The thing about being a professional dancer is, you are constantly being asked to perform your best no matter your surroundings or external circumstances. From buses to planes. From high altitudes and frigid climates, to hot humid outdoor stages.
It’s amazing how much we put our bodies through. Half the time, dancers aren’t even provided a gym to keep their bodies primed for the demands of their shows.
What’s one way I’ve found to combat all of this craziness?
Having a stash of the best travel workout equipment in my bag.
It may sound simple, but knowing I have everything I need to get in a good workout or recovery session before and after my shows takes away a lot of my stress.
In fact, having the best travel workout equipment in my bag has come in handy so many times I decided to make you a little shopping list.
Use this guide to the best travel workout equipment the next time you’re headed on a contract and I’m sure you won’t miss a beat – no matter the accommodations! The best part? None of them will weigh down your suitcase! These are all airline weight-requirement approved!
Long workout bands have been the secret sauce to home and hotel workouts for ages. From pull-downs to deadlifts, these workout bands will allow you to keep up your resistance training even if you don’t have access to a gym.
This brand is high quality and comes with a handy travel bag!
Like long workout bands, short workout bands are also a staple of the “gym-less workout.”
Banded side steps, band-resisted knee drives, seated hip abductors, lat pull-downs, and bent-over rows are just some of the exercises made possible by these little guys.
This brand also comes with a travel bag and is super lightweight despite its versatility!
*Hot Tip: throw these in your dance bag for a pre-barre arm and back blast!*
Travel Yoga Mat:
This might sound excessive when you *could* just throw a towel down. But take it from someone who has had to warm up on concrete, a little padding can go a long way in keeping your body feeling its best. Not to mention keeping your towels (and body) off of hotel room carpets!
This travel yoga mat is grippy, has adequate padding, and folds up easily into a suitcase. No more carrying your yoga mat on your dance bag exposed to the airport elements!
Where are my pilates and ab workout junkies? These sliders will expand your options for core and stability work exponentially. Pike ups, hamstring curls, bear plank tucks, and sliding lunges, are all possible on nearly any surface with these lightweight sliders!
Throw them in your dance bag for warmups or add them to your hotel workout session for a tough finisher the opportunities are endless!
Shaker bottle/water bottle combo:
This list of the best travel workout equipment would not be complete without this shaker bottle.
Why? Because this shaker bottle does not require a metal agitator, making this the *perfect* shaker bottle for any performer.
No more careful sips backstage trying not to make the metal ball clatter. No more carrying around a shaker and a water bottle. When you’re done with your protein rinse, and refill without the worry of being noisy backstage. Want to have your pre-workout backstage? No worries there!
Bonus? This shaker is stainless steel, which makes it easy to wash and staves off that yucky protein powder stink that tends to get stuck in plastic.
Don’t laugh at me, but I always have this collapsable sink plunger in my dance bag. It’s lightweight and the recovery it offers my muscles is unmatched!
While foam rolling can be helpful in some ways. If a muscle is especially exhausted or overworked, sometimes the last thing it needs is to be smashed against something to loosen up.
This sink plunger offers gentle suction, not dissimilar to cupping, that offers excellent myofascial release.
You can use this on your IT band, thighs, and calves, really anywhere you can safely reach or have a friend reach. Simply suction the cup onto the muscle, then gently slide it along the muscle to create a release.
This can also be used on cranky knees for decompression! Suction the cup around the kneecap then, gently, lift for a couple of seconds and rest. Repeat three or four times and follow with hip and thigh stretches for blood flow.
It wouldn’t be a list of the best travel workout equipment if I didn’t mention your body. That’s right, your body is one of the best tools you have. Harvard Medical School loves bodyweight workouts, and when compared to other workouts felt bodyweight sessions had too many perks to ignore!
Not only is it convenient, but it’s incredibly effective. You can’t just remove a five-pound dumbbell from your body, but you can adjust the exercise to suit your level.
On top of that, bodyweight workouts tend to be chock full of functional moves that only increase your quality of life, let alone your technique.
Going for walks, jogs, and even gentle stretch sessions will make a huge difference in your mindset and physical capabilities when you’re on a contract away from home. So don’t discount this amazing tool that you live in!
Well, that’s our list of the best travel workout equipment for dancers on the go. What did you think? Even if you bought all of these, you wouldn’t even fill a backpack! (At least not the way we dancers pack our bags!)
On top of that, the workouts you could build with these tools are endless. And if you ever aren’t feeling confident about building a travel-style workout on your own, reach out to us! Between the Body Mechanics Program, Embodied Artist Academy, or our Workout Wednesday blogs, we would love to point you to the best resource for your needs.