Strength on the Road

As a precursor, this isn’t a blog insinuating that if you’re on vacation you better hit the hotel gym or you will lose all of your progress. Just like no one got strong in one week, no one lost all of their strength in that period of time. However, if you’re like many people, incorporating a workout into your day even while you’re on vacation can make the day more enjoyable. But this places you in an environment that you may be unfamiliar with; unsure where to start and what will be the best use of your time. The following gives you some guidelines to follow if you’re in a hotel gym on vacation or on a business trip.

Choosing the Correct Exercises
You may be limited with the variety of equipment available when you’re in a hotel gym. But the same structure of training that we use in the group classes can be followed; and certain strategies can be employed to make an exercise more challenging if the weight is limited.

The warm-up and mobility work should prepare you for the specific exercises to follow. Construct three stations with 2-3 exercises in each. A pulling exercise should be paired with a pressing exercise. A quad dominant exercise can be paired with a hip dominant or hinge exercise. Lastly, a short burst on a piece of cardio equipment can be paired with a core exercise. Or you could finish the workout with some steady state conditioning (5-15 minutes at a comfortable pace).

The following is a list of exercises that we commonly use, that you may be able to identify by name, and that you can execute without any equipment. If you are unsure of what one of them is, there is no shortage of exercise videos on YouTube. I’ve included a sample workout as well.

A1. Warm-up/Mobility Work – World’s Greatest Stretch, Inchworms, Couch Stretch, Hip CARs, Kneeling Adductor Mobilization, Frog Pose with T-Spine Rotation, Mini Band Lateral Walks, Mini Band Clamshells

B1. Push – Push-up Variations, Dumbbell Chest Press, Dumbbell Floor Press, Dumbbell Military Press
B2. Pull - Cable Row, Banded Row, Dumbbell Bent over Row, Dumbbell 3 Point Row, Rowing Machine, Pull-ups, Lat Pulldown
B3 (optional). Arm Isolation – Dumbbell Bicep Curls, DB Skullcrushers, Cable Tricep Pushdowns, Dumbbell Lateral Raises

C1. Quad Dominant – Goblet Squat, 1.5 Rep Squats, Paused Goblet Squats, Dumbbell Thrusters, Med Ball Thrusters, Lunge Variations, Split Squat Variations, Step-ups
C2. Hinge – Dumbbell RDLs, Banded Good Mornings, Death March, Glute Bridge, Frog Pump, Kettlebell Deadlifts, Kettlebell Swings

D1. Core – Prone Plank, High Plank, Side Plank, Tempo Mountain Climbers, Banded/Cable Pallof Press, Physio Ball Stir the Pot, Deadbug Variations
D2. Conditioning – Treadmill, Elliptical, Bike, Rowing Machine

Sample Workout
A1. Couch Stretch x30s per + Mini Band Lateral Walk + World’s Greatest Stretch
Perform each station (B1/B2, C1/C2, D1/D2) for three minutes with 30s rest between each exercise pairing. Perform all of the stations two times with 2 minutes of rest between rounds. As a whole this should only take 22 minutes.
B1. Banded Row x12
B2. Incline Push-ups x10
C1. Reverse Lunge x8 per
C2. Glute Bridge with Walkout x5
D1. Stationary Bike on High Resistance x30s
D2. Tempo Mountain Climbers x8 per

E1. 10 Minutes on Elliptical


There isn’t an exact science to this piece. Performing 10 reps isn’t better than 12. The best rep scheme and loading percentage is one that challenges you. Especially in this scenario when you are trying to maintain your current fitness level; not necessarily improve it. If the hotel gym doesn’t have very heavy dumbbells you could perform a higher number of reps or you could employ some of the strategies that I integrate into class: slow lowering tempo, pauses at the end-range of an exercise, 1.5 reps, etc. to increase the difficulty without needing to add more load.

My job as a coach is to educate. I would rather provide you with the tools and knowledge to not need me than have you solely rely on my instruction. You come to class for the environment, to simplify the process, for my infectious enthusiasm and high energy, and for me to take your goals and integrate them into a long-term plan.


I'd be happy to answer anything related to training when you're away from home.

Brendan Aylwardknowledge