Travel Wods: Full Body Bodyweight Workout Routines

full body bodyweight workout travel wodsNo messing around with this one. Giving you some full body bodyweight workout travel wods (Workout Of The Day) from soup to nuts. Everything you need to workout anywhere and any time.

This will be a complete guide to getting started – followed by a fresh and changing daily workout posted at the bottom. These are bodyweight workouts and travel workouts so that busy people/soldiers etc can do them anywhere at any time.

Here we go…(FYI: this article will take about 35 minutes to read with instructions for beginners and revolving workouts at the bottom of the article.)

Read this series of articles if you are looking for a beginners workout using weight training.

From March to June of 2009 I took a handful of people at different times and personally ran them through 4 weeks of this full body bodyweight workout routine, twice a week. We didn’t use any equipment so they work great as a travel wods that you can do anywhere.

The results were outstanding.

You are about to embark on the same program modified for those wanting to get in shape quickly while traveling.

How To Workout At Home With Bodyweight TrainingLife is better when your body works right. Today I want to give you the quick and dirty on how to workout while traveling with these travel wods using bodyweight training. You’ll get in shape so you can do what you want, when you want, without being limited by your body.

I think this will be a great post because travel wods with bodyweight training solve three of the biggest obstacles people face when trying to get in shape:

  1. Lack Of Funds – You don’t need to spend a dime.
  2. Lack Of Time – You can do it when it fits your schedule and you save time by not traveling to the gym.
  3. Inconvenience – gym location, stressful travel, being away from home all the time.

If you are just a beginner, don’t stress it. This is for you. The fit people already know how to get in shape. I know in the beginning it can all seem a little overwhelming. That’s o.k. I’m going to share with you some really great stuff on how to get a quick, efficient and above all effective beginner workout routine in the comfort of your own home!

There are a couple topics that I will explain so you can understand how best to get in a great workout. These topics are:

1. Pushing Muscles
2. Pulling Muscles
3. Lower Body Work
4. The Core
5. Sets and Reps
6. Equipment

First, the pushing muscles. The pushing muscles (for upper body) are shoulders, chest and triceps. These will get worked with any movement where you push yourself or any object away to create space between you and that object. Weight training examples would be dumbbell bench presses and machine bench presses. Bodyweight exercise examples would be push-ups and dips.

Second, the pulling muscles. The pulling muscles for the upper body are the back muscle complex and the biceps. These will get worked with any weight training or bodyweight exercise where you pull yourself or an object closer together. weight training examples would be dumbbell rows and pulldowns. Bodyweight exercise examples would be chin-ups and inverted bodyweight rows.

Third, the lower body. The lower body has a ton of functions but anything that simulates running, jumping, sitting and stepping up on objects will work the best. You can easily isolate the leg muscles as well but you can do that to infinity so I just want to get you the best workout for the time invested. You can work the lower body with weight training exercises like leg press and lying hamstring curls. Your lower body bodyweight exercises include speed squats and lunges just to name a few.

Fourth, the core. The core is a complex area for sure. It does a lot of things, but you’ll get the majority of your core by extending and shortening the distance between your hips and your chest. For example in weight training a core exercise would be the crunch machine. With bodyweight exercises you have hanging leg raises, dragon flags, fire beetles and the regular old situp. There are tons of options with bodyweight exercises and generally speaking, I enjoy them a lot more than being stuck on a machine.

Fifth is sets and reps. If you are just getting started training, shoot for 15 reps on everything for 3 sets. If you can’t get 15 reps then just do what you can. When you finally get to 15 repetitions on all three sets, then look for a harder bodyweight exercise variation or add resistance in some fashion; for example a back pack.

Sixth, required equipment. Do you have thousands of dollars? If yes then go ahead and spend money on expensive exercise equipment if you get a kick out of it. There are specific uses where exercise equipment can come in handy but you never absolutely need it to get amazing results. I would say that I train 95% of my people using only bodyweight workouts and that is even when I am at my gym and have access to the weight training equipment if I wanted it. So don’t let money for gym memberships and exercise equipment be an obstacle at all. You can do a home workout routine without exercise equipment and get started on your goals today.

Beginner Level Travel Wods

When ever you talk about working out with bodyweight training, the first thing most people suggest are push-ups. That’s a great place to start but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Priority number one is the static bodyweight squat for your lower body.

