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I don't travel much, but this past week I was in Miami for 5 days coaching athletes at a CrossFit competition. We had athletes compete everyday intermittently from 8am to 7pm