Hotel Power Half Hour Round Two :: Travel Barre Workout

Earlier this week I was traveling for business to Amsterdam for our company 2018 kickoff meeting.  Thankfully it was a short trip, everything went smoothly, AND I had time for some quick hotel room barre!  Exercise is vitally important to me and my sanity so I try to make it happen even when I am away.  Although a travel barre session it is rarely the best workout of my week, I am a firm believer in the fact that the habit of keeping a habit is more important than even the habit itself and even a quick workout helps to set me up for a successful day!

This is the second in the “hotel power half hour” travel barre workout series and it includes all single leg exercises, targeting your thighs and seat with some full body planks and pushups to finish.  Awhile back I shared another hotel travel barre workout and have posted a few others which require minimal equipment or space and are on-the-go friendly in case you are looking for more or alternative barre inspired exercises when you are away from the studio or gym. As you will notice, I try to make all the workouts I share easy to do/remember even on your own, because they uses only the same few movements/changes for each different position repeated over and over.

First a couple of terms: 

  • Tuck:  Pull your abs in and up, reaching crown of the head to the ceiling and tailbone down to floor – this engages your core and protects your low back.  For more details and pictures, check out this post to perfect your posture.
  • Pulse:  Tiny movement down to target the specific muscle group, try to stay in isometric contraction and minimize lifting or big movements.

Next a couple of tips: 

  • This is a quick workout that will take approximately 30 minutes from warm up to cool down stretching.  If you want to make it shorter, pick and choose the sections accordingly.
  • Keep things simple!  This is a repeat workout which doesn’t overcomplicate things.  You will do the same movements/reps in each position so you don’t have to think so much about what comes next.
  • Each set consists of 5 changes and you should shoot for about 30 seconds for each change.  To make it easier than counting or thinking about the time, you can use an interval stopwatch timer on your phone or watch.  I like the app “Seconds”
  • Challenge yourself to sink a little lower, lift your heels or leg higher and work in your most challenging position.   You are working in isometric contraction, so the range of movement is small and you might (SHOULD) start to feel your muscles shake as they fatigue.
  • Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  Getting some exercise is better than none and will make a positive impact on your day!

The Warm Up:

30 Seconds.  Start with your feet hip distance apart and parallel with your arms extended forward and draw the knees to your chest, pull your abdominals in and back and lifting the crown of your head up to the ceiling to lengthen your spine.

30 Seconds.  Continue lifting the knees, but reach the arms up overhead and add a pulldown to your sides, leading with your elbows.  Reach all the way up to the ceiling, keeping your shoulders low and then pull down strongly, squeezing your upper back and shoulder blades together behind you.

Travel Barre Workout

The Workout: 

As promised, this is an easy one to do on your own because it is the same five different changes for 30 seconds each every time, you only change your body positioning.  For each position outlined, do the following:

  • 30 Seconds.  Lift one leg up slowly for two counts (high as possible) and lower back down (to the floor) for two counts.  You want the movement to be fluid and controlled without any starting, stopping, or flinging.  Your goal is to challenge yourself in terms of range of movement WITHOUT allowing the rest of your body to shift or change shape.
  • 30 Seconds.  Cut that movement in half – holding the leg the highest position you can while maintaining a neutral pelvis and spine – your tucked position and then lower the leg down just one inch and then up just one inch.  Keep it small and controlled.
  • 30 Seconds. Hold your leg at the highest position you can while maintaining a neutral pelvis and spine – your tucked position and then pulse the leg up and up.  Try not to let it fall or lower down as you fatigue.
  • 30 Seconds.  Static hold with the lifted leg – take a deeper bend in the standing leg, to pulse down one inch and up one inch.  Both legs will be working hard at this stage; try to keep the one lifted at its original height and keep your standing heel high as possible as you lower and lift with control.
  • 30 Seconds.  Hold your lifted leg high and pulse down with the standing leg.  Make it a sharp and concise downward movement, eliminating any bouncing.

Thighs:

Set One Extension in Parallel – Tops of Thighs:  Stand with your feet hip distance apart with your back to a wall, countertop, window sill or other sturdy surface.  You want to use this support just for balance rather than sinking or pressing down or in too much.  Rise to your toes and then take a bend in your knees, keeping the heels lifted.  Then lift one leg up to hip height or as high as you can without changing the shape in your body.  Keep this leg STICK straight the whole time, pushing energy from the top of the thigh all the way out through your big toe.  Shoulder are relaxed down and abdominals pull in so your hips are neutral.  Think of the top of your head reaching to the ceiling and tailbone dragging you down to the floor.  Once done on one side, repeat on the other.

