I usually go to the gym three or four times a week and follow a CrossFit program that focuses on functional strength and fitness. However, I’m traveling at the moment so getting to the gym to keep up with my usual fitness routine is a struggle.
When I do have a chance to work out, I need to make my sessions count. Instead of splitting my sessions to focus on one or two specific lifts, it makes more sense to incorporate a range of moves that target a variety of muscles.
Fortunately, the friend I’m traveling with, Pippa Sealey, is a NASM-qualified personal trainer based at Luxe Fitness in Bristol. Below is the workout she put together for us. It took 45 minutes, but it seriously challenged my strength and left me with DOMs for days.
“This workout is designed for people who have experience with resistance training and weightlifting, as there are advanced movements here,” says Sealey. “You’ll hit a lot of muscle groups, starting with compound exercises and moving onto some accessory moves that target the upper body and engage the core.”
The workout is made up of five exercises and you will need a barbell, a dumbbell and a suspension trainer or pair of gymnastics rings.
As I’m not currently lifting as regularly, I chose weights around 60-70% of my max effort.
This session put my strength to the test as I struggled to finish the last few reps on each lift. This pushed my heart rate up, proving I was working hard.
It’s a routine I plan to repeat regularly while traveling. My aim is to maintain or increase the weight each week to ensure I don’t lose muscle mass while away from my usual gym routine.
Sets 5 Reps 5
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your shins in contact with the barbell. Push your hips back and bend your knees to take hold of the bar with your hands just outside your legs. Lift the bar by driving your hips forward and extending your knees. Lower the bar under control. Keep a flat back and the bar close to you throughout.
“Keep your core tight and your spine as neutral as possible. Try to squeeze your lats before you lift,” says Sealey.
Sets 4 Reps 6
Hold the bar in front of your collarbone with your palms underneath the bar and elbows pointing forward. Stand with your feet around hip-width apart, and sit your hips back to lower into the squat, maintaining a neutral spine, your chest facing forward and your elbows up. Drive through your midfoot to return to standing.
“Keep your elbows high in the front rack position. Brace your core before lowering into the squat and keep tension in your torso throughout,” says Sealey.
Sets 3 Reps 6-8
Hold a pull-up bar with your hands just wider than shoulder-width apart using an overhand grip, palms facing forward. Start in a dead hang, with your arms fully extended. Use your lats to pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar. Lower under control.
If you’re still developing the strength to do this many pull-ups, Sealey recommends using a resistance band for a band-assisted pull-up.
4A Ring row
Set 4 Reps 8-10
Set the handles of a suspension trainer or gym rings at hip height and hold them with your palms facing down. Lean back and walk your feet forward until your body is at 45°, your arms are extended and your heels are on the floor. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your armpits toward the rings, keeping your elbows close to your sides and rotating your wrists so they face. Return to the start under control.
“Keep your chest broad and your shoulders retracted so that you can squeeze your shoulder blades at the top,” says Sealy.
4B Z press
Sets 4 Reps 8 each side
Sit on the floor with your legs extended and your torso upright, holding a dumbbell by one shoulder. Aim to keep your hamstrings flat on the floor so your lower back remains braced. Press the dumbbell overhead, then lower under control. Perform all your reps on one side then switch sides.
“Keep your torso upright so that you’re using as much core stability as possible,” says Sealy.
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Alice Porter is a journalist who covers health, fitness and wellbeing, among other topics, for titles including Stylist, Fit & Well, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, VICE and Refinery29. When she’s not writing about these topics, you can probably find her at her local CrossFit box.