WODs to Go

Leaving home and the friendly confines of your local affiliate? Keep your training on track with these bodyweight-only programs.
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Leaving home and the friendly confines of your local affiliate? Keep your training on track with these bodyweight-only programs.

 Few things set back a training program like leaving home for a vacation or business trip. When travel is on the horizon, many people justify the workouts missed as a “much-needed break from the gym to help me recover.” Maybe that’s true. If you’ve been training hard at your local box five to six days a week, a long weekend off could be good for you. But when that “few days off” ends up being a week hiatus or occurs on a monthly basis, the result isn’t feeling rejuvenated or recharging your batteries but rather getting out of shape and deconditioned.

So when your next trip is approaching, don’t view it as a welcome rest period that you probably don’t need. Use it as a time to, at the very least, maintain your current fitness level until you return to your local box. In most cities and towns, you can find a CrossFit affiliate within driving distance, but if you’re without transportation or would rather not pay the box’s drop-in fee, you’re on your own with minimal (if any) equipment. If you’re motivated and resourceful, this shouldn’t be a problem.

“When it comes to traveling, CrossFit is probably the most friendly fitness system around,” says Josh Elmore, owner and director of Training at CrossFit Eternal in Charlotte, N.C. “Because the collection of go-to movements CrossFit draws from is so extensive, you can pretty much expect to never get bored training on the road, even with no equipment.”

Countless websites list WODs that are travel-friendly and require zero equipment. But here, we’ve taken such workouts and programmed them specifically to accommodate the two most typical travel scenarios — the partial-week trip and the full-week vacation — to ensure you’re not just doing a few random WODs with no consideration as to how they complement one another. All the workouts can be done in any bedroom-size space using bodyweight only. No need for a barbell, plyo box, kettlebells … or excuses as to why you can’t train on the road.

Partial-Week (Three-WOD) Travel Program

Programming by: Josh Elmore

When to Use It:On a three-day midweek (i.e., Monday through Wednesday) trip or long weekend (Friday through Sunday). Keep in mind, workouts you’ve done before the trip — especially Monday-through-Thursday workouts before a Friday-to-Sunday trip — will affect programming. In other words, if you’ve had a hard week of training, you may not want to train Friday, Saturday and Sunday, like in the following program. But if you took the weekend off from training before traveling on a Monday, you’ll want to do all three WODs as prescribed.

Program Overview: Taking a few days off from the gym because of a short business trip or vacation isn’t the end of the world, but the serious CrossFitter probably won’t want to go totally idle in that time, either, especially if such trips are frequent because of a travel-heavy job. Besides, a few days away from your normal box can offer not only a refreshing change of scenery but also an opportunity to work on a particular area that might not normally be addressed in your workouts.

Pistol-Squat

“When it comes to travel programming, I typically program my athletes around a skill that I want them to spend time on,” Elmore says. “The handstand is a great go-to for times like this. After a basic warm-up, I have athletes move in progressions depending on the capacity of the athlete. For those who know how to handstand walk, for example, I will program advanced movements like shoulder touches or level changes. For more basic athletes, I will program modified handstand holds and modified shoulder touches.”

Elmore is also a big fan of met-con workouts when traveling. “Let’s be honest,” he says, “nutrition typically suffers when we’re not at home.” Granted, no training program can make up for an awful diet, but the metabolism-stoking effects of an intense met-con can at least help minimize the damage temporarily. “Depending on the length of the athlete’s trip, I will vary anaerobic and aerobic efforts,” he says. “Sprinting is always a good choice here, along with burpees (who doesn’t need to work on those, right?), double-unders and a mix of classic gymnastics work.”

Superman

The programming here comprises three consecutive days of training for the advanced CrossFit athlete requiring bodyweight-only workouts. “[The workouts] focus on midline work, building stronger handstand movements, and mixing anaerobic and aerobic efforts,” Elmore says. “The third day is also keeping in mind that the athlete will be returning to ‘normal’ programming on Thursday.”

Hand-Release-Push-Ups

Day 1 (Monday)

Warm-Up:

Three rounds not for time of

  • 20 jumping jacks 
  • 20 sit-ups
  • 20 mountain climbers
  • 20 air squats

Skill Work (midline and handstand work):

Four rounds not for time of

  • 30 seconds hollow rock
  • 30 seconds Superman
  • 30 seconds handstand

Workout: 

  • 15 minutes AMRAP
  • Run 200 meters (roughly 45-second effort at Rate Perceived Exertion 9).
  • 15 hand-release push-ups
  • 20 pistol squats

Exercise Spotlight: Hand-Release Push-Ups

At the bottom of each push-up rep, briefly lift your hands off the floor so no weight is on them — your weight will be resting on your stomach for a split second. Put your hands back down on the floor and do a push-up. 

Day 2 (Tuesday)

Warm-Up:

Five minutes running at RPE 5 to 6

Four rounds not for time of 

  • 30 seconds plank right arm
  • 30 seconds plank left arm
  • 10 inchworms

Skill Work (handstand walking):

three rounds not for time of

  • 20 shoulder touches
  • 10 strict handstand push-ups (or negatives)

Workout:

four rounds

  • 30 burpees

Rest two minutes between efforts.

