How You Can Work Out on an Airplane (Seriously!)

Where do celebrity trainers like Astrid Swan go when they want a good kick-in-the-butt workout? They often beeline straight for personal trainer Jenn Glysson. The NASM-certified, LA-based trainer specializes in HIIT and kickboxing, and given her track record for proven results, it’s little surprise that she endorses keeping up with your workout while traveling. In fact, she says, you can even sneak in some exercise while you’re on a plane.

Here’s how to do just that.

1. Chair sit


Source: Jenn Glysson

While you’re seated in your chair, push through your heels and slide up and off your chair, about 1 to 2 inches. Your back should be firmly pressed into the seat back as your hamstrings and glutes are lifted off the seat. Contract your glutes and abdomen, and hold for 30 seconds to one minute. Repeat three sets, resting 30 seconds in between.

2. Leg cross lift


Source: Jenn Glysson

Cross one leg over the other, and lift the bottom leg 15 times. Switch legs. Make sure to keep your hips tucked (i.e., get the front of your ribs as close to your hips as possible), and focus on contracting your abdominals as your hips will want to take over. Gently lift your base leg off the ground, and hold for two seconds. Perform three sets of 10 reps on each side. You can cross your legs either as shown in the picture, or if you prefer, you can also cross them by putting your ankle on your knee.

3. Band burner


Source: Jenn Glysson

Place a band above your knees (these bands can be found at Start with your feet and knees hip-width apart. Squeeze your glutes as you open your knees to about shoulder-width, and then slowly bring them back to the start position. Your feet do not move during this exercise. Also, do not arch your back. Keep your tummy tight and hips tucked. Perform 30 reps, rest, and repeat two more sets.
For another great move using the band, place the band at mid-shin. Keeping one leg stable, move the other leg laterally using your glutes to control, hold one second, and then return to start position. Do 15 on one side and 15 on the other side.

Note: You can always throw a jacket or blanket over you if you feel embarrassed about doing these band burners.

4. Seated reverse crunch


Source: Jenn Glysson

Sit up nice and tall with arms on the arm rest. Make sure to keep your tummy tight and hips tucked to activate core. Do not arch your lower back. This move should be slow and controlled. While tummy is tight, lift both feet off the ground about 3 to 5 inches toward your chest keeping knees bent. This move is pretty difficult, so the modified version would be to lift one leg up and hold, then switch to the other leg (only one foot should ever be on the ground at one time). If the move is still too difficult you can scoot forward in your seat a bit so you can slightly lean back; also, placing your hands at your sides will help. Do three sets of 15 reps. If you’re doing single leg, do the same but each leg is 15 reps.

Note: Between these moves and being seated for an extended period, Glysson says your hips are likely to tighten up, so when you have a chance be sure to stretch them out — perhaps on your trip to the lavatory.

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