The Best Cabin Crew Workout Routine: Stay Fit and Strong in the Skies

As fellow cabin crew members, we understand that our job demands crazy long hours, frequent travel, and the need to be at our physical best to face cabin craziness. That’s why having a well-rounded workout routine is essential for maintaining our strength, flexibility, and overall well-being. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the best cabin crew workout routines, what exercises to avoid, and quick bodyweight routines for both your hotel room and gym visits. Let’s dive in!

 

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Why Staying Active is Essential for Cabin Crew

Before we get into the exercises, let’s understand why it’s crucial for us, as cabin crew members, to stay active:

1. Better Sleep:

      • Regular exercise is a powerful tool for improving the quality of your sleep. When you’re well-rested, you’re better equipped to handle the demands of your job. Deep, restful sleep during layovers and recovery time is crucial for maintaining your alertness and overall well-being during long flights.

      • The Science Behind It: Exercise helps regulate your circadian rhythms, making it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. It also promotes the release of serotonin and melatonin, hormones that play a key role in sleep regulation.

    2. Increased Energy:

      • The aviation industry operates around the clock, and as cabin crew members, we often face irregular schedules and long hours. Regular exercise can be your secret weapon for combating the fatigue that can come with the territory.

      • The Science Behind It: Exercise improves the efficiency of your cardiovascular system, leading to increased stamina and energy levels. It also enhances the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your cells, keeping you feeling more energized throughout your demanding shifts.

      3. Enhanced Mood:

        • Working in a high-pressure environment and dealing with passengers’ diverse needs can be stressful. However, exercise can be a natural mood booster, helping you maintain a positive mindset even on challenging days.

        • The Science Behind It: Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, often referred to as “feel-good” hormones. These endorphins act as natural painkillers and mood elevators, reducing stress and promoting a sense of well-being.

        4. Improved Endurance:

          • Cabin crew members are often required to move quickly, assist passengers, and handle a wide range of physical tasks during flights. Having a good level of physical endurance is essential for performing these duties efficiently.

          • The Science Behind It: Regular exercise improves muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance, ensuring you have the physical capacity to carry out your duties with ease and confidence.

          5. Back and Leg Strain Relief:

            • Prolonged periods of standing, lifting, and maneuvering in confined spaces can take a toll on your back and legs. A structured workout routine can help alleviate discomfort and prevent chronic issues.

            • The Science Behind It: Exercise strengthens the muscles that support your spine and legs, reducing the risk of strains and injuries. It also promotes flexibility, making it easier to move comfortably in tight spaces.

            But what are the main body muscles that a flight attendant needs to exercise?

            Flight Attendant skinny, without shirt, with gym gloves and white shorts, raising his hands surrounded by question marks, with a confused expression on his face

            Cabin crew members require strength and endurance in various muscle groups to perform their duties effectively, especially during long flights and layovers. Here are the main body muscles that a cabin crew member needs to strengthen:

            1. Leg Muscles:

              • Quadriceps (Front Thigh Muscles): These muscles are crucial for standing, walking, and lifting heavy objects, such as our loved water containers.

              • Hamstrings (Back Thigh Muscles): Hamstrings help with bending at the knees and are important for activities like squatting and bending down to pick up, for example when you operate the meal cart in Economy.

              • Calf Muscles: Strong calf muscles are essential for walking, climbing stairs, and maintaining balance while moving through the cabin.

              2. Core Muscles:

                • Rectus Abdominis (Abdominals): These muscles support your spine and help maintain an upright posture during long periods of standing.

                • Obliques (Side Abdominals): Strong oblique muscles contribute to core stability and help with twisting movements, which can be useful during in-flight tasks.

                • Lower Back Muscles (Erector Spinae): A strong lower back is vital for lifting and maintaining a good posture.

                3. Upper Body Muscles:

                  • Pectoral Muscles (Chest): These muscles are essential for pushing motions and assist with tasks like opening and closing overhead bins.

                  • Deltoid Muscles (Shoulders): Strong deltoids help with lifting and carrying objects, such as heavy trays, bags, or containers.

                  • Latissimus Dorsi (Back Muscles): These muscles play a role in pulling and lifting.

                    • Biceps and Triceps (Arm Muscles): Arm strength is important for lifting, pushing, and reaching tasks. Male crew… you will look so much better when you wear that short-sleeve shirt in summer.

