Hotel Room Workouts with Resistance Bands - Total Body
Don’t want to spend on hotels with gyms and have a space in your luggage for a resistance band? This is our total body guide on the best hotel room workout with resistance bands.
Hotel Resistance Band Workout TLDR
You’re on vacation. You want to relax and enjoy yourself, but you don’t want to let your fitness routine go to pot. You also don’t have a lot of space in your bag for a lot of equipment. What do you do?
Enter the resistance band workout. This total body workout can be done in any small space, with minimal equipment, and it will hit all the major muscle groups. You can do this workout 2-3 times per week to maintain your conditioning, or even add it in as a supplement to your regular routine while you’re on vacation.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!
How Credible Is This?
All of our articles are written as broad outlines on what has worked for us over decades of training. We verify our claims with sourced articles and follow a PT editorial policy. This means our qualified PT editor checks the images and language used for efficacy. Our content is meant to inspire but not replace personalised professional advice.
Is This Only For Beginners?
Resistance bands don’t have to only come in light tension, but you can in fact buy a variety of band types, that can make even the strongest trainer think twice. This means our hotel room workout with resistance bands is truly a one size fits all approach.
A great band brand is CORENGTH from Decathalon. They have a range of kg levels in their category and very affordable.
– Decathalon Resistance Bands
What's Needed For This Workout
All you need is a band or two, and you’re good to go. But there are a few things to keep in mind before you get started. For one, make sure you’re wearing comfortable clothing that’s not too loose or baggy. You don’t want the band getting caught on anything.
Also, be aware that air conditioning can make it tough to work up a sweat, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to be hydrated. So, always drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout.
How to do this hotel room resistance band workout
We have designed this workout to be completed in approximately 30 minutes. The emphasis is on intensity and working up a sweat while also leaving your muscles feeling fatigued. This fatigue, along with diet and rest can lead to hypertrophy. Hypertrophy is the act of enhancing muscle condition, so your physique improves and you burn more calories at standstill. That’s the perfect place to be.
Aim to spend 45 seconds on each exercise, before moving to the next exercise straight after. At the end of one complete circuit, rest for 2-3 minutes.
Why seconds and not reps? Seconds can be set on a timer and you don’t need to count reps then. 45 seconds is similar to 12-20 reps.
Aim for 3 complete circuits.
How to warm up for your hotel room band workout
When you’re working out in a hotel room, you don’t have the luxury of a spacious gym with all the bells and whistles. So before you get started on your total body workout, it’s important to do a warm-up. This will help loosen up your muscles and get your body ready for the workout.
A good warm-up should include some dynamic stretching rather than static stretching. Dynamic stretching involves controlled, rhythmic movements that warm up the muscles and increase blood flow. Static stretching is where you hold a stretch for a certain amount of time, and is not as beneficial for warming up the muscles.
The warm-up below is designed to target all the major muscle groups in your body. It should take about 10 minutes to complete.
1/8 - The Banded Deadlift
The deadlift, or ‘hip hinge’ movement is a fundamental component of any resistance regimen as it replicates a plane that humans move through naturally. The deadlift is a compound movement that fires the hamstrings, bum (glutes) and quads, as well as lower back. Stiffening the legs and raising your toes hits the hamstrings more.
Go wide – sumo style, and you’ll work your bum and quads more.
- Lower Back
How to do the deadlift
The simplest method is to lay the band on the floor, stand with both feet on one part of the band and grab with each hand one end of the band.
Tense your bum, chin up, and drive your hips forward. Tense your glutes at the top, and then return to the lower position.
You can stand across two parts of the band and make little handles at either end, similar to the image above to increase resistance. Or you can bring your hands lower down the bands to increase tension further. For stronger lifters, use the thicker (higher kg) bands.
2/8 - The Banded Squat
Alongside the deadlift, no total body workout can function without a squat (in our opinion). There’s a couple of ways to do this. One involves wrapping the band around the knees and squatting down while keeping the knees apart. This is great for firing the outside of the things and glutes.
The second option, involves running it over the back (or holding onto handles) and squatting up and down. The stretch of the band as you rise makes the resistance harder.
- Quads (Primary)
- (Very Secondary) Hamstrings
How to do a squat
Feet shoulder width apart, or wider if more comfortable. Slightly point your toes out, and lower to at least parallel to the floor. If you can lower your bum beneath your knee line – even better.
Source: Deep Squat Science
A lunge variant sees you hold the band in both hands and under a foot. Then the rise from a lunge with a straight back and head up, stretches the band, increasing tension and resistance.
3/8 - Banded Row
If you have a well fixed towel rail in a hotel room, this is made very easy. Whack the band around the rail and hold one end in each hand. You can also use your feet and do a bent over variant. Build better posture and a more bullet proof upper back with rows.
- Rear delts
How to perform the bent over row
Feet shoulder width apart in either the bent over or standing upright (tower rail) variant. Straight back, chin up and pull your elbows back to meet themselves behind you….