Travel Barre Workout

For a more challenging option – you can use only one hand on your support to test your balance – raise the arm opposite of your standing leg up to the ceiling. Travel Barre Workout Travel Barre Workout

Set Two in First Position – Inner/Outer Thighs:  Face your support or wall and stand with your heels together and toes apart in a narrow V, rising high onto the ball of your feet and turning out from the hip, rather than you foot and ankle.  You will lift one foot up and tap it just to the standing ankle to start and then lift it up and out to the side as you move.  Keep a soft bend in the knees and your standing heel lifted high.  Shoulder are relaxed down and abdominals pull in so your hips are neutral.  Think of the top of your head reaching to the ceiling and tailbone dragging you down to the floor.  Once done on one side, repeat on the other.

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Set Three in Parallel – Top of Thighs:  Turn to stand parallel to you support with your feet hip distance apart and parallel, take a soft bend in the knees with heels high and then lift one leg up to hip height, bending the knee to a 90 degree angle right out in front of you.  Hold the leg high the whole time by lifting up from the top of your quadriceps.  Shoulder are relaxed down and abdominals pull in so your hips are neutral.  Think of the top of your head reaching to the ceiling and tailbone dragging you down to the floor.  Once done on one side, repeat on the other.

Travel Barre Workout

Seat:

Set One – Outside Seat and Hip Area:  Stand parallel to your support with your heels together and toes apart in a narrow V.  Take a soft bend in your knees and then bend and lift your outside leg to the back diagonal/towards the center of the room.  You still want to use the support just for balance rather than sinking or pressing down or in too much.  Rise to your toes and then take a bend in your knees, keeping the standing heel lifted high.  Shoulder are relaxed down and abdominals pull in so your hips are neutral.  Think of the top of your head reaching to the ceiling and tailbone dragging you down to the floor.  Once done on one side, spin around and repeat on the other side.

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Set Two – Base of Seat and Back of Thigh:  Turn again to face your support and fold your forearms one on top of the other, resting them on your support and then your forehead on top of them.  Walk your feet, hip distance apart and parallel back behind you so your body is folded over flat and then push your seat bones back and wide so your hips are over your heels.  You want to draw your abdominals in tightly the whole time, keeping your back flat and hips level, both hip bones and your lifted knee should be shining down to the floor.  Your neck is long and in line with your spine.   Keep your weight centered and be mindful not to arch your back as you move through the changes.    Once done on one side, spin around and repeat on the other side.

Travel Barre Workout

Planks/Pushups:

Forearm Plank – 90 Seconds (just let the timer go off three times). Take your elbows directly under your shoulders and your hands to a number 11 position pressing away from the floor and then extend your legs long behind you coming onto your toes (if this is too much, you can make it more manageable by coming down to your knees).  You want to make sure that your back is flat and there is a long line from the top of your head all the way through to your feet.  Pull your abdominals and core tight to eliminate any arch or gripping in your low back.  Keep your hips low.  Start by lifting one leg up, keeping it straight with toes pointed and pulse it up from the inside corner/base of your seat for 30 seconds.  Then switch legs, resetting your positioning as necessary and repeat the same on the second side for 30 seconds.  Finally, with both feet down, reset yourself for a static hold for the last 30 seconds.

Travel Barre Workout

Full Arm Plank – 90 Seconds (just let the timer go off three times). Then press up to your full arm plank.  Take your hands about shoulder width apart with a soft bend in your elbow.  Stay on your toes and with your feet out back behind you so your body is on a long diagonal position from the top of your head down to your heels.  Pull your abdominals and core tight to hold the position without gripping in your low back and keep your hips low.  Start by lifting one leg up, keeping it straight with toes pointed and lift it up for two and lower down for two from the inside corner/base of your seat for 30 seconds.  Then switch legs, resetting your positioning as necessary and repeat the same on the second side for 30 seconds.  Finally, with both feet down, reset yourself for a static hold for the last 30 seconds.

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Pushups x10 Take your hands back to about shoulder width apart and then come onto your toes and walk your feet out back behind you until your body is on a long diagonal position from the top of your head down to your heels.  Pull your core tight to hold that position as you lower and lift yourself by bending your arms, keep your collarbones open wide, shoulders back and down and you take your entire body down with you as you move rather than leaving your hips and thighs too high.

Travel Barre Workout

Triceps Pushups x10 Come down to your knees and pull your feet close as possible to your seat.  Take your hands directly under your shoulders, and elbows tight to your sides and pull your feet in as close as possible to your seat.  Shift your weight forward so your body is on a long diagonal position from the top of your head down to your heels.  Pull your core tight to hold that position as you lower and lift yourself by bending your arms, keep your collarbones open wide, shoulders back and down and you take your entire body down with you as you move rather than leaving your hips and thighs too high.  Your elbows should scrap your ribcage on the way down and the way back up to the starting position.

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Cool Down:  Make sure you stretch everything well – arms, legs, and core!

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