Bicep Curls with a Heavy-Duty Tripod

Tripod curls using a heavy-duty tripod

As I mentioned last time, in a few days me and my buddies are off to our Northern Exposure trip. Since we’ll be travelling by bus, we’re going to be foregoing the luxury of trunk space and instead we’ll have to rely on our backs to carry all our luggage.

It’s important nowadays for photographer’s to stay in shape. This isn’t only for outdoor photographers to keep up with the rigors of on-location work, but also for studio photographer’s who might find it easy to just kick back and relax in the comfort of your studio. Fortunately, you can do these exercises without having to go to the gym and using equipment you might already have.

Disclaimer: I am a photographer, not a trainer. Do these exercises after consulting with your doctor or trainer.

Read on to start getting in shape.

For all the exercises below, I recommend going through them all with little or no break in-between. After going through the circuit, have a 2-minute break before repeating the circuit. Doing this, your body will warm up and burn more calories at a more explosive rate. While you will want to use heavier tripods/lightstands as weights, the general rule is to use weights as close or a bit heavier than the gear you’ll be carrying on your trip. Do this every other day or 3-4 times a week. And do the Brisk Weighted-Walking (see below) in betweens.

Crossover Stepups

Crossover stepups to train your legs for uneven terrain

Crossover Stepups

When you’re traveling on foot, your going to have to give your lower body a lot of prerparation. Find a bench, stool, or in my case, a small trash can, or any other stable platform you can step on. Grab two light stands and hang them to your sides. Heavy studio-light light stands are best. Stand to the right of the bench/stool/trashcan and step on it with your right foot. Elevate yourself smoothly. Straighten your right leg but keep your left foot hanging. Step down by reversing the motion. Repeat this for around 8-10 reps for each leg.


Find a nearby wall, grab a medicine ball and put it between the wall and the small of your back. With your feet square with your shoulder extend your arms forward. Slowly squat down and then come back up. As an alternative to the medicine ball, you can grab a heavy-tripod or even your whole stand bag (containing your tripod and/or lightstands of course), hold it behind your head, and do the squats. Do 6-8 reps.


Bicep Curls with a Heavy-Duty Tripod


Tripod Curls

It’s equally important to keep your arms in shape, for those times when you’re going to be doing some lifting of your baggages getting on and off the bus. Find a chair to sit on, and with your tripod (preferably steel, carbon fiber tripods are too light. And you had better not be using those cheap aluminum tripods, for exercise nor for shooting!). Make sure you hold the tripod where it’s balanced in your hand. Start by letting your arm hang loose straight down then curl your biceps upwards. Do 6-8 reps per arm.

Camera Speed Twist

Hold your camera with both hands just in front of your chest and sit on the floor with your knees bent. Heavier cameras are best, which means no Nikon D40/50/60/5000 or Canon 350D/400D/450Ds. Raise your feet off the ground. Twist your body and cmaera to your right, then to the left, while maintaining your back-position and feet off the floor. Do 8-10 reps.

Other Exercises

Some other exercises you may want to include into the circuit.


Chin-Ups/Pull-Ups – If you’re background stand can handle your weight, you can use that for chin-ups or pull-ups

Remember to go through the circuit with little or no break, and pause for 2-minutes before doing the circuit again.


Brisk weighted-walking to quickly build up stamina

Brisk Weighted-Walking

On days when you’re not doing the above circuit of exercises, go for a brisk walk around the block. With a fully-loaded light-stand/tripod bag, sling it over your shoulder. Walk briskly for a minimum of 30 minutes. The heavy load on your back should help you gain stamina quickly. Note, however, that this is not recommended for jogging or running because the weight would be an additional strain to your knees and ankles and could result in injury.


So there you have it, an exercise circuit that will quickly get you ready for your trip. You should start noticing results after 2-4 weeks of doing this.

I’d love to hear your opinions on these exercises, and especially your experiences after going through them. Hit the comments!

5 Responses so far.

  1. Kenny says:

    Cool work out, like a special training program customized for photographers. Sadly Im not one of them haha

  2. [...] Update: Check out my post about Exercises for Traveling Photographers [...]

  3. [...] Exercises for the Traveling Photographer – Musn’t forget my trusty tripod can also be used for weights! [...]

  4. @Kenny, you’re now one of us. Time to do these exercises na!:)

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