                  4. Neck and Upper Back Muscles:

                    • Trapezius and Rhomboids: These muscles help maintain proper posture, which is essential for cabin crew members during in-flight service and when assisting passengers, or when you have to carry those heavy trays in business class.

                    5. Gluteal Muscles (Glutes):

                      • Strong gluteal muscles are essential for maintaining a stable base when standing, walking, and lifting. And many more eyes will turn when you walk down the aisle!

                      6. Hip Flexors:

                        • The hip flexor muscles assist with lifting the legs and maintaining balance while moving around the cabin.

                        7. Forearm and Hand Muscles:

                          • Strong forearms and hand muscles are necessary for tasks like opening and closing overhead bins and handling food and beverage carts.

                          8. Abductor and Adductor Muscles (Inner and Outer Thigh Muscles):

                            • These muscles are important for maintaining balance and stability when moving through narrow aisles.

                            9. Cardiovascular Endurance:

                              • While not a specific muscle group, cardiovascular endurance is crucial for sustaining energy levels during long flights and layovers.

                              Now, let’s dive into the exercises and routines that will help you maintain peak performance and strength, tailored to your unique needs and circumstances. We have carefully curated three distinct workout routines, taking into consideration the muscle groups essential for your job on board, the time constraints, and whether you have access to equipment or not.

                              The Best 1 Hour Workout Routine for Cabin Crew (No Equipment, No Excuses)

                              Flight Attendant in her hotel room, wearing green yoga pants, balancing on her right leg, and raising laterally the left leg. An elastic bend just above the knees apply resistence.

                              Here’s a full 1-hour bodyweight and resistance band workout routine that cabin crew members can do anywhere. This routine can be progressively challenging as you increase repetitions, resistance band tension, or incorporate more advanced variations of each exercise. It’s designed to target multiple muscle groups while improving overall strength and endurance. Make sure to warm up with some light stretching and cardio before starting the routine.

                              Warm-Up (5 minutes):

                                • Jumping jacks: 1 minute

                                • Arm circles: 1 minute

                                • Leg swings: 1 minute (30 seconds per leg)

                                • High knees: 1 minute

                                • Butt kicks: 1 minute

                                Main Workout (50 minutes)

                                Upper Body

                                    • Standard push-ups: 3 sets of 12-15 reps

                                    • Progression: Diamond push-ups or decline push-ups

                                  • Resistance Band Rows:
                                        • Attach a resistance band to a stable surface.

                                        • 3 sets of 12-15 reps

                                        • Progression: Increase band tension or use a thicker band

                                    • Tricep Dips:
                                          • Using a chair or stable surface.

                                          • 3 sets of 12-15 reps

                                          • Progression: Elevate your feet on another chair for a more challenging angle.

                                      Lower Body

                                            • 3 sets of 15-20 reps

                                            • Progression: Goblet squats with a weight or single-leg squats

                                            • 3 sets of 12-15 reps per leg

                                            • Progression: Bulgarian split squats or jumping lunges

                                            • Attach a resistance band around your ankles.

                                            • 3 sets of 15-20 reps per leg

                                            • Progression: Use a thicker band or increase reps

                                        Core and Balance

                                          • Planks:
                                                • Standard planks: 3 sets of 30-45 seconds

                                                • Progression: Side planks or forearm planks

                                            • Mountain Climbers:
                                                  • 3 sets of 20-25 reps per leg

                                                  • Progression: Increase speed or perform a plank with knee tucks

                                              • Resistance Band Woodchops:
                                                    • Attach the resistance band to a sturdy anchor point.

                                                    • 3 sets of 12-15 reps per side

                                                    • Progression: Use a thicker band or increase reps

                                                Stretching: Spend 5 minutes stretching your major muscle groups, focusing on areas that feel tight or worked during the workout.

                                                    •  

                                                  Note: Ensure proper form and technique for each exercise to prevent injuries. It’s essential to maintain a balanced routine that targets all major muscle groups, so feel free to adjust the repetitions and progressions according to your fitness level and goals. As you get stronger, gradually increase the intensity and challenge of each exercise to continue making progress.

                                                  The Best 1-Hour Gym Workout Routine for Cabin Crew

                                                  Two flight attendants seated on a black gym floor, barefoot, looking at the camera above them and smiling, dressed with tops and yoga pants. Few weights on their left.

