Travel-inspired Ab Exercises


Traveling really throws you off your routine, often leading to missed ab workouts. You’re tired, you’re stressed, you’re jet lagged, and the last thing you want to do are ab exercises. But nobody wants flabby abs either. Make your ab workout fun with travel-inspired ab exercises that could actually make your next  trip a little easier.




To prepare for the fun of opening and closing  your suitcases, perform the suitcases exercise. The suitcase exercise targets the entire rectus abdominis, more commonly known as the six pack abs muscle. In this exercise, you get to be the suitcase.


Starting position: Sit on the floor with your knees bent. Pull your knees into your chest and extend your arms straight in front of you. Your arms should be on either side of your legs. At this point, you’re in the closed suitcase position.


Action: Move into the open position by extending your legs straight and leaning backwards. Pull your knees back into your chest as you sit up again to the closed position. You may only be able to do a few suitcases at first, but as you get stronger you can work up to 20 repetitions.


Side Bends


Thanks to increased airport security and the higher costs associated with checking bags, many people are forced to lug overstuffed carry-on luggage all over airports.  This means repeated bending to the side, picking up a bag, walking a couple of steps, and putting the suitcase back on the floor. The sideways bending of the spine is mainly performed by the obliques muscles, which are the abdominal muscles on both sides of the waist.


To strengthen those obliques to make lifting suitcases and other objects off the floor, perform the side bends exercise. A dumbbell or medicine ball is the ideal object for use as resistance during a side bend, but if you’re in a pinch you can use a partially-filled suitcase.


Starting position: Stand up tall with your feet hip width apart. Grip a dumbbell in your left hand and hold your arm relaxed against your side.


Action: Breathe in as you bend to the left. Breathe out as you stand up tall again. Do 10 to 12 reps, and then work your right side.


Twist Crunches


An exercise that works both of the muscles targeted by the two exercises above is twist crunches. The abdominals need more stress than many muscle groups, so performing two or three in one ab workout is acceptable.


Starting position: Lie on the floor with your knees bent. Position your feet hip width apart on the floor. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows bent. Imagine that your arms are like the wings of an airplane. You want them to remain straight out to the sides and in line with your shoulders during the exercise. Just as you wouldn’t want to see the wings of a plane bend, don’t do anything that would cause you to see your “wings” out of the corner of your eyes.


Action: Crunch up off the floor and rotate your shoulders left to right. Do between 2 and 6 twists, and then lie back down. Crunch back up and twist another 2 to 6 times. Continue until your abdominals are burning.


Use this ab workout routine at least three times a week to strengthen your core. These travel-inspired ab exercises are easy to do at home or in a hotel room, but you can just as easily do them in a gym. A cable machine is an excellent way to add resistance to these ab exercises if your body weight isn’t enough.

Sarka Jonae
Sarka-Jonae is a novelist, personal trainer, massage therapist, and fitness writer. Her debut novel, BETWEEN BOYFRIENDS, will be published in October 2013. SJ writes for,,, and her own blog,