For the first version, you bend your knees and try to get your thighs parallel to the floor in the bottom position for a couple of seconds or as long as you can take it. The goal is to get up to 10 minutes in the very bottom position. Break up the time however you want. This is same position you would be in if you were reading a magazine in the bottom shelf at the store.

Being able to hold the bottom position of the squat or simply the act of working up to it will increase your hip and leg flexibility. It also greatly improves your quality of life when doing simple every day moments. Most people will need to hold onto a support like the kitchen counter or a door frame. This keeps you from falling backward initially.
bodyweight squat bottom position

A home workout for the backs of your arms, the triceps, can include the reverse dip. Use the side of your bed or a low surface, palms down and lower your full body down using your arms until your bum touches the floor then lift yourself up again and repeat. Great exercises you can do almost anywhere.
bodyweight bench dips
A lot of people have trouble getting a back workout when travelling because of a lack of a equipment. Just find a high railing, post, back of stair case or ceiling beam. You can do chin-ups or horizontal pulls for your back with those. If not than isometric or dynamic tension sort of exercises will work as well. Simply grab something that will not move and pull on it as hard as you can with one arm to work the back.

Below, I’m using a rope with a knot on the other end to keep it from pulling through. For this travel wod use hotel towels if you have to. Two towels with knots in them and just pull your body towards the door. Longer hotel towels equals a harder row.
bodyweight rows in door frame

Take a look at this article for more on doing bodyweight rows at home

For our travel wod cardio, you can’t go wrong with Jumping jacks. That good old basic where you jump up and down while clapping your hands in the air. Skipping is another great one with lots of variations to make it more challenging as you get better at it. You can get a skipping rope for about $5 in most places.

Another fantastic full body exercise to get the heart racing and get tons of cardio is Burpees.
Burpees are one of those exercises that you can throw into any travel wod to fill in the gaps. Heck, Burpees are a workout in themselves. They hit the whole body and increase endurance, flexibility and explosive power. They are great for home workouts as well as when you are on the road travelling. Here is how they are done (pictures below).

1) The start of the Burpee begins by bending over and putting your hands on the floor.
2) The second part is to semi-squat and thrust your legs back so that now you are in the push-up position.
3) The third part of the Burpee has you reversing the movement to pull yourself back into the “hands on the floor, low squat position”.
4) Lastly, power out of the low squat position and jump into the air and your done!
burpee exercise 1
burpee exercise 2
burpee exercise 3

During my army time we would also use a ruck sack a lot. It’s basically a very strong back pack. Wearing extra resistance allows you to go beyond the body weight level and start adding even more muscle. Remember, walking is cheap and natural. Add a backpack to challenge yourself even more.

Let’s recap what you can do to exercise using your own body weight without buying expensive equipment. You have chin ups, push ups, squats, Burpees, sit ups, running, skipping, walking, dip variations and all types of stretching exercises.

Mixing and matching any of the above exercises into your day when you can is enough. If you eat clean and sprinkle in the suggestions above then you’re golden. If you want more specifics, keeps reading.

Fitting Bodyweight Workouts Into Your Daily Life

People ask how to make fitness part of their daily lives I often wonder if they really want the truth. Because fitness is a lot like any other hobby. You have those that dabble and then you have those that are, well, a little farther out of the norm.

It reminds me of that quote where Jack Nicholson says “Truth? You can’t handle the truth!” You see, the fact of the matter is that some of the fitness crowd do things on a daily basis that seem strange to “normal” people.

The answer a question like “How to make fitness a part of your daily life,” depends on who you are talking to. For the average person just getting into fitness, you would say a very politically correct bunch of tidbits like what is about to follow:

• Walk to work instead of driving.
• Park further from the mall and walk more.
• Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
• Walk during your lunch hours.

That’s pretty standard fair for a personal trainer to blurt out when trying to give some general guidelines.

Here’s the thing…

Making time to do a full body bodyweight workout routine is the same as making time for bladesmithing.

There are no hacks or motivational tricks. It’s either important to you and you push aside less important things…. or you don’t.

Here is how I get a bodyweight workout routine in on a “home day”.

