On the Road: Mike Clausen's Anywhere, Anytime Vacation Workout

By Mike Clausen

We just returned from our fourth trip to teach bootcamps for the Atlantis Land Resorts, our second time in Puerto Vallarta. We had a great time, teaching about 20 to 25 guys for eight classes throughout the week. In the workouts, we  incorporated push, pull, yoga, corrective work, and cardio, as well as speaking to the guys about integrating holistic practices into their lifestyle. The guys working out with us were on vacation, but were determined to make vacation a time for changing things up, not slacking off.   

Even as I was teaching this great group of guys, I noticed that a lot of people at the resort spent an hour or more in the hotel gym each day. But why? Why would you spend your time on vacation on the stairmaster? Does that make any sense at all? And yet, people would pass up the outdoor workout class, not to mention swimming or walking on the beach, to spend 30 minutes on the stairmaster or treadmill. Not only did they burn fewer calories than if they'd joined one of our classes, they also wound up breaking down their bodies more. The guys who did our functional training workouts were able to both burn calories and focus on strength training, which will help to release growth hormone instead of cortisol. My point is that vacation is a time to get out of your daily rut. Try something new—don't just fall back on what you always do. Just as with your workouts, your body needs to have its routine shaken up. Vacation is the perfect chance to try something new. 

With that in mind, I invite you to try out one of our Puerto Vallarta workouts for yourself. You don't need elaborate equipment or machines—just your own strength, your body-weight, and some motivation. Take this workout outside, take it on the road—but give it a try. It's time to change things up.