                                                  Here’s a comprehensive 1-hour gym workout routine for cabin crew members that utilizes gym equipment. This routine targets various muscle groups, includes cardio, and can be progressively challenging as you increase repetitions, weights, or resistance levels. Always start with a warm-up and finish with a cool-down to prevent injury and aid recovery.

                                                  Warm-Up (5 minutes)

                                                    • Start with 5 minutes of light cardio on a treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical to get your heart rate up and warm up your muscles.

                                                    Main Workout (50 minutes)

                                                     

                                                    Cardio (10 minutes)

                                                      • Treadmill Interval Training:
                                                          • 2 minutes at a brisk walk or light jog (3-4 mph).

                                                          • 1 minute at a sprint or fast jog (6-8 mph).

                                                          • Repeat the cycle for 10 minutes.

                                                        Upper Body (15 minutes)

                                                            • 3 sets of 10-12 reps

                                                            • Progression: Increase the weight or use a barbell for a more challenging variation.

                                                            • 3 sets of 10-12 reps

                                                            • Progression: Increase the weight or use wide and narrow grip variations.

                                                          Lower Body (15 minutes)

                                                            • Leg Press Machine:
                                                                  • 3 sets of 12-15 reps

                                                                  • Progression: Increase the weight or perform single-leg presses.

                                                              • Leg Curl Machine:
                                                                    • 3 sets of 10-12 reps

                                                                    • Progression: Increase the weight or try single-leg curls.

                                                                • Calf Raises:
                                                                      • 3 sets of 15-20 reps

                                                                      • Progression: Increase the weight or try single-leg calf raises.

                                                                  Core (5 minutes)

                                                                    • Plank:
                                                                          • Hold for 1-2 minutes

                                                                          • Progression: Add side planks or decline planks for more challenge.

                                                                      Full Body (5 minutes)

                                                                        • Rowing Machine:

                                                                            5 minutes of rowing at moderate intensity for full-body cardiovascular exercise.

                                                                          Cool-Down (5 minutes)

                                                                            • Stretching:

                                                                                Spend 5 minutes stretching all major muscle groups, holding each stretch for 15-30 seconds.

                                                                              Note: Adjust the weights and repetitions to match your fitness level, gradually increasing them as you progress. Always prioritize proper form and technique to prevent injuries. This routine provides a balanced full-body workout and can be tailored to your specific goals and fitness level.

                                                                               

                                                                              Best fitness routine to perform in just 30 minutes in your hotel room with no equipment needed! Come on…Just half an hour!

                                                                              Flight attendant performing a stretch seated on the floor, banding forward and touching her left foot with her left hand, looking at the laptop in fron of her, smiling.

                                                                              Here’s a full 30-minute bodyweight workout routine that you can do in your hotel room, with no equipment needed. This routine targets various muscle groups and can be progressively challenging as you increase repetitions or incorporate more advanced variations of each exercise.

                                                                              Warm-Up (5 minutes)

                                                                                Start with light jogging in place or jumping jacks to get your heart rate up and warm up your muscles for 5 minutes.

                                                                                Main Workout (20 minutes)

                                                                                 

                                                                                Lower Body (5 minutes)

                                                                                  • Bodyweight Squats:
                                                                                        • 3 sets of 15-20 reps

                                                                                        • Progression: Increase the number of reps or perform single-leg squats for more challenge.

                                                                                    • Reverse Lunges:
                                                                                          • 3 sets of 12-15 reps per leg

                                                                                          • Progression: Add a knee drive or hold weights (e.g., water bottles) for extra resistance.

                                                                                      Upper Body (5 minutes)

                                                                                        • Push-Ups:
                                                                                              • 3 sets of 10-12 reps

                                                                                              • Progression: Increase the number of reps or perform diamond push-ups for a more challenging variation.

                                                                                          • Tricep Dips:
                                                                                                • 3 sets of 10-12 reps

                                                                                                • Progression: Elevate your feet on a chair or add a leg lift for extra difficulty.

                                                                                            Core (5 minutes)

                                                                                              • Planks:
                                                                                                    • Hold for 30-45 seconds

                                                                                                    • Progression: Extend the plank duration or add side planks for a more comprehensive core workout.

                                                                                                • Bicycle Crunches:
                                                                                                      • 3 sets of 12-15 reps per side

                                                                                                      • Progression: Increase the number of reps or slow down the movement for greater intensity.

