Travel-friendly workout routines to GAIN MUSCLE
August 7, 2018 10:09 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to be traveling a lot and won't have regular access to exercise equipment. I want to gain muscle. What are some apps, YouTube videos, video series, etc. you've enjoyed? (Constraints below)

My primary goal is to gain muscle, not lose weight. I have the losing weight and aerobic part under control. I won't always have access to a weight set or gym and won't have room to pack those water weight things.

I'm looking for links to apps and videos for exercises that will help me gain muscle. When I start searching, I find a lot of scammy videos and sales pitches. There are some good yoga apps that you can pay a subscription fee for that are simple and helpful, but I'm looking for workouts that specifically focus on gaining muscle.

- Can you recommend a video series or app you've actually liked and used? (I'm happy to pay for access to a line of videos that are reliably good. They will need to be streaming videos. Maybe on Amazon? YouTube?)

- Non-cheesy, non-yelling, non-sales-y, non-weird-comments preferred. Just people doing bodyweight exercises that I can do on the road.

- Bonus: If there's some kind of progression where you follow a program for a set of days and each workout is harder than the last, I'd prefer that.

Thank you!
posted by 3491again to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

All the standard recommendations apply. Reddit has their bodyweight subreddit with it's own in house program. Coach Somer's Gymnastic Bodies is sort of the standard. They have a new premium model which gives you unlimited access to their various programs.

The big issue with hotel workouts is organizing some kind of pulling motion. Easy enough to do push ups and and handstand push ups etc, but how do you incorporate vertical and horizontal pulls?

Similarly, it's easy enough to identify some sort of quad dominant leg movement. Air squats, pistols, air lunges, you'll find something challenging for those knee dominant movements. What about posterior chain dominant work? Hard to get much in the way off glute/hamstring work outside of glute bridge variations.

I think it's worth investing in a few resistance bands and following a program like myo-reps for busy people. That way, in addition to bodyweight, you can get some pulls and hip extension work.
posted by Telf at 11:07 PM on August 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

I love the Sworkit app. It has bodyweight-only exercises organised into loads of different workouts, and they have 6-week workout plans too. There's a 'Strength' option which sounds exactly like what you're looking for.
posted by atlantica at 11:25 PM on August 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Aside from Telf's advice above, I'm all about the Nike Training Club app. Free, no yelling, bodyweight-specific program if you want. I also like Darebee and Fitness Blender videos generally.
posted by thebots at 11:26 PM on August 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

I assume you've ruled out TRX for bodyweight exercises? It's somewhat like rings exercises but designed to work off of a portable set of straps closed in your hotel room door . Mine are a touch heavier than I'd prefer to carry around but they're more or less for people in your situation.
posted by twoplussix at 11:27 PM on August 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

A key word you might try searching for is "Isometrics" or "isometric training" (basically, working your muscles against each other)...and it doesn't require any equipment.
posted by sexyrobot at 2:12 AM on August 8, 2018

I've been working my way through these exercises--basically pushups, triceps dips, squats, and lunges plus I've replaced the situps with 3 sets of basic planks that I add a few seconds to each time. I've been modifying as I go (there's too much of a jump in some of the progressions for me). I'm not sure what I'll do after this, I have a few ideas, but this is going to keep me busy for probably at least twice as long as the 6 weeks predicted (since I just do it twice a week, and with a much slower build up).
posted by tiger tiger at 2:54 AM on August 8, 2018

Check out Mark Lauren's bodyweight programs! Dude was a military trainer. You're not going to get insanely jacked doing bodyweight but you will definitely build muscle. I bought the YAYOG book and got the app as well.

The app is fantastic, it allows you to build your own program or follow one of his progressively difficult programs, and the demo videos are almost totally silent. He's very chill, no yelling at all. You get options of different workout styles depending on your goals.

The programs are marketed as "fat burning" and there is a touch of cheesiness in intros because marketing, but you will definitely build muscle and strength. I 100% recommend his stuff. Some of the exercises need you to be creative with using furniture or whatever is around to make the movements possible but they're very travel friendly.
posted by windykites at 5:23 AM on August 8, 2018

+1 Darebee for a seemingly endless array of exercise routines, the vast majority of which do not involve any equipment. So much variety, and fun “themes”. You’ll never get bored.

They’re also printer friendly, if you want to print a few for each trip rather than always pulling up on your phone.
posted by nightrecordings at 8:15 AM on August 8, 2018

I know you don't have room for water weights, but is there some reason you can't pack resistance bands? They're literally just big rubber bands, but they offer similar resistance to weights.

Other than that, bodyweight. Al Kavadlo and GMB are two sources I've used in the past.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:09 AM on August 8, 2018

Eat a moderate caloric excess (certainly don't run a deficit) with a high amount of protein, or you won't gain anything easily.
posted by lalochezia at 10:45 AM on August 8, 2018

Calisthenic Movement and the Powerstrike series are both great; Calisthenic Movement has more bodyweight work which doesn’t require equipment and is more adaptable to varied spaces.
posted by myotahapea at 11:09 AM on August 8, 2018

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