Fit travel: 11 unusual strength exercises for the airplane


Do you want to travel fit? How about building muscle at 10 km altitude on board a Boeing 747-800? Fit travel exercises for a better mood in the air.


I know it sounds lofty.


But impossible? No way.


Unusual? Maybe.


Incredibly stimulating? Definitive.


And indeed, there are more down-to-earth training places. Hand on heart, where do you have as much free time as when traveling?


Think about your last long-haul flight. How did you feel upon arrival? If you are like many, there was nothing to do with “fit travel.”


You felt like you walked the 10,000 miles.


How about arriving with renewed energy and fully recovered?


You can do the following 11 extraordinary strength exercises on your next trip: on board an airplane, in the train compartment, or in the car.


You avoid tension, work on your muscle definition, and can travel fit wherever you want. Let’s learn how to exercise on a plane.


Why fit traveling is a good idea

Why fit traveling is a good idea

Like me, you often try desperately to fit your training session into your already well-filled daily schedule.


The luxury on board an airplane: You have 1, 2, 4, and 8 hours at your disposal without stress – what a gift!


You only need 20-30 minutes for the following “Fit Travel” workout. Exercise in an airplane to get in better mood.


Fit travel #1: Your pre-workout drink

Your body is made up of 60-70% water. Due to the conditioned air on board an airplane, the air is very dry, and you lose a lot of liquid through the air you breathe, skin, and mucous membranes.


If you don’t drink enough, your blood will also thicken – a condition that endurance athletes reach in the final stages of a long-distance competition. The lack of water is one of the main reasons that long-haul flights are so tiring for the body.


The solution is straightforward.


If you want to feel fitter at your destination than a marathon runner at the 40-kilometer mark, you will do well to drink enough before you start your journey.


The rule of thumb is:


Drink 40 ml of water per kilogram of body weight.


A 75 kg (165 pounds) athlete should fill up with 3 liters (105 oz) of water before the start. 


Fit travel #2: Assume the training starting position!

If the flight is not fully booked, you have won the main prize: secure the middle seat in a free row of 3 seats. If it is foreseeable that seats will remain free, a flight attendant will usually be happy to assign you to another training, uh, seat.


The planes are often fully booked, so it is best to secure a window seat.


Are you sitting comfortably? Perfect.


Now you should ensure that your feet are slightly elevated, so your knees are above your hips. If the footrest under the front seat is not enough, it is best to use a small suitcase or bag as a base.


Airplane exercise benefits

This takes a lot of pressure off your lumbar vertebrae and relieves the intervertebral discs.


Fit travel #3: Your workout at 30.000 feet altitude

Now let’s get down to business. I have put the exercises together so that you disturb your neighbors as little as possible. One of the other exercises is perfect for making contact. You may be asked an interesting question.


My recommendation: If the person sitting next to you is attractive, use it to flirt. If not, you put on the previously distributed headsets and watch music videos before training. Starting with airplane seat exercises.


neck and shoulder exercise

Fit Travel Exercise #1 – Neck

With this exercise, you train your neck muscles and prevent tension.


That’s how it’s done:


  • Tilt your head back as far as possible and bring your hands to your forehead.
  • Now, slowly move your head forward while holding it with your hands.
  • Next, vary this exercise by bending your head to the right and left, again resisting with your hands on the opposite side.


Fit Travel Exercise #2 – Shoulders

With this exercise, you release tension in the shoulder girdle.


That’s how it’s done:


  • First rotate your shoulders forward, then backward.
  • Then you pull them towards your ears like you shrug when you say, “I don’t know!”
  • Repeat this exercise a few times.


Fit Travel Exercise #3 – Biceps

You can also get well-trained upper arms at an altitude of 30.000 feet: First, do this exercise with your weaker arm, then with the stronger one.


That’s how it’s done:


  • Extend the arm forward so that the upper arm and elbow align with the shoulder joint while the forearm is bent at 90°.
  • Now contract the biceps as hard as possible and hold the tension for 5 seconds.
  • The hand muscles are relaxed.
  • Repeat this exercise before switching arms.


Fit Travel Exercise #4 – Forearm

Fit Travel Exercise #4 – Forearm

Now it’s the turn of the other half of your arms.


That’s how it’s done:


  • Clench your hands into fists.
  • Now tense your hand muscles on the forearm by bringing your hand into a “swan neck” position (also known as the “ET position” after the Spielberg film of the same name).
  • The bottom of the clenched fist is now at a 90° angle to the forearm.
  • Now, you open the fingers of your hand as quickly as possible and close them again.
  • Alternatively, you can work with a tennis ball that you knead in your fist.
  • Do this exercise until your forearm hurts.


