Hotel-room workouts are tricky -- you don't have much space to work with, and chances are you're surrounded by your fellow travelers' rooms on every side. Too much jumping or banging around, while completely your prerogative, certainly won't make you a contender for "Most Likeable Guest."
Instead of annoying everyone around you by throwing around weights or running in place for half an hour, try this 15-minute bodyweight workout. It'll hit every major muscle group without annoying your neighbors. At least, not excessively.
The workout couldn't be more straightforward. Perform each exercise for a minute before proceeding to the next exercise. When performing unilateral movements (exercises that focus on one side of the body), switch sides after 30 seconds so you hit both sides equally. Complete the five-exercise circuit three times for a total of 15 minutes. A sharp eye will perceive that these photos are not, in fact, in a hotel room, but if you really stretch your imagination to its limits, you can see that they could be performed in close quarters.
Bear squats are unique in that they offer a combination of cardio, strength, and power without requiring you to jump or run in place. Don't expect them to be easy, though. You'll hold a core-engaging plank for the duration of the exercise while going through the motions of a squat jump... without actually jumping.
Start in a high plank, your palms under your shoulders and your legs fully extended, your body forming a straight line from heels to head. Continuing to support yourself on your palms and the balls of your feet, bend your knees and press your hips back, extending your arms over your head, almost as if moving into a child's pose. The trick here is to keep your knees off the ground the entire time, so it's more like you're moving from a plank into a squat position.
Just before your knees touch down, press powerfully through the balls of your feet, "springing" back into the plank position as you extend your knees and hips, "catching" yourself with your upper body as your shoulders extend just slightly past your palms.
Immediately bend your knees and press your hips back again to continue the exercise.
Air squat to reverse lunge
The combination of squats and lunges will target all the major muscle groups of your lower body while also improving your balance as you transition between the unilateral and bilateral exercises.
Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and weight centered in your heels. Keeping your chest up and core engaged, press your hips back and bend your knees, lowering your glutes toward the ground in a standard air squat. When your knees are bent at or just below 90 degrees, reverse the movement, pressing through your heels to return to standing.
Once you're standing, shift your weight to your right side, pick up your left foot, and step it backward about 2 to 3ft, planting the ball of your left foot on the ground. With your torso upright, bend both knees, lowering your back knee toward the ground. Before it touches, press through your right heel to return to standing, stepping your left foot back to its starting position.
Continue the exercise by alternating between squats and lunges, switching between your right and left legs on every lunge.
Push-ups with shoulder taps
To target your core, shoulders, chest, and triceps, you can't go wrong with this push-up variation. You can perform the exercise on your knees or your toes, depending on your personal upper-body strength.
Start in a high push-up position, palms under your shoulders, body forming a straight line from heels to head (or knees to head if you're doing modified push-ups). Bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the ground, stopping about 2 to 3in before you touch down. Press through your palms and return to the starting position. Once there, shift your weight to your left side and pick your right hand up off the ground to reach across and touch your left shoulder. Replace your right hand on the ground and shift to the right, this time tapping your right shoulder with your left hand.
Once you've tapped both shoulders, continue the exercise by performing another push-up.
Bulgarian split squats
This challenging unilateral lower-body exercise requires balance, coordination, power, and strength.
Stand about 2ft in front of a sturdy hotel-room chair, facing away, or if there's not a chair available, go ahead and use the bed. Shift your weight to your right and lift your left foot behind you, placing the top of your left foot on the chair. Once you've gained your balance, with your weight centered in your right heel, bend both knees and lower yourself into a single-leg squat as you reach your hands toward the ground on either side of your right leg.
From this low-squat position, press powerfully through your right heel, extending your right knee completely as you return to standing, continuing the motion to rise up onto the ball of your right foot as if you were about to hop into the air.
Immediately lower yourself into another split squat and continue. Switch legs after 30 seconds.
The bear squats and push-ups have already fired up the "six-pack muscles" of the rectus abdominis, as well as the deep, stabilizing muscles of the transverse abdominis. Now it's time to put your obliques to work.
Start on your left side, your legs stacked on top of each other. Place your left palm directly under your left shoulder, extending your elbow. Straighten your legs, keeping them stacked, so the outside of your left foot is pressed into the ground. When you're ready, use the core muscles of your abdomen, hips, and shoulders to lift your hips from the ground until your body forms a straight line from the center of your forehead, down the midline of your body, directly between your feet. Hold the position for 30 seconds before switching sides.
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