Wake up and immediately drink a glass or two of water. Night time dehydrates. Jump into the shower and let the hot water warm up your muscles and start your stretches. A couple chest stretches using the shower wall, some deep squat holds, a couple lunge holds for the hip flexors and some forward bends to ease up the hamstrings from your previous leg workout. Funny I know but all these stretches make shaving your legs a whole lot easier!

After the shower you have to get your daily clothes from the laundry downstairs, so you bear crawl down the stairs. Once you have your laundry, you jump up the stairs taking them two at a time. Then you bear crawl back down because you dropped a sock and your t-shirt.

At some point in the day, you realize you have 20 free minutes so you throw in your most advanced workout you’ve ever done (I mean REALLY advanced :-).

5 Handstand Pushups
10 One Legged Squats
15 Chinups

You set your watch to 20 minutes and decide to do as many rounds of the above circuit as possible before the alarm goes off. 10 minutes later you are sweating like crazy. Your spouse thinks your insane and your kids are laughing their heads off.

20 minutes later you’re all finished and only 10 feet from your own shower, food and family.

What I wrote above is how I play with getting training in. I know this is an article about full body bodyweight workouts so you’re trying to get it all done at once. But if you were time crunched, there is nothing wrong with a 15 minute wake up session of pistol squats and then later that day hitting 15 minutes of chinups and dips.

Just get it done any which way.
secret bodyweight training methods don't exist

Secret Bodyweight Training Methods

A word about effectiveness. These workouts DO cause rapid changes in your body and make you perform like a machine when done on a consistent basis. I’m not going to make all sorts of claims as to the results you’ll get from these “Secret Training Methods”. I want you to make the claims after you’re done.

If you do the program at least for the first round, share your results in the comments below or share this full body workout on facebook using the little buttons on the side. It will help encourage others to try it, stick to it and reap the rewards.

Is This Full Body Bodyweight Workout Routine Safe For You?

Did you know that obesity has just replaced smoking as the number one cause of health related problems? That’s incredible! Lets look at some of the real concerns you should tend to before working out.

Go see your doctor – Get a check up. Do not even attempt this bodyweight workout program until your doctor says you are bullet proof and cleared for vigorous physical exertion.

Make sure you get a blood pressure test and a blood test. Have your heart condition checked and complete all the other stuff. Some people mistakenly hold back serious effort in the gym for too long because they are afraid something may be wrong with them. If you get a check up and receive a clean bill of health, that’s one more excuse gone.

About your pains and past injuries- If something hurts. Don’t do it. Stop and go to your doctor. Find out what is wrong and then go to someone qualified to fix it.

After that, then come back and try a version an exercise for that muscle group that is pain free.

Last point: Don’t Trust Me

I am assuming you are in a pain free, problem free body. If you are not, stop.

Some of the exercises I choose to do come with risks. Some exercises in my opinion have a favorable risk to benefit ratio. So I do them. If you do not agree.. don’t do them.

If you are just starting out and have a lot of questions about exercise and your health, invest in a personal trainer. It is the most sure fire way to make sure that you are doing everything correctly… or at least by the ‘rules’.

A Note About Doing An Advanced Full Body Bodyweight Workout Routine

Advanced training is about intensity. It is not about standing on one foot and patting your head while you rub your abs standing on a balance board.

Training at an advanced level is not about how complicated or ingenious your workout routine is. It is about how much of your heart you put into your training by applying your maximum intensity you are capable of, at any given time.

You achieve intensity through resistance, speed, power output, and time under load.

You are training intense like an advanced trainer if:

  • If you are breathing like you just pulled a freight train up a hill
  • You’re sweating like a desert troop in full kit including ballistic plates.
  • Your lungs are leaking turpentine.
  • You taste the enamel of your teeth.
  • A cough sends you looking for the closest garbage.
  • You lose hearing temporarily in one or both ears.
  • You have trouble focusing on stationary objects just like after you had a dozen brews.
  • It would be unwise to drive after your training.
  • You wish you weren’t driving a standard after your workout.

If you just read that and don’t know what I’m talking about, then you are still working in the beginner to intermediate realm and that’s perfectly o.k. I just make those statements so that people don’t confuse advanced level training with how complicated a workout routine is. It’s about how hard you train while you are training. Get to those places of “glory on the battle field” and see if the body, performance and energy you haven’t achieved with other programs doesn’t magically appear.