Fit Travel Exercise #5 – Back

This is a fantastic exercise to stretch your back.


That’s how it’s done:


  • Bend your torso forward until your chest touches your thighs.
  • Hold for 2 seconds and move back to the starting position.


Fit Traveling Exercise #6 – Chest

This exercise trains the upper, middle, and lower parts of your chest muscles. Airplane hip exercise.


That’s how it’s done:


  • Imagine you are gripping an imaginary rope above your head with your hands and bringing your hands into this position with one hand grasping the other. You can also press your palms together.
  • Slowly pull your hands down while tensing your chest muscles as much as possible.
  • Make sure your torso stays straight for the full range of motion of the hands – from the overhead position down to the thighs.


Exercise #7 – Abdominals

Fit Travel Exercise #7 – Abdominals

Do you know the puking cat? Not only is this exercise as obscenely good as it sounds, but it also works in a slightly modified way on board an airplane.


That’s how it’s done:


  • Exhale as deeply as you can.
  • Now pull your stomach toward your chest as far as possible.
  • Imagine how you want to reach your spine with your abdominal muscles.
  • Hold the tension for 2-3 seconds before relaxing the abs again.


How many reps can you do without exhaling?


Tip: do the exercise before the meal on board or – if it was just served – allow yourself an hour after the meal.


Fit Traveling Exercise #8 – Thighs

Two excellent exercises, especially for runners.


That’s how it’s done:


  • Clench both hands into fists and place them between your knees.
  • Now squeeze your knees together as powerfully as possible.
  • Relax and repeat the exercise several times to sculpt the adductors.
  • You train the abductors on the outside of your thighs by trying to push your knees apart while holding your hands from the outside.


Exercise #9 – Shins

Fit Travel Exercise #9 – Shins

To be honest, when was the last time you worked the front of your lower legs?


Many runners complain of irritation of the periosteum muscles on the front of the thighs, known in technical jargon as “shin splints” or “shin splints,” and are forced to take a break from training.


With regular training of these often neglected muscles, this does not happen!


Now is the opportunity for you to avoid such overloads in the future.


That’s how it’s done:


  • Rest your heels on your bag or a thick book, so your forefeet are in the air.
  • Now pull your feet up towards your shins as far as possible.
  • Hold them in this position for 1-2 seconds.
  • Do the exercise as quickly as possible.
  • Repeat until your shin muscles hurt.


Fit Travel Exercise #10 – Calves

Now it’s the turn of the back of your lower legs.


That’s how it’s done:


  • You place your toes on the bag, so your heels are in the air.
  • Tighten your calves and push your heels up as far as possible.
  • Hold the tension for 2-3 seconds before lowering your heels again until you can’t go any further.


Fit Travel Combination Exercise #11 – Shoulders, Arms, and Core

Saving the best for last: a complex exercise that strengthens your shoulders, arms, and core.


That’s how it’s done:


  • Extend your arms as high as possible over your head, allowing your hands to touch.
  • Now, slowly bend your torso alternately to the left and right – like a metronome.


Doesn’t that challenge you enough? You asked for it:


  • Advanced users can bend their forearms above their heads and grasp the elbows of the other arm with their hands.
  • It is important to bring your chin towards your neck, so your cervical spine stays straight.
  • Now stretch your upper body to the right and left.
  • Your hips stay straight.


Fit Travel Bonus Exercise #12 – Arm Stretch

I can see you’re on the long haul. No problem, we’ll keep you busy. With this exercise, you stretch your arms.


That’s how it’s done:


  • Place your palms together on the back of the seat in front of you with straight arms.
  • Push the seat forward (without waking up the person in front of you, of course!) and hold the tension for 5 seconds. Ideally, the seat in front of you is free right now.


The correct number of repetitions

It depends on your fitness level – you decide for yourself and by feeling. After all, your goal is for you to start your holiday fit and arrive relaxed.


You can go for 25, 30, or up to 50 reps per exercise. If you are on the road for a long time, you can do this workout several times.


Switching from one exercise to the next as quickly as possible without a long break is best.


Fit Travel Airplane exercise

Fit Travel: Exercise in the air – Conclusion

With this workout, you increase your body tension during the journey, and you will feel fantastic. Even if it may come as a surprise: there are countless ways you can train your muscles in economy class on board any aircraft.


Once you’ve done these exercises several times, you’ll come up with variations. I’m thinking of push-ups in the galley while the flight attendants pour drinks or knee bends in the airplane toilet. There are no limits to your imagination.


So give the travel workout a shot and do it on your next flight. You are doing something good for society – your relaxed and positively recovered appearance after your arrival will affect your environment.


Good flight!