Exercise Spotlight: Shoulder Touches

From a handstand hold, briefly lift one hand off the floor to touch your same-side shoulder. Repeat with the opposite hand, alternating sides until 20 total shoulder touches are achieved. 

Day 3 (Wednesday)

Warm-Up:

Three rounds not for time of 

  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 20 sit-ups
  • 20 mountain climbers
  • 20 air squats

Skill Work:

none

Workout:

  • 30-minute run at RPE 7 to 8

Exercise Spotlight: 30-Minute Run

The Rated Perceived Exertion scale ranges from 1 to 10, in which 1 is the lowest intensity level and 10 is maximum effort. “RPE is a great coaching tool to control volume and intensity,” Elmore says. “The 30-minute running at RPE 7 to 8 is a fairly high level of intensity for this long of a period. It’s setting the expectation that this should hurt more than the athlete really wants a running effort this long to hurt.”

For more from Josh Elmore, including blogs and nutrition guidance, visit crossfiteternal.com.

Handstand

Full-Week (Four-WOD) Travel Program

Programming by: Brian Strump, owner of CrossFit Steele Creek and Premier Health & Rehab Solutions in Charlotte, N.C.

When to Use It:On any weeklong (five- to seven-day) trip. These often entail longer travel days, so the first and last days of the trip can be used as rest days — not necessarily because you need the days off but because, realistically, 12-plus hours spent in planes, terminals and on shuttle buses usually means you’re not training that day. Because of this, training at your box the day before you leave and the day after you return from your trip is highly recommended.

Program Overview: If you’re taking a full week off, there’s a good chance it’s a vacation and you’d prefer to spend most of your time relaxing, not working out. Rest assured, that’s exactly what Strump had in mind when he designed the following “two-on, one-off, two-on” program. All workouts are met-cons that can be done in 12 minutes or less. The goal isn’t to get the best workouts of your life but rather to maintain some semblance of conditioning until you return home.

Air-Squat

“These workouts are an easy way for someone to continue moving forward while traveling and to bridge the gap for a week,” Strump says. “They’re all met-cons, since that’s the easiest thing to do in a hotel room; not having any equipment isn’t conducive to doing a lot of strength work. But you’re probably not going to lose your strength in a week. You’d lose your cardio conditioning faster.”

If you’d rather not train in your hotel room, Strump encourages you to find whatever you can in the vicinity to aid your workouts — monkey bars at a park for pull-ups, a nearby hill for hill runs, bleachers for stadium-stair intervals. And Strump and Elmore highly recommend packing a jump rope, arguably the most portable and effective piece of training equipment there is.

Sit-Ups

When you’re short on equipment, you need to be creative with exercise selection. Not all moves in the workouts here (jumping squats, Russian twists and dumbbell hang cleans, a substitute for jumping squats for those who have access to dumbbells via a hotel fitness center, for example) are ones you’d normally do at your local affiliate. But the objective is to train the muscles in the same explosive manner as with the Olympic moves you’re used to doing.

“I don’t even have dumbbells at my gym,” Strump says. “But if the hotel you’re staying at has some, you can do dumbbell thrusters, push presses or one-arm snatches. These may not be normal CrossFit exercises, but they can help you get your plyometrics in and stay in shape for when you go back and do box jumps at your regular gym.

Walking-Lunge

WODs

Warm-Up (for all workouts):

Two-minute jog, run in place or jump rope 

  • 15-second Samson stretch
  • 15-second waiter’s bow
  • 10 arm circles (forward and backward)
  • 10 leg swings (per leg)

Then three rounds of

  • 10 squats
  • 10 sit-ups
  • 10 push-ups

Day 1

    For time
  • 21-18-15-12-9-6-3
  • burpees
  • sit-ups

Exercise Spotlight: Sit-Ups

Without a coach available to watch your form, be mindful of your spine position on sit-ups — don’t flex your neck forward by pulling on your head with your hands. 

Day 2

    10 rounds for time of
  • 5 push-ups
  • 15 walking lunges 
  • 30 double-unders 
Double-Unders

Exercise Spotlight: Walking Lunges/Double-Unders

If you have a pull-up bar available, add five pull-ups to the beginning of the workout; in this case, decrease rounds from 10 to seven (to keep the workout under 15 minutes or so) and increase push-up reps to 10. If you don’t have a jump rope, do 30 tuck jumps instead of double-unders. 

Day 3

Off

Day 4

  • 1–2 minutes AMRAP
  • 10 jumping squats 
  • 10 Supermans
  • 30 Russian twists

Exercise Spotlight: Jumping Squats

Descend into a full bodyweight squat, then explode out of the bottom to jump up vertically at the top of each rep. If you have dumbbells available, you can substitute this exercise for 10 dumbbell hang cleans. 

Day 5

For time

21-15-9

pistol squats

handstand push-ups

(scale with pike push-ups, if necessary)

Exercise Spotlight: Pistol Squats

Alternate legs every other rep, counting each squat as one rep. If you’re unable to do standard pistols (because it’s an advanced exercise), hold onto a chair or desk with one hand to provide balance and allow you to achieve full depth.

For more training tips from Brian Strump, visit crossfitsteelecreek.com.