resistance, because you won’t get much out of it and could injure yourself.
You can definitely do these moves without a stretchy band however. I videotaped my stretchy band workout by propping my phone up on stairs, so occasionally part of my body is cut off, but hopefully you can still tell what I’m doing! The whole workout was only about 20 minutes, so it’s definitely do-able to fit in quickly. I did 8, 16, or occasionally 32, of each move, and repeated each set on both sides if applicable. I provide some comments and details about alignment and form for these underneath the videos to help you out!
For all moves with the band around your legs, you want to place it a few inches above the knees. Avoid placing it on your knees, or you can injure yourself.
(Ignore the people walking through in this video haha)
Keep your spine long and straight, with your shoulders stacked over your hips and over your feet - when it gets tough, it is easy and common to lose this alignment and lean forward, sticking your butt out! Raise your heels high as if you were wearing the highest pair of heels.
Try your best to avoid fully straightening your legs, so that you are working from a challenging depth the whole time. When you are pressing out on the band, try to drop down a few inches and hold the bend low.
Legs and Glutes:
Start with your feet turned out slightly and lift the outside leg with your knee facing the sky (or ceiling if you are indoors), trying to keep your leg as straight as possible. For the next set, rotate your leg inward so that your knee faces front.
In the glute section, keep your core engaged and avoid arching your back. Try to keep your back leg as straight as you can, and have a soft bend in the standing leg for support. Lift up and hold your leg up close to hip height, and start with small lifts of the leg, then do circles in one direction and then the other.
For this movement, you will need something stable to pull off of. Bring your feet in close so that when you sit back (as if you were in a low chair), your shins are perpendicular to the floor and keep your knees stacked over your ankles. Sink your seat low so that it is in line with your knees, and keep your back straight and shoulders down. You may need to walk your feet in closer or shift around a bit until you find this position.
Once there, lift and lower your seat a few inches, then press out on the band, then raise and lower your heels. For a big challenge, shift the weight into one foot and then lift the other knee up, gently tap the floor, and repeat. When raising and lowering the heels and leg, try to keep your legs and seat in the same low and aligned position as before - this is very challenging!
Legs and Cardio:
Try to keep your legs bent as low as you can in the side steps to really activate your quads. For a low impact modification, continue with the steps or add full squats instead of adding jumps.
Calves and Glute Medius:
It is important to stretch your calves after the calf raises!
For the side glute work, keep your lifted knee slightly behind your hip and lifted to hip height, keeping your foot in line with your knee - imagine that your leg makes a table, so it has to be as flat as possible. You can have a soft bend in the standing knee for support if needed. Try to avoid leaning away from the working side, and keep your upper body lifted. This also engages your oblique abdominal muscles on the working side.
First, alternate stepping or lifting a leg to the side, then take the lift upward. It is common for hips to creep upward into almost a downward dog, so pay attention to your core engagement and plank alignment to avoid this.
For the side plank, lifting the top leg adds an extra balance challenge and intensity, especially with the band. To modify the side plank, you can bend the bottom knee and place it on the ground like a kickstand for support while lifting the hips up and down a few inches.
*If you are on top of stairs like me, check to make sure you are stable before doing this! I almost slipped off oops!
Focus on using your triceps to lift your body; I often see people lifting their hips and not engaging their triceps, so this is a common misunderstanding of this move!
The straighter your legs are, the more work this is for your triceps - for a big challenge, try doing these with the legs extended straight out in front of you like I do at the end! If you have weights, you can also set a weight flat on your lap.
Pay attention to your shoulders and keep them down and back; it is easy for them to creep up toward your ears, especially when the muscles get tired. Keep a press out on the band the whole time for more engagement.
Shoulders and Triceps:
Again, keep your shoulders down and in good posture! For the press back with triceps, you may want to walk a bit forward so that your arm presses behind you.
Core and Cardio:
Core on Swings:
Position yourself in your best plank alignment, with shoulders stacked over wrists on the swing, and your body in one long line from head to toe. Engage your core, and slowly press the swing out in front of you, then return it to beneath your shoulders. Keep the plank alignment and only press the swing forward as far as you can hold it - any farther, and you might fall on your face!
That’s all from me today! I hope this is a helpful workout to have when you are busy or traveling. Enjoy your trip and do some fun sightseeing for me!