You Need To Train At Your Level

you have to train
Now after all that talk about advanced training, maybe you are a little freaked out. I don’t want you to be. To achieve the best results in the shortest amount of time, just give it your best effort. For some people, their best effort may be to get out of bed and put on their sneakers. That’s fine. Again, you work at your personal max, and watch the results take care of themselves.

My mom does this stuff and loves it. She’s 54.

Consistency is more important than intensity. Just show up and do some work.

You do not need to feel nauseous or lack the ability to walk the next day in order to look and feel great. You just need to constantly try to do better and better. If you do that, you will constantly look and feel better.

In order for you to be able to follow this step by step, I’ve put together a follow the numbers system below. Just follow it without any guess work if you like that sort of thing.

First, you need to know why you lift in certain set and rep ranges and how those will affect the outcome you get from your training.

Bodyweight Training Loading Parameters And Picking a GOAL

bodyweight training loading parameters
Here’s how you change any routine to create the physical outcome you want.

You change any routine here to create a different outcome simply by changing the time under tension and/or the repetition range of the exercises and/or the rest between sets.

For example if you would rather gain more muscle than lose fat, you would be best to put your effort into three all out sets of five repetitions than to do ten sets of thirty repetitions.

See the end of this section to change this high rep endurance training routine for a muscle/strength building workout

The Dirty 30:
Squats 30 repetitions
Crunches 30 repetitions
Pushups 30 repetitions
Done for three continuous circuits.

Advanced Use Above As Warmup

You can use this workout as a warm up once it’s easy. To keep it as a workout, keep trying to beat your time to completion. Once you get this to under 6 minutes, you are in shape. Not top shape but great shape none the less.

It’s not uncommon for some people to not be able to even complete the total repetitions no matter how long the clock runs. REMEMBER, it doesn’t matter where you start but where you end up and that you enjoy the process.

Once you are able to get all the reps in and your lungs are getting better, you’ll find yourself starting to work this down from around 11 minutes. Every week, trying to get better.

Do this routine every second day or even every day if you find you are recovering well from it. The only drawback is the lack of back work. So if after you do this workout for time, you then put in 3-4 sets of inverted horizontal rows (or chins) to failure (wherever you can’t complete any more) then you have a nice little routine anywhere, anytime.

Tweak This Full Body Bodyweight Workout Routine For Muscle and Strength

Easy. Change the rep ranges, sets and difficulty of the exercise. In fact, you might have to change the exercise itself or the leverage factors you apply in order to do this. Like so:

Lunges 5 sets of 6 repetitions (its a heavier leg exercise so harder to do)
Rest one minute between sets of lunges then move onto:
Situps 5 sets of 6-10 repetitions (again, heavier so harder to do)
Rest one minutes between sets of situps then move onto:
One Arm Pushups 5 sets of 5 repetitions

It doesn’t even look like the same routine but in essence all the same muscles are being worked but with heavier versions of exercises and different rep schemes.

This is how you change training outcomes by tweaking your routine.

Now if you wanted a combination of endurance, muscle size and strength then you could do the above lower rep workout without the rests and perform it as a circuit.

When you start combining too many goals you become a jack of all trades. You will gain a little in all areas and be in great shape across the board but will take a long time if at all to reach the pinnacle of top performance in any particular area.

Rep Ranges And How They Affect You

Strength – 1-5 repetitions or also quantified by 60 seconds total of time under tension.

5 sets of 5 in varying ways of loading is a very common strength building loading scheme. With some more demanding bodyweight exercises like a front lever or planche done for static holds. When you complete 60 second holds (or 6 sets of 10 seconds, 2 sets of 30) then use the next harder version or switched over into a version that involves movement like a planche pushup.

Size – 6-10 reps or 20-40 seconds per set
Hypertrophy and some strength fall into this rep zone. This is the optimum rep range for putting on muscle. 10 sets of 10 reps for maximum muscle gain is a tuff protocol that is better known as german volume training in some training circles.

Endurance – 20 reps or 60-90 seconds per set
While strength and size gains are possible, this range is more for muscular endurance, body conditioning and cardio. Having said that I still would take heavier training over high rep but that is another subject.

Setting the Volume And Difficulty For This Workout

Obviously these are guidelines and there is a certain amount of artistic liberty taken when designing a routine. A lot goes by feel but this is a great place to start.

