The Pillow Workout: Exercises for Extremely Cramped Spaces

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It’s cold here in Utah right now. I’m not complaining or anything. Actually, James and I really LIKE cold weather RVing. We get to switch out our summer toys for the winter ones, and the change keeps things fresh and interesting.


Sometimes when it’s cold, I go into full-on Wimp Mode. I don’t want to leave our tiny little RV. I look out “Lance’s” frosted-up windows at the cold-blowing wind, and would rather have a root canal than open that slider door.

The Fit RV Cold Weather Snow Camping

It’s a stay inside kind of day…

This can make getting exercise and staying fit on the road a bit of a challenge. Compared to my exercise options in the summer, it limits what I can do. But! With a little creativity, you can actually get a great workout doing bodyweight exercises that don’t require a lot of space. Below are five great examples.


Exercises To Stay Fit in Small Spaces


Directions: Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise. Grab a pillow and you’re all set.


Pillow Passes:

(works your core strength, general functional strength, and range of motion in your shoulders and hips)

Cramped Pillow Pass Exercise Small Spaces Workout

Lie on your back and round your spine into the ground. Keep it like that. DO NOT let it arch off the floor during any phase of the exercise. If it feels like it’s arching, don’t lower your legs so far. Start with the pillow in your hands, lifted over your head while your legs are simultaneously extended straight out at a diagonal. Bring your legs and arms together and pass the pillow from your hands to your legs. Now that the pillow is between your ankles, once again extend your arms and legs out at a diagonal, and then bring them together to pass the pillow back to your hands.


Pillow Scorpion Curls:

(works your glutes, core, hip range of motion)

Cramped Space Exercise Scorpions Fit in your RV

Get on your hands and knees (use something soft under your knees for comfort). Squeeze the pillow between your calf and your hamstrings by keeping your knee bent. Slowly lift the pillow as high as you can and tightly squeeze your glutes. Slowly lower back down.


Yoga Pushups:

(works your chest, core, and shoulder strength, as well as hip and knee range of motion and flexibility in your back and shoulders)

Cramped Exercises for Small Spaces Workout Fit RV

Get into yoga child’s pose with the pillow under your knees (sit back on your heels and lie down over your thighs with your hands stretched forward, as in the top photo). Slowly lie down on your stomach with your hands palms-down at the sides of your chest. Press back into child’s pose.


Clam Squeezes:

(works your glutes and inner thigh strength, as well as your hip range of motion)

Cramped Space Exercise Clam Squeezes

Lie on your side with your hips stacked and slightly flexed. Place the pillow between your knees. Squeeze the pillow with your thighs slowly, and then externally rotate your hip so that your top knee comes up towards the ceiling, while making sure you keep the inside edges of your shoes touching.


Pillow Worshippers:

(works your legs, glutes, and core strength, as well as flexibility and range of motion in the chest, hips, shoulders, and core.)

Cramped Space Exercise Worshippers

Sit back on your heels (or as far as your knee range of motion will allow you to sit back) with the pillow in your hands. Slide it as far forward along the floor as you can. Next, come up to a tall kneeling position and lean back. Arch your spine as you reach the pillow up and slightly back.


Let me know if you need more clarification on any of these exercises. Happy travels, all, and keep on top of your fitness this holiday season!

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. ❤️

    4 thoughts on “The Pillow Workout: Exercises for Extremely Cramped Spaces

    1. Rhonda

      Thanks Stefany! I definitely needed an exercise routine to do daily. I have a morning fitness routine at home…but lacking while out on the road. Do you ever use any free weights in “Lance?” Thanks kindly!

    2. Al and Sherryl

      Good on ya! Some people won’t ‘get it’ but you gotta do what ya gotta do.’ Something we live by is the motto, ‘you can’t make up a missed workout.’ While we do cut ourselves some slack, it’s good to see how driven you guys are. 🙂 Keep rockin!

      1. Stefany - Post author

        I love that quote. Isn’t it interesting how a simple mantra like that can be enough motivation to get you to buck up and get it done?!?!


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