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davidjgalloway
07-01-2014, 10:15 PM
My WIP has a female MC in her early 20's who for various reasons lives abroad and has no real home, so she's often in hotels or rented apartments and has a lot of time on her hands.

What are a couple of physical exercises she can be doing that (1) demonstrate that she's in better physical shape than 80-90% of her peers and (2) don't necessarily involve specialized training?

She would have had to find these out on her own, so advanced martial-arts moves are unlikely. Nothing that would require a trainer or years of practice, more along the lines of brute strength/flexibility/endurance training. She could have a jump-rope or something portable, but no weights or other equipment. This is time-unspecified but contemporary, so no Crossfit or other references.

I know lots of hotels have fitness centers, but she wants her privacy as much as possible and is a loner.

If you can give a number of reps she might be able to do of the exercise, that would help as well. (I don't want, for instance, to have her doing an unrealistic number of pushups.)

Thanks!

EarlyBird
07-01-2014, 10:19 PM
Perform a hundred sit ups in a minute.

Jump over a park bench.

Climb ten stories of stairs without stopping.

Do 'real' pushups, not the girlie kind on her knees.

Jerboa
07-01-2014, 10:35 PM
Why not martial arts? I'm a blue belt in karate and have lady parts.

Anyway. Swimming?

Bolero
07-01-2014, 10:38 PM
One handed push ups?
Hanging from the door frame to the bathroom pull ups? (Need a broad and meaty door frame.)
Weight lifting using bits of furniture - as in a stool or small table.

Marlys
07-01-2014, 10:44 PM
The most portable endurance sport I can think of is running. Not great for flexibility, but I know a lot of runners who do yoga to make up for that. Both very easy to do while traveling. You wouldn't get brute strength necessarily, but I wasn't sure if you meant she needed all three or not.

Hoplite
07-01-2014, 10:44 PM
What are a couple of physical exercises she can be doing that (1) demonstrate that she's in better physical shape than 80-90% of her peers and (2) don't necessarily involve specialized training?

Besides lots of sit-ups and push-ups in short succession?
-One handed push ups
-One handed pull ups


She could have a jump-rope or something portable, but no weights or other equipment.A tree branch serves as a pull up bar; anything with significant weight (i.e. books, buckets of water, etc.) can be used for "weights".

There are also those stretch things that you can pull on.


If you can give a number of reps she might be able to do of the exercise, that would help as well. (I don't want, for instance, to have her doing an unrealistic number of pushups.)Disclaimer: I'm no exercise guru, but:

I'd say doing 50 push ups without break would get the message across, without her being she-hulk. Sit ups I'd peg at 80 or 100. Pull ups, 20 would be impressive. This of course takes no account for how many in a day she might be able to do. That could be in the hundreds easily. ETA: this is for 'regular', not one-handed push ups/pull ups.

mirandashell
07-01-2014, 10:47 PM
In my experience, any exercise a man can do, a woman can also do. Exercise isn't gender-restricted

noranne
07-01-2014, 10:48 PM
Pull ups. Burpees. (You can use a different name for that if that feels too specific.)

davidjgalloway
07-01-2014, 10:49 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. These are good.

I didn't mean that she couldn't learn martial arts, just that she didn't before this whole narrative started, so she has no background in it.

She's hanging around with some shady people, so she tries to keep active because for various reasons she's afraid of being taken advantage of.

And I wasn't implying that any exercise was gender-restricted. I just wanted to make sure I didn't say anything ridiculous that either (1) was kind of pathetic, which doesn't support her strong image or (2) was so unbelievably Olympian that nobody would believe it, causing readers to break from the narrative.

ironmikezero
07-01-2014, 11:00 PM
Another vote for "real" push ups... uses every muscle in the body to some degree. And it's one of the easiest to master and build upon.

Here's how: start prone, hands flat at shoulder width or slightly wider (if comfortable). Keeping the back perfectly straight - form really matters - push up, straightening the arms, lower the body at the same rate, repeat as often as you can. If your form gets sloppy, stop. Rest and repeat.

Here's the trick... If you can only do 3, 5, 10... no problem. Tomorrow do one more than you did today - that's all, just one. Be diligent - do this every day. It only takes less than a minute (no kidding, time yourself). In a month, you'll be doing 30 or more in a minute or less.

You won't believe how good you'll feel, both physically and in terms of self esteem. It doesn't cost you anything but a minute a day.

It's your story, but if you want to have a character develop strength and improved self esteem, especially if it has to be essentially very simple, and she has no other means at her disposal (and is motivated), this is a good technique.

Los Pollos Hermanos
07-03-2014, 12:39 AM
Holding the plank for as long as possible. I've done that and also taken a resistance band when away from home. Both quiet, solitary and ideal for a hotel room.

badwolf.usmc
07-03-2014, 01:29 AM
http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness-programs-article/2863/Top-25-At-Home-Exercises/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burpee_%28exercise%29

Some simple stuff there, but more than what most people do. If you want her to sound "fit" then have her do a hundred burpees with pushups. That is average military/Spartan Race level of fitness. If you are limited on space/time/equipment, that is one of the best whole body workouts you can do.