1-3 sets – 3 sets of 5 reps or 30 seconds would be best for a beginner wanting to build up strength on an exercise.

1-3 sets of 20 reps would be better suited for muscular endurance and fat burning.

As you get more advance you increase resistance or add a couple sets to make it 5×5. At that point you would need to add resistance or pick a more challenging exercise version. 3X5 and 5×5 are classic rep and set schemes through physical culture history.

This is where beginners should start for building up the ability to handle training volume. It also allows your body and joints to start getting stronger and develop a base at a controlled and manageable level of recovery.

3-5 sets – Most common range for strength and size. Depending of course on the number of repetitions you are performing. For example 3-5 sets of a heavy 5 repetition exercise would develop size and strength while doing the same exercise for 3-5 sets of 20 would be getting more into muscular endurance.

5-10 sets – Obviously this is a lot of volume. However, like mentioned before, volume is a very poor indicator of intensity and level of competency. If you worked at 50% output for all 10 sets at a continuous pace back to back with another exercise, that would be an intermediate workout for size and fat burning muscular endurance whereas if you worked at 85% of your max for 10 sets causing you to require a minute rest between sets… Then that would be a serious advanced workout for size/strength requiring adequate rest and recovery from that session to heal…but grow a ton as well.

There is nothing wrong with using different rep and set ranges

All of the above is a simplified example. All goal ranges are good for fat burning because expending calories in a general sense IS fat burning. The higher rep and set ranges are most effective for this if you do no extra cardio or sprinting intervals. Not because there is magic in the high number of repetitions but simply because performing that many repetitions requires a lot of calories burned to complete the routine.

Rest time should be minimal to non existent between exercises for extreme fat burning and muscular endurance.

Rest for muscular size, strength and power should move on a sliding scale in that order anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes depending on the desired outcome.

Forms Of Separate Specific Cardio To Add To Your Full Body Bodyweight Workout Routine

different ways to do cardio


Rope skipping is also a great exercise for developing fitness. It requires little equipment, is easily learned, may be done almost anywhere and is not affected by weather.

Some of my clients use it to replace sprint intervals in the Canadian winter months.

A beginner should select a jump rope that when doubled and stood on, reaches to the armpits. Weighted handles or ropes may be used by better conditioned boot campers to improve upper body strength.

Rope skippers should begin with five minutes of jumping rope and then monitor their heart rate. They should attain and maintain their training heart rate to ensure the best result if skipping for fat loss and not simply a warm up.

Keep in mind that rope jumping may be stressful to the lower extremities. Limit it in the beginning to no more than three times a week until the body starts to adapt.

In the beginning you should skip rope on a giving surface and should wear cushioned shoes.

Once you are more experienced, judge for yourself. Let your surroundings and equipment mimic the ability you need to train for.


If you are lucky enough to live in an area that has open spaces, then get outside and sprint.

When starting sprinting, take it easy. If you have not ran fast in a while, you’ll need to work up to it.

Start with knee high running for 30-50 yards (meters), just pace it off. It’s not rocket science. When you get your knees high and moving fast, then start throttling in more and more forward speed.

Start off with 5 sprints, see how you feel the next day and keep working your way up to 10-15. Then add on hills and well… you see how it goes. I’ll talk more specifically about this later.

Please note: Anywhere that I say to do sprints you can always exchange sprints for another activity if you are indoors and do not have stretches of land. 30 squats performed as fast as possible or doing double unders (two passes of the rope while skipping) for 30 repetitions will serve you just as well. NO EXCUSES.

Second Note: If at any time the suggested reps for an exercise are too easy, you can always switch in a harder version or simply wear a back pack while doing the workout.

Quick Tips On Warm Up And Cool Down

Stretching 101 – The Long and Short of It

It’s important that right from the beginning to develop strength as your flexibility improves. Increasing your joints range of motion without also improving the strength of the surrounding muscles is an invitation for injury.

When you improve your flexibility to the point where an additional range of motion exists, the stretched muscles now have a reduced amount of overlap between the muscle fibers, resulting in a substantial reduction in strength. Strength and flexibility programs should be done together to avoid this problem.

That Which Doesn’t Bend, Breaks!

A full body bodyweight workout routine will give awesome results when done properly. However, doing a limited range of movement (chopping your reps short of full extension) over a prolonged period of time can create shortened ranges of motion.

