collapsible travel weights?
April 18, 2005 1:44 PM   Subscribe

I'll be in a developing country this summer, and most likely wont have access to any sort of gym with weights. (i do a lot of cardio and lift too) I've looked into travel weights andI've looked around, but all I have been able to find so far are $50 Aquabells water-fillable weights, which have a max of 16 pounds each. How can I keep my strength up this summer, while not having ways to lift? I've always done cardio and lifting with machines, so i know I can work out without them, i'm just not entirely sure how. Thanks!
posted by jare2003 to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total)
Pack a skipping rope/jump rope and it will be your best friend for cardio, maybe a tennis or squash racquet too. Not so sure about the weights.
posted by dublinemma at 2:11 PM on April 18, 2005

I'm no fitness expert but I think the water weights were designed for businessmen to fill up in hotel rooms. In a developing country you will have access to much heavier stuff to fill bags with - sand. Just lifting the sandbags themselves, without the need for an attached bar should provide a good workout.
posted by vacapinta at 2:12 PM on April 18, 2005

You can always lift young livestock...
posted by Doohickie at 2:13 PM on April 18, 2005

You may find the exercise described here of interest to you.
posted by WCityMike at 2:36 PM on April 18, 2005

As WCityMike, mentioned, you can get a pretty good workout just lifting your own weight. Do various sorts of pushups, pullups, situps, dips, lunges. For dips, for example, you can take two chairs, put them so that their backs are facing each other, put something heavy on each chair, and then use the backs as handles. As you get stronger, you just do more repetitions, or, in the dips example, hold on to something heavy with your feet while doing the exercise.
posted by epimorph at 2:43 PM on April 18, 2005

I was in a developing country last year. I found that many communities have local gyms that are usually very, very cheap to join.

Now, if you're in a very, very undeveloped place, and you're not going to be moving around a lot (like backpacking), I recommend that you purchase large water containers with handles and use those as weights. If the handles are on the side and awkward, then run a small loop rope through a short length of PVC pipe. Ta-daaa: horizontal handles.

Also, remember that pull-ups and dips are also great exercises.

vacapinta's sandbag suggestion is great, too.
posted by redteam at 2:46 PM on April 18, 2005

Anyone know of any good improviesed back or leg exercises that can be done without gym machines?
posted by redteam at 2:48 PM on April 18, 2005

I use a resistance theraband and just use that for curls, etc. You hold the ends in your hand & step on the band in the middle and that provides tension - you can get them in different resistances and/or vary that by changing the length. Cheap and very lightweight.
posted by judith at 2:51 PM on April 18, 2005

...or you could volunteer to walk a mile to get water for the villiage.

I suspect that in a "developing country" (isn't this a pc euphomism for "third-world" or more to the point, "poor"?), you'll find enough labor to keep you in shape, and a lack of technology to keep you from being lazy. Then again, the closest I've been is a week in the woods with nothing more than I could carry in.

Seriously consider making what you need. Maybe bring a couple of tight-weave burlap sacks. Fill with whatever dirt or rocks you can find and find a branch or something similar to attach to it. You can also substitue weight with reps, at least while you are there.
posted by kc0dxh at 2:54 PM on April 18, 2005

if it's sufficiently under-developed to not have a gym, and you're a westerner, you can get the local people to make you weights for a nominal price.
posted by andrew cooke at 3:45 PM on April 18, 2005

Take chin bar that fits in a door frame. Also, do pushups.
posted by wsg at 5:03 PM on April 18, 2005

Where are you going to be?

Maybe someone who has spent time there can help you get an idea of what is availble (gyms, universities with facilities, small heavy objects or animals that may be available).
posted by scazza at 5:32 PM on April 18, 2005

When I lived in the Marshall Islands the local kids would make weights out of cement poured into large coffee cans.
posted by craniac at 7:08 PM on April 18, 2005

I brought an inflatable exercise ball to Africa (Ghana). Ironically, I mostly just did push-ups and sit-ups while I was there. I would recommend *not* bringing weights. I didn't do that much traveling, but I found that even so I wanted my luggage to be as light as possible. There will be lots of things to improvise with, even if you end up with just a couple of 2 litre bottles of water.

With weights that are not very heavy, you can do endurance techniques to keep up your strength. Do reps very slowly with more sets. Or do stuff like hold a jug of water in each hand with your arms outstretched for as long as you can.

(and in answer to someone else's question, saying "developing nation" is not a PC way of saying "third-world." There is no truly PC term for "poor country," although I think that the closest progressive political term is now "the global South." "Developing," of course, implies that "developed" is an achievable and desirable goal... something which is debated in the international community. In most cases, this one included, the most PC and most useful strategy is to actually name the country.)
posted by carmen at 7:22 PM on April 18, 2005

An interesting weightless workout - "5 months without weights"
posted by Wong Fei-hung at 7:36 PM on April 18, 2005

The Naked Warrior by Pavel Tsatsouline is a book of body weight only exercises for strength training. A lot of it is general strength technique, focusing on the single-hand push up and one-legged squat.
posted by blueyellow at 8:32 PM on April 18, 2005

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