Bing Z
07-03-2014, 01:46 AM
Check out: Sarah Kustok tries the Nets' Offseason Workout (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSjra46BgqQ)

Comes with routine names and illustrations. They may look simple or tough but that's what professional basketball players do and yet Sarah, a former college basketball player, can handle, barely.

Sartre
07-03-2014, 02:22 AM
Use baked bean cans as weights and do as many reps as possible - this won't build up muscle mass a great deal but will definitely help tone your arms, shoulders and chest and give you more strength.

Another idea is to lay flat on your back and lift both legs up together slowly and lower them slowly. Again, do as many of these as you can. This will tone up and strengthen the tummy muscles.

Lastly, run (or walk) up and down stairs in the hotel several times. This will help build up stamina. This can be done either early in the morning or late at night when no one is around.

Bolero
07-03-2014, 10:22 PM
I know burpees as squat thrusts - maybe a UK US difference.

I wouldn't have her doing them in her hotel bedroom - folks below and to either side would get well annoyed by the noise.

Alpha Echo
07-03-2014, 10:37 PM
I know burpees as squat thrusts - maybe a UK US difference.

I wouldn't have her doing them in her hotel bedroom - folks below and to either side would get well annoyed by the noise.

Squat thrusts are different, at least here in the US. But good point on the noise. She could do them outside, though.

There are many variations to burpees. High knees are no joke either.

badwolf.usmc
07-04-2014, 04:21 AM
I know burpees as squat thrusts - maybe a UK US difference.

I wouldn't have her doing them in her hotel bedroom - folks below and to either side would get well annoyed by the noise.

Squat thrusts don't have the jump included as the 4th count of the exercise. In the military, a burpee with a push-up is a 6 count exercise called a Bodybuilder. I've done them in hotels without issue.

Orianna2000
07-05-2014, 01:22 AM
I second the idea of using canned food as weights. I've used bottles of water, also. You can start small, just a pound in each hand, and do all kinds of different arm motions to work the muscles in your arms/shoulders/upper back. Gradually add more weight, or more reps.

One exercise my friends and I used to do when we were teens is to lie flat on your back and bend your knees, raising your legs into the air, and pedaling--like you're riding a bicycle, but lying down, with your legs in the air. It works both your legs and your abs, and it's mostly silent.

PeteMC
07-07-2014, 12:18 AM
A woman can do any exercise a man can do. Pullups, pushups, sit-ups, dips (between chairs or cupboards works), jump-squats, anything like that.

If she's hanging with shady people maybe someone spars with her, a boxing/wrestling/streetfighting type of thing?

jennontheisland
07-07-2014, 05:13 AM
Fitness routines are fitness routines, regardless of sex or gender.

But parkour is something that needs no props, can be done anywhere (outside) and demonstrates character traits quite well. 8 foot wall? goes right over it (stone ones are particularly easy and I'm only 5').

mayqueen
07-09-2014, 06:36 PM
I'm a powerlifter (and female), and when I travel, I substitute bodyweight exercises. I agree with everyone who said push-ups and planks. If your MC does sets of 30-50, I think that's conceivable and would demonstrate her strength (and that's something she can work up to). I also agree with jump-squats. Another thought is wall-sits, where you brace your back against a wall and sit in a squat position. Burpees, too. If she's short, she can do pull-ups. (Maybe it's just me, but I'm tall and even though I'm pretty strong, I couldn't do a pull-up if you put a gun to my head.)

slhuang
07-09-2014, 07:11 PM
There are lots of variations to push ups, too. Wide push ups, diamond push ups, tricep pushups, finger push ups. Push ups on a medicine ball (or substitute, if she doesn't have something like that). Elevated feet, widened feet, weight on your back. One-armed pushups, as others have said (or one-armed finger push ups!). Handstand pushups are *killer* -- handstand against the wall or not; most people have a lot of trouble with these without a spotter or assist. I'd consider, say, doing 10 handstand pushups to be quite impressive.

There are all different types of crunches/situps/leg lifts you can do, too, that work different parts of the abs. There are also a zillion different stretches you can do on your own (and stretching can be a killer workout as well).

Lunges, squats (with jumps or not), jumping jacks, high knees, sprints. You can combine all sorts of stuff, too -- do X and then sprint, do 10 of Y, sprint...

Holding positions -- plank, holding a seated position (against the wall as others have said, or she can do as martial artists do and hold something similar to a horse stance in the middle of the room...in one school I used to have to be able to balance a staff across my knees and stay there, in another we would hold a horse stance for 4 minutes every class and go deeper every minute).

If you throw in a tree branch for pull ups, she can also do other exercises off it, like hanging from her knees (or knee) to do situps upside down. I've also known (female) rock climbers who could do crazy things like one-finger pullups. Totally insane.

rainsmom
07-16-2014, 04:30 AM
Crossfit workout of the day (WOD), where she finds substitutes for anything that requires equipment. You can get details on the WODs at the Crossfit site.