Examples of shortened range of movement activities are partial barbell curls and bicycling-activities. In the later, the hip flexor becomes shortened due to long periods where the hip flexors contracts repeatedly but does not fully elongate. Weight training exercises if continually performed in a shortened range of motion (without full extension or flexion), make you vulnerable to injuries when outside the gym.

Chronically shortened muscles are the first step in a series of events leading to injury. Shortened hip flexors, like mentioned above, will over time lead to a reduction of the normal lordotic curve of the lumbar spine, which impair the spine’s load-bearing and shock absorption capacity. Over tight hamstrings have the same effect on the lumbar spine.

Over tight quadriceps on the other hand, pull the knee cap upward, causing it to track abnormally high in its groove. This situation results in a roughening of the underside of the knee cap (chrondromalacia patellae), leading to pain, inflammation, and eventually put you on your butt.

Do The Workout Right and It Will All Work Out

Weight training done properly over a full range of motion is beneficial to your flexibility levels. The two key points to remember are to perform your weight training exercises through the joint’s full range of motion, and to work opposite pairs (antagonistic) of muscles equally. In other words, do the same amount of work for the back as you do your chest. This will prevent muscle imbalances that would place undue stress on the joint that is between the two muscles. If you have rounded shoulders with shoulder or neck pain, take note. You probably work your chest more than your back and your Pec muscles are pulling your shoulder joint forward causing pain in the shoulders or tightness in the neck area.

Get Your Temperature Up Before Stretching

Body temperature is important when stretching. Increased temperature increases the range of movement of a joint, while being cold has the opposite effect. Think elastic band. If it’s cold, it snaps. Before performing stretching exercises, your body’s temperature must be elevated. The warm up can be passive, like a hot bath or sauna, or active, by doing a couple of light sets of the exercise you are about to do.

Some people think that stretching IS the warm-up, but this is a mistake. Getting warm before stretching is important for two reasons. First, core body temperature is elevated. Second, muscles are subject to thixotropy (look it up if you want), which is the tendency for body fluids to become less “sticky” following a period of being shaken or otherwise disturbed by outside forces. Ever see sprinters shake their legs before running? Now you know why!

When you don’t move for extended periods of time, you get stiff, turn to stone and die (just kidding, but you get the point). The best time to stretch is after training. The target muscles are warm and less “sticky”, and at this time research has shown that your stretching will produce long term improvements in flexibility.

Having said that, we will be doing an active stretch warmup before each full body bodyweight workout routine, and a “relax into the stretch” cool down after to cover all ground and conflicting scientific studies.

Last point; don’t hold your breath when you stretch. Besides raising your blood pressure (that’s sure relaxing) you will be tense and unable to “sink” into the stretch. Proper breathing should enhance relaxation while stretching. Exhale with the elongation phase of the stretch and r-e-l-a-x.

Side Cramps While Doing This Full Body Bodyweight Workout Routine

I recently received this email from one of bootcampers and felt that it would be useful to you as well, should you find yourself experiencing these little bastards.

Ray, first thanks for a great work out last night was tough but a good push. One question for you? My main issue last night besides my weak upper body strength LOL. My right side gets a massive cramp from below my rib cage to my hip. Is there anything I can do to help before it happens? Also when it does happen, how can I make it go away without having to walk it out. Thanks again for giving me the motivation and getting me off my ass 🙂

Ray Says: When exercising, a side stitch (also called a side ache, a side cramp, a side crampie, a side sticker or simply a stitch) is an intense stabbing pain under the lower edge of the ribcage. It is also referred to as exercise related transient abdominal pain (ETAP). Because of the suspected cause of the internal organs (like the liver and stomach) pulling downwards on the diaphragm, it is more likely to occur in sports involving up and down actions.

If the pain is present only when exercising and is completely absent at rest, in an otherwise healthy person, it is benign and does not require investigation. As this is a normal physiological response, there is not much that can be done to prevent it.

Theories Regarding ETAP

There are more theories regarding ETAP than merely stretching of the visceral ligaments due to repeated vertical translation and jolting. Other theories include:

Pain caused by contraction of the liver or spleen squeezing extra oxygen-carrying red blood cells into the circulation. Although there does not appear to be much muscle in the capsule of the spleen, there is direct & indirect evidence that its size does change with exercise.