Exercise Muscle Group(s) Reps/Time Details
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch Psoas/Quads 30 seconds From a kneeling position, with legs staggered forward and back (you can also have one toe on the wall). For the stretch, first squeeze your butt cheeks, then rotate your body towards your front leg and extend your rear arm up overhead as you twist and look up toward the ceiling. HOld for 30 seconds. Then switch sides.
Partner Oblique Stretch Obliques 30 seconds Stand side by side with your partner (or a wall) in a staggered stance with inside leg front. Lean onto your partner's shoulder (or the wall) with your close arm and arch over with your outside arm to grab onto the hand of your partner (or the wall) stretching your outside oblique. Swap sides.
Partner Hamstring Stretch Test Hamstrings 30 seconds We are using this stretch more as a test for hamstring flexibility rather than just a stretch. LOTS of us tend to do hamstring stretches because they feel good, when we actually do not need to be doing them at all. So with a partner, lying on your back, raise one leg straight up to test and see how high you can raise your leg without bending the knee. If you can get your leg to 90 degrees and keep it straight, you do not need to do any hamstring stretches. In fact, doing hamstring stretches would most likely make your hamstrings weaker. If you CANNOT reach 90 degrees, then use this as a 30 second hold stretch.
Partner Chest Stretch Major and minor pectorals; shoulders 30 seconds Have your partner stand with staggered stance in front of you. With his arms outstreched and their thumbs in the up position, slowly grab his plams and bring his arms back so that the chest opens up. Have him keep the chest up and don't round shoulders forward. Again, without a partner perform your own stretch using a wall to press one arm against and draw the chest away from the wall to open one side of the pectorals; then switch to the other side.
Squats Legs 10 Stand with feet hip width apart. From the starting position, slowly lower down to a fully squatted position, pulling your weight down through your leg muscles as you descend. Keep your weight back on your heels as you go down. Push your chest out very slightly in front of you to counterbalance the heavy load on your heels. On the last squat, hold for 10 seconds at the bottom of your movement.
Planks (Hold with posture, max push-ups to hold) Shoulders, core, chest 10 second hold to max push-ups to 10 second hold Holding the top of a push-up position, keep straight spine alignment with neck in line with shouder blades in line with bottom of your lumbar spine (at your waistband). Then, holding posture, do as many push-ups as you can. When you cannot do any more then hold the plank posture again.
Split Squats Legs 20 per leg Start with legs staggered front/back and drop into a kneeling position with your knee tapping the ground (not resting). In low position, both knees should be in right angles and your spine straight up and down. If quads or hip flexors are too tight to drop all the way down, then go as low as you can while keeping your form.  Keep both feet pointing front throughout. Do 20 on one leg, and then switch for 20 on the second leg.
Horse Stance Horizontal Full Body 30 seconds per side Get on your hands and knees with the hands beneath the shoulders and the knees beneath the hips. Gently lift one hand and the opposite knee off the ground without rotating the hips or shifting the weight to one side. Keeping the belly button drawn in to the spine, extend the leg out behind you, and extend the shoulder out to about 45 degrees in front. The thumb should be facing up towards the sky. As you extend the leg, ensure the hips do not rotate. Return to the start position and repeat on the other side.
Hip Bridge (Doubles, march, singles) Full Body Alternate for 12 pairs Start in a downward dog position, with arms extended and legs straight, hips in air, head between biceps. Slowly lower your chin toward the ground, then your chest, and then sweep your hips through until you are in upward dog position with shoulders back and head front. Slowly lower chest and chin to floor again going back into downward dog position. Alternate between the two for set.
Jog (Side steps, reverse jog, tree weave) Legs 5 minutes For five minutes, alternate between a regular jog, side steps, reverse jog, and weaving between trees.
Lunge Series with Twist and Stretch Legs, Core 6 per leg Step out into a right leg low lunge with back left leg straight and both hands on floor inside right leg. Reach right arm up to sky and rotate upper body to look up. Then rotate right arm through under left armpit. Then place both hands on ground on each side of right leg and sit back with both legs straight into a hamstring stetch. Finally, bend both knees into low lunge and step left leg up beside right leg. Repeat on opposite leg.
Balance Test Legs, Balance 15 per leg Stand on right leg with hands up above head. Bend down and tap right toes with left hand without tapping left leg onto ground. Repeat for full set without touching left leg. Repeat on opposite side.
Jog (Side steps, reverse jog, tree weave) Legs 5 minutes For five minutes, alternate between a regular jog, side steps, reverse jog, and weaving between trees.
Elbow Side Pillar Obliques, Hips, Shoulders 30 seconds per direction Lying on your right side, prop yourself up with your right elbow directly on ground under your right shoulder. Raise hips off ground and hold top maintaining a straight spine throughout. Repeat on opposite side.
Full Sit-ups Upper abs 15 Lie back with legs straight and arms overhead. Bring arms up towards your toes, tuck your chin to chest and slowly raise your shoulders up off of the floor, rolling up into a full sit-up if possible, vertebra by vertebra. Then slowly roll back down to flat. Hands on chest or on head if you are strong enough.
Lower Abs (Basic and Intermediate) Lower Abs 20 seconds hold to 12 lifts each leg Lie flat on your back with knees bent and hands tucked back under your lower (lumbar) spine with finger tips touching directly under your spine at the height of your belly button (L3 vertebrae). Inhale and as you exhale, flatten out your abs and pull in your belly button to put pressure onto your fingers under your spine. Hold. If this is easy, then straighten out your legs and do the same motion. In whichever position you can maintain, lift your foot off the floor and bring it back down again. Alternate for a set of 12 with each leg.
Upper Only Cobra Hold Lower/Middle Traps 60 seconds Start by lying face down, flat on the ground with your feet together. Position your hands to the sides about shoulder level. Gently push your upper body off the floor a few inches at a time, while keeping the legs on the ground. It should feel like you're doing a press-up, but relaxing the stomach and back muscles. Keep looking up at all times and push slowly a little at a time until you feel the stretch in the stomach or lower back muscles. Keep your shoulder blades pulled back and chest open throughout. If this stretch feels uncomfortable, push just a few inches off the floor.

About Billy Polson and Mike Clausen: Billy Polson and Mike Clausen are co-founders of the award-winning Diakadi Body personal training gym and creators of RealJock's 12-week Workout Programs. Have burning questions about your fitness that you want Billy and Mike to answer? Send an email to