|By dint of a late arrival, lousy weather, or disorientation, you might opt to venture no farther than your own hotel room. Don’t worry: It could be a good time to let go of a full-blown cardiovascular workout and concentrate on strength training. And if Gene Coleman, strength and conditioning coach for the Houston Astros, has his way with you, you’ll be, as the Texan charmingly puts it, “sweating like a pig.”
First, decide you’re going to take this jail-cell session seriously: Set aside 30 minutes to run through Coleman’s full-body routine, which requires no weights, though a metropolitan phone book helps with executing some of the moves. Coleman suggests interspersing crunches of your choice between upper-body and lower-body exercises. Throw in a minute or two of skipping rope at an even pace between exercises and your body will never miss the health club.
Place a chair to the right of where you’re standing and hold the back with your right hand to steady yourself. Tuck your right ankle behind your left leg. Now lower your weight slowly until you can touch the floor with your left hand, and be sure to keep your back straight and your head up. Slowly stand and repeat. Do one set of ten with each leg.
Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart or slightly narrower, your feet flat, and your arms straight in front of you for balance. Raise all the way up on your tiptoes and lower slowly. Do a set of 20.
Start your upper-body routine with triceps-blasting chair dips. Position yourself with your hands holding the edges of a chair, your legs straight out in front of you, heels resting on the bed. Lower yourself until your upper arms become parallel with the floor, and then push back up. Do two sets of ten.
To keep from going bonkers, try this variation on the familiar lunge. Stand with your feet together, your back straight, and your hands on your hips. Step your right foot one full stride straight out to the side, pointing your toe that direction rather than straight forward. Keeping your left leg straight, with the toe pointed forward, lower your right leg until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Repeat ten times on each side.
Lie flat on your stomach with your hands folded under your chin. Position yourself so that your left leg is straight and your right is bent at the knee with your lower leg pointing up, foot parallel to the ceiling. Slowly raise your right knee as far as you can, and then lower it. Do a set of 15 on each side.
To balance the benefit of crunches, you’ll want to do something for your back. This is where the phone book comes in handy. Stand with your back about six inches from a wall, your feet shoulder-width apart, and your knees slightly bent. Hold the phone book straight in front of you with both hands. Holding your arms straight, slowly twist and touch the book to the wall in each direction, pivoting from the waist and keeping your feet planted. Do ten complete reps.
Place your hands on the floor beneath your sternum, form a diamond with your thumbs and forefingers, and look straight down. Do two sets of 15 push-ups. Be sure to keep your body plank-straight. For a more difficult exercise, elevate your toes (the phone book again), which puts more weight over your arms. Another option is to do step-ups with your hands: Get in push-up position, phone book just in front of your fingertips, and alternate placing hands onto the book. Do 20; it’s more difficult than it sounds.
Roll up one of those lovely hotel towels and, gripping it with your arms extended before you, give it a twist. Do a set of ten, twisting harder and rolling the towel tighter with each rep. Repeat in the opposite direction.