WHAT!? Yes I imagine you are wondering what on earth that means. We don’t obviously mean make your elbows touch behind your back, but just try to imagine you are squeezing the middle of your back together by forcing them back. This helps flex the muscles in the middle of your upper back.
You may prefer to sit on your bum, and wrap the band around your feet, then pull toward yourself. Similar to a seated cable row in the gym, except this is a seated banded row, sat on the floor of a hotel room instead.
4/8 - Upright Row With Band
We want to overstimulate muscle groups if we are only doing this 2-3 times per week, this means for every back and shoulder exercise, we like to add a second movement that ensures that muscle group is nicely pasted.
The upright row works in the vertical plane and hits parts of the shoulders and upper back, as well as saying hello to the biceps too.
- Rear Delts
How to perform an upright row
Stand on one side of the band and with your hands, grab a corner each. Bring from your waist to your chin and slowly lower. Feel the upper back (traps) squeeze as you raise your hands to your chin.
IF you have a fixed post, towel rail or something around head height, you could opt for face-pulls. This is similar to a standing row, but pulls toward your face at head height. This hits a similar muscle group but with perhaps less shoulder impingement, an issue some find problematic.
5/8 - Banded Press-up
No total body workout is complete without a push up, or chest exercise. With modifications involving raising the feet, or hands, lowering the knees or moving your hands closer together, there are many ways to add a tough chest exercise to a hotel room workout with resistance bands.
- Front Delts
How to perform the bench press
Grab the band in each hand and run the band behind your back. Get yourself into a push up position that is right for you, then push up and lower.
Aim to keep your chest pushed out as you execute the exercised and pinch your shoulder blades together.
If you find the move tough, lower your knees to take some of the weight out, but aim to continue to lean onto your hands through your shoulders. Lock out after each repetition to get the benefit of the band tension.
You can increase the band resistance, you can also raise your feet to give the move more of an upper chest focus. Similar to an incline chest press.
6/8- Shoulder Press
The shoulder press pairs nicely with the banded push up in our hotel room workout with resistance bands. This continues to strengthen the front and medial delts, as well as bring the top of the chest into play. Your triceps (backs of the arms) will also get targeted here.
- Front Delts
How to perform the bench press
Either sit or stand on the band and raise your hands above your head to 99% lock, before lowering back down to chin level. This ensures a full range of motion.
Banded front raise. Stand on one side of the band and hold the band through both hands at shoulder width apart. Now raise your hands from your waist to your eye level, before lowering and repeating.
7/8- Shoulder Raise
A nice finishing move, this helps put the pump in your workout. Lateral raises help women with the aesthetics of an hourglass physique, while making men feel like they should rock that new muscle vest by the pool. A hotel room workout with resistance bands can still take care of important holiday details.
- Front Delts
- Medial Delts
How to perform the bench press
Hold one end of the band in each hand, and stand in the middle across it. From here, rise your hands to level with your shoulders, before lowering and repeating.
You can do this unilaterally. This means one side at a time. You may want to stand on the band with both feet and pick up only one side, or just stand on the band with one foot. You will want to use a thinner band due to the difficulty of the move compared to the power a squat, deadlift or chest press can exert.
8/8- Rear Flye
The final move here, before resting and repeating is the rear delt flye. This hits the back of the shoulders and secondarily hits the middle of the back too.
- Rear Delts
How to perform the banded rear flye
Hold the band in front of you with almost straight arms – then pull your hands out to the side of you in a horizontal plane. You can make it tougher by bringing your hands closer in together along the band, but 45 seconds of this means you may want to start a little easier on the first circuit to see how you get on.
Single arm variant.
Finishing Moves - Bells & Whistles
You might be thinking – but what about my arms? You can always finish up with a superset arm pump, that’s two exercises one after the other before resting.
// Bicep Curl for 40 seconds / 15 reps > Into > Tricep Extension 40 secs / 15 reps
When training arms with resistance bands, I like to run these supersets for 3 to 4 sets as a finishing move. I tend to start with a higher resistance band before dropping down to a lighter band if that’s the only way I can continue.
Why seconds? You may find it easier to set a timer than to count accurately when training hard, so I like to use timings instead for these high rep workouts.
How to do arm exercises with resistance bands?
For Biceps, stand with your feet on the band and pull the ends into your hand, curling your arms by your sides.
For Triceps, place the ends of the band in your hands and loop the band over a solid object, such as towel rail, well fitted coat peg, top of door and use similar to a tricep pulldown on a cable in a gym.
Outro // You're Band Mate
There you have it, a perfectly versatile total body hotel room workout with resistance bands, for all gym types. You can even pack it in your suitcase! For best results grab a couple of bands, one for compound moves and another for isolation exercises. The savings you’ll make by grabbing those and packing them compared to booking hotels with gyms or having to find one, as well as all the non-exercise anxiety we often suffer, will be one of the best fitness investments you can make.
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