                                                                                                  Total Body (5 minutes)

                                                                                                    • Mountain Climbers:
                                                                                                          • 3 sets of 20-25 reps per leg

                                                                                                          • Progression: Increase speed or perform a plank with knee tucks.

                                                                                                        • Supermans:
                                                                                                              • 3 sets of 10-12 reps

                                                                                                              • Progression: Extend the duration or add a hold at the top of each rep for increased difficulty.

                                                                                                        Cool-Down (5 minutes)

                                                                                                          • Stretching:

                                                                                                              Spend 5 minutes stretching all major muscle groups. Focus on areas that feel tight or worked during the workout.

                                                                                                            Note: Adjust the number of sets and repetitions based on your fitness level. As you progress, you can increase reps or add more challenging variations of the exercises. This routine provides a balanced full-body workout that requires no equipment, making it perfect for hotel rooms while on layovers.

                                                                                                            Exercises to Avoid

                                                                                                            Flight Attendant from the back, wearing a sports bra, holding her neck and her lower back where there are pain areas highlighted in red

                                                                                                            Why cabin crew members should avoid heavy weightlifting and high-impact cardio exercises?

                                                                                                            1. Heavy Weightlifting

                                                                                                            While weightlifting can provide numerous benefits, such as increased muscle mass and strength, it’s essential for cabin crew members to approach it with caution:

                                                                                                                • Muscle Soreness: Heavy weightlifting can lead to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), especially when starting a new and challenging routine. DOMS can make it uncomfortable to move, which is not ideal for flight attendants who need to remain agile and active during their shifts. Just don´t hit leg day before a DXB-JFK flight!

                                                                                                                • Fatigue: Intense weightlifting sessions can leave you feeling fatigued for extended periods. This fatigue can affect your alertness and levels of energy.

                                                                                                                • Risk of Injury: Improper form or lifting weights that are too heavy can increase the risk of injury, particularly to the muscles and joints. Injuries can sideline you from your duties and require time to recover.

                                                                                                                • Time-Consuming: Heavy weightlifting routines often require extended rest periods between sets, making the workout longer than the average cabin crew member might have time for during a layover.

                                                                                                              2. High-Impact Cardio

                                                                                                              While cardio workouts are essential for overall fitness, high-impact exercises like jumping jacks, burpees, or intense plyometric movements can present specific challenges for cabin crew members:

                                                                                                                  • Joint Stress: High-impact exercises exert significant force on the joints, particularly the knees and ankles. Cabin crew members already spend a lot of time on their feet, which can lead to joint stress. Engaging in high-impact cardio during off-duty hours may exacerbate this stress.

                                                                                                                  • Risk of Injury: The sudden and forceful nature of high-impact movements can increase the risk of injuries such as sprains, strains, or even fractures.

                                                                                                                  • Recovery Time: High-impact cardio workouts can lead to longer recovery times between workouts. For cabin crew members with tight schedules and multiple flights, extended recovery periods might not be feasible.

                                                                                                                Alternative Approaches

                                                                                                                Flight attendant in a one piece swimsuit, with goggles and a swimming sup, point on her left side to the writing 'alternative approach'.

                                                                                                                For cabin crew members looking to incorporate strength training and cardio into their fitness routine, opting for lower-impact activities like swimming, cycling, or using elliptical machines can provide the desired cardiovascular benefits without subjecting the joints to excessive stress.

                                                                                                                Additionally, strength training routines should focus on moderate weights and higher repetitions, emphasizing functional movements that support your duties on board. Always prioritize proper form and technique to minimize the risk of injury.

                                                                                                                Remember, the goal is to stay fit, strong, and healthy while ensuring you can perform your duties safely and effectively throughout your demanding schedule. And after exercising, it´s time to refill your body with healthy and vital nutrients! We created a great flight attendant´s guide to in-flight nutrition so you with expert tips on healthy diet choices onboard named Better Cabin Crew Meals! You will find many recipes and tips to eat tasty and healthy meals on and off the plane! Enjoy your meals! 😉

                                                                                                                Conclusion

                                                                                                                As cabin crew members, staying active is not just about maintaining physical fitness. Regular exercise can lead to better sleep, increased energy, a more positive mood, and improved endurance. By incorporating the recommended exercises and routines, you can keep yourself feeling great, strong, and ready for any challenges the aviation world throws your way. Safe travels and stay fit!

                                                                                                                Flight Attendants Nation

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