The Picnic Table Workout: No Gym, No Problem!

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Yes, you can stay fit on the road! It just takes a little creativity.


Exercising on the road is challenging, even for people who workout regularly back home. You don’t have your same equipment, or same routes, or even your same schedule when you’re RVing.

But don’t let those challenges become excuses! With a little outside-the-box thinking, you can still get a great workout without schlepping lots of heavy, bulky exercise gear with you in the RV.

Enter, your campsite picnic table:



As long as your table is sturdy and safe, you’ve got a valuable piece of gym equipment right outside your RV door. Using a table as a workout prop can even provide a chance to engage additional muscles you might not otherwise use with typical no-table bodyweight exercises.

The 5 strength-building exercises I’ve shared here are all complementary to one another, so when you do them together you’ll get a full-body strength workout with a strong focus on your core. If you do this workout at least twice a week during your trip, along with your regular cardio, you should finish the trip without having lost any of your fitness gains… and you’ll be ready to jump back into your old routines at home.



DIRECTIONS: First, test the sturdiness of your table, and only proceed if your table can maintain your bodyweight with no wobble, give, or any other concerns. Do these 5 exercises in a circuit, and go through the circuit 3 times.


Dead Bug Getups: 10-15 reps.

With a mat on the tabletop, stand with your back to the edge of the table. Carefully, sit on the tabletop and then, very slowly, lie back on the mat bringing your knees up above your hips. From there, roll back up to sitting and then stand up—all in one slow-controlled movement. You can use your hands on the table to assist you during any stage of the move. For an extra challenge, add a jump each time you stand back up. To make it easier, don’t lie all the way back. Instead, lean back just enough to feel your abs engage, keeping your spine straight.


Spider Pushups: 8-12 reps.

Place your hands on either the table-top (easier) or the seat (harder) and get yourself in a plank position. As you bend your elbows to perform a pushup, simultaneously lunge one leg forward. Beginners, shift your weight forward to the lunging foot—this will give you an assist on the pushup. Advanced, keep your weight on the non-moving leg and only tap the lunging leg forward to make the pushup harder. Return to your plank start position and then repeat the move on the other leg to complete one rep.


Sit to Stand Shuffles: 6-10 reps.

Sit facing outwards on the right end of the bench seat. Plant your feet at hip width apart and stand up. Then, quickly side-shuffle to the left end of the bench seat, and slowly sit down (slower challenges your muscles more). Stand back up and quickly side-shuffle back to the right side. Again, slowly sit down. All of that completes one repetition. Note: Beginners should do a low impact side-step in place of the higher impact side-shuffle. Take large exaggerated side-steps to better engage your leg muscles.


Sideplank Crunches: 8-12 per side.

Get in a sideways plank with your hand on the tabletop (easier) or seat (harder), and your planked arm straight. Your free arm reaches overhead in one straight line with the rest of your body. That’s the start position. To perform the move, exhale as you slowly drive your free arm and the knee of your upper leg together. Return to start position. Keep your core tightened, and focus on maintaining good alignment. Do all reps on one side before repeating on the other side.


Sky Bridges: 10-15 reps per side.

Lie on your back with one heel on the seat. Exhale as you very slowly lift your hips. Your weight should be on your heel and your upper back – not your neck. As you lift your hips, simultaneously lift your free leg up to the sky (totally fine to keep the knee bent). Your core should be tight, with both hips aligned and parallel to the ground. Slowly lower back down to complete one rep. Finish all reps on one side before repeating on the other.


Next RV trip, hope you’ll try this workout! Because there’s no way around it, exercise is non-negotiable for aging well. The trick is to make your workouts as fun and interesting as you can—like using your campsite picnic table. Doesn’t that sound much more enjoyable than a gym?

Be well, all!

❤️Trainer Stef

Want to see more of my workouts? CLICK HERE!


After 15 years as an educator in both the public K-12 setting and the University level in Special Physical Education, Stef made the leap to her true passion… the fitness world. She’s currently a personal trainer and wellness coach specializing in seniors, medical conditions, and injuries. Stef loves running, cycling, and being “Mugga” to her two favorite mini-humans — Punky and Marshmallow. ❤️

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