This autotransfusion, (which is much larger in some animals) increases exercise capacity but the associated pain may be severe, relieved only by rest. A plausible mechanism for the pain is that high internal pressure in the liver or spleen restricts blood flow, causing hypoxia.

Most of the time, side stitches occur on the right side of the body. This is due to the largest organ in the abdominal cavity, the liver, being on that side. Certain athletes also report a pain in the tip of their shoulder blade.

Possibly because this is a referred site of pain for the diaphragm via the phrenic nerve. Sometimes this is due to water or fluid intake before exercise.

Preventing a side stitch

  1. Improve fitness
  2. Strengthen the diaphragm by using exercises such as those that aid respiratory rehabilitation
  3. Strengthen core muscles (abdominals, lower back, obliques)
  4. Limit consumption of food and drink two to three hours before exercising (in particular, drinks of high carbohydrate content and osmolarity (reconstituted fruit juices))
  5. Drink water beforehand to prevent muscle cramps (but not a lot immediately before)
  6. Warm up properly
  7. Gradually increase exercise intensity when running
  8. Exhale when the left foot hits the ground, and inhale when the right foot hits the ground
  9. Run on soft surfaces

Curing a side stitch

Pain induced by the stretching of the visceral ligaments is relieved by removing or minimizing the applied force, by slowing or stopping the exercise and lying down until the pain subsides.

Alternative cures exist in much the same context as the cure for hiccups; Stop exercising. With the digits, push into the abdomen on the right side, and up under the rib cage. At the same time, forcefully let out a deep exhale while holding the lips closely together.

Try belly breathing; inhale while pushing out the stomach, and on the exhale, relax the stomach muscles.

While running, exhale when your foot strikes on the opposite side that the side stitch is located. For example, a side stitch on the right, exhale hard when your left foot strikes the ground.

Reduce the frequency of breathing (e.g. in jogging, inhale for four steps and exhale for four steps)

Lie down on the back and lift the knee on the side with the stitch up to the chest.

Do not breathe too hard, shallow breathing for a few minutes at the same time maintain oxygen input levels.

Put pressure on the affected area, not enough to hurt, but just enough so the pain subsides.

You may also find this post handy: “The leading hypothesis for delayed onset muscle soreness are and how to get rid of or help relieve muscle soreness.”

The Three Phase Full Body Bodyweight Workout Routine

Weeks One To Four

Stretches – see active warmup stretching video on youtube to ask a question specifically about that… or just watch below.

Then do:

Beginner Travel Wod Workout: Do As Long As You Need To In Order To Adapt. There is no need to move onto harder versions until your strength level is high enough to handle the movements and you are no longer challenged by the workout below.

Monday – Wednesday – Friday

A1) Squats (From broken two foot squat all the way to one leg squat progression)
A2) Wall Pushups (from wall to 100 pushups a day)
A3) Tucked Hip Roll (See video “From Hip Rolls To Lying Leg Raises” on my Youtube channel)
A4) Standing Ring Row (See Bodyweight Back Exercises Page Here)
A5) Short Bridge (This is the best article I’ve found on getting better at bridges.)

Work up to 3 sets of 12-15 reps, no rest and then you’ll be ready to do the same workout with the next harder version of the above exercises like you see below.

Intermediate Level Travel Wod Workout: (all exercises versions A1-A5 have been linked to in the above workout. Each video has several progressions. These exercises below are just the next version. I am working on videos for you of the advanced bodyweight exercises in the last workout)

A1) Normal Squats
A2) Knee Pushups
A3) Normal Hip Roll
A4) Slightly Lower Standing Ring Row
A5) Straight Bridge

You will carry on working up to 3 sets of 12-15 reps on each exercise and when you complete that, you drop in the next harder version of the exercise and start back at how ever many is your limit. You may get to 15 of one exercise, substitute in the next harder version and find yourself only able to do a couple of repetitions. That’s awesome! Doing it this way means you have periods of really hard challenge followed by getting stronger and then higher reps as you get better.

Advance Level Travel Wod Bodyweight Workouts

By now you understand that anytime you complete 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions of an exercise you should move to the harder version of the exercise demonstrated in the videos and start working your way back up the rep ranges again.

