Here’s a great summer fitness tip: If you drive to your summer vacation then there’s no reason for you to not take your best training partners with you, the versatile kettlebells and the trusty sledgehammer.

This summer the family and I are going back to the Green Mountains of Vermont for summer vacation, and you’d be hard pressed to find a better place to engage in some serious outdoor training. Several years ago, when I really got bit by the kettlebell bug, I took my giryas along for the ride to the Green Mountain State and got hooked on the whole out-door, portable workout thing. And I can’t think of a better place to take my new best workout friend – the sledgehammer.

For many of you fitness tips that involve taking workout gear on the road is probably a foreign concept, but training outside, on vacation is one of the best things that you can do for your fitness level. First of all, I’m all for anything that gets people out of the gym once in a while, especially on vacation. Nothing is worse than spending vacation time in the gym. Oh sure, once in a while you can hit the gym while on holiday, but as a rule try to get as many of your vacation workouts as possible outdoors. Be creative in your implementation of these tools of fitness. Incorporate the things that you’ve learned here and use your imagination, taking into the account the specifics of your location to make your outdoor, vacation workouts as effective and as interesting as possible.

Take kettlebell and sledgehammer training to the beach. Swing and press the giryas, hit the sand with the sledge and throw in some sprints on the sand to really challenge yourself. As a quick aside, if you vacation at the beach and don’t do sprints and shuttles on the beach you are really cheating yourself. Sprinting on the beach is the king – THE KING – of workouts. Once you get over the whole “everybody is looking at me like I’m an axe murderer” complex, you’ll have no problem taking these fitness tools with you on the road and out into public. People may think that you’re crazy, but really this can be a good thing. If, like me, your goal is to be left alone on vacation, your public workouts may work in your favor. Although I have found that my outdoor, offbeat training sessions make people very curious and some brave folks ask questions. Here are some fitness tips to follow for “on-the-road” workouts.

If you have as little as 10 yards of open area incorporate shuttle runs in the workout. A shuttle run involves running back and forth over a short course, usually 10-15 yards for a total of 20-60 yards, and doesn’t even have to be on a flat area. There’s nothing that says sprints, agility and other conditioning runs need to be done on a track or level ground, and “terrain training” is very challenging. The great thing about kettlebells is that as long as you’re outside, there’s nothing that you can’t do with them. Of course, swinging and pressing are the staples of the kettlebell workouts, but if you have enough area – a beach or yard is perfect – you can even swing throw the kettlebell.

The swing throw is a simple variation of the basic two-handed kettlebell swing that incorporates a release at the top of the swing so that the kettlebell is thrown. Swing throws can increase the intensity level of a workout and are the perfect complement to some good old fashion sledgehammer swings. At the beach or in the woods you can take your sledgehammer on a jog with you.

All you need to do is scope out a course where you can run for 15-30 seconds and then be able to take swings with the sledgehammer. This is easy at the beach since sand is always there ready to be hit. In the woods, this kind of course can be a little tougher to scope out since there’s a need to have some tree stumps or logs handy.

But hey, you’re on vacation, you should have some extra time to take care of this kind of stuff. Remember, vacation is a time to recharge batteries and get away from the usual routine, and that goes for your workouts, too. So take along a few basic pieces of equipment and get creative, you’ll enjoy unique workouts and have a great time to boot.


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