That is a proven way to keep progressing. However if you would like to get stronger a little faster, here is another option. Instead of hitting this workout the same way as before, now you stay with an exercise until you complete 5 sets of 5 repetitions with 1 minute rest between sets.

This version of the workout is done as a circuit allowing only specific muscle groups to relax. It can also be done as a standard strength gaining workout by doing a set of lunges, resting a minute and doing your next set of lunges until all 5 sets are done. Then move onto the next exercise

A1) Pistols or lunges (here is a tutorial on how to do a pistol squat)
A2) Military pushups or ring dips
A3) Lying leg raise or hanging leg raise
A4) Hanging horizontal rows or chinups
A5) Wall bridges or bridges off the floor.

Lastly I would like to leave you with a more cardio orientated travel wod that is a favorite of mine. You know all the exercises, so here is the template.


All you have to do is go from 10 to 1 reps on everything in a huge giant set in the shortest time possible. So squats,situps,pushups, burpees and chinups for 10 reps each. Then for 9 reps each and down the line you go. That one above is my go-to travel wod because you can do it in any park. Occasionally I have to replace chins with under the table rows in a hotel.

All right. That was a lot of info. Is there anything I left out that you would like to know? Join the discussion or post time on your travel wods below and let me know what you think of these bodyweight workouts.

The rotating daily travel wods expanding and getting better. I’m just working on the techy stuff and the constraints of using no equipment.

Todays Travel Wod

For Time: Run 800m 100 Air Squats Run 800m


  1. lisa says

    RAY… it sounds like you thought of everything… can all of the workouts be available to download to iPod..Not that I have an iPOD yet…but I hope to soon…I’m still in the portable CD era…LOL.. 🙂

    Can’t WAIT! sounds like my kind of stuff ~~

  2. mcelder says

    what about making all the videos viewable on an ipod/iphone? that’d be really amazing and helpful. and would set your stuff even further apart.

  3. says

    I just finished a cool five round circuit workout in the park this morning and am getting it ready for ipod to put into the commando bodyweight boot camp. 🙂 Thanks!

  4. Todd Davis says

    Ray, Will this have a “prescribed” routine already set up or will it just be a list of exercises? Personally I would like a routine lined out but then be able to modify as I progress and also to add some variety. Thanks for everything your doing.

  5. says

    Hey Todd, yes, this is going to be “prescribed”. I’m seriously proud of this project. It has three months on progressive prescribed workouts, all the nutritional advice and tons of video to back it up.

    I just got on the band wagon and pretty much have all the bits tied up and done now. I will be releasing the test version very shortly for a discounted price just to make sure it passes “The Reader Test” and I fix any shortcoming based on reader response. You can get on that pre-release list at

  6. Dennis Brown says


    When I was in the US Air Force twenty years ago, I developed bursitus in both shoulders (probably from carrying heavy tool boxes) and it is more pronounced in the left. I can do most every day activities without difficulty but I can’t throw or push effectively with arms raised. I can do push ups and hymilain push ups, assisted hand stands and assisted dips but I have problems even doing assisted pull ups, it feels like I am relying on my legs too much.

    Do I just need to continue with the assisted pull ups and slowly increase the load on my arms, or is there something else I can do to build up my arms and shoulders?


  7. Tammy says

    Hey Ray,

    I would love to know which body weight exercises I can do to strengthen my upper body to prepare me for chin ups. I am looking for exercises that would only require the use of my body with no chairs, bars, etc. (aside from push ups). In general, developing upper body strength is key for me.


  8. Tammy says


    How important is it to develop my grip strength for doing exercises outdoors in the playground (like hanging leg raises or chins), and are there exercises specifically designed for this?


  9. Tammy says

    When training the lower abdominals, what exercise combinations could be used to train that area and also build strength in the lower back? I would also love to know how you would assess someone’s lower abdominal strength in order to determine the best approach to improvement.

  10. Takumi says

    Do you think body weight training is more effective than lifting weights in the gym? I only have a couple of weeks to get ready for a vacation.

  11. admin says

    Hey Takumi, I don’t think either is more effective to the actual results. I think both have advantages and disadvantages. If I was in a hurry to get in shape, I would do a weight lifting circuit like “The Bear” with sprints on my off days. Then cut carbs, do a steak and eggs and salad type deal until you go away with one or two carb up days a week depending on how your body is reacting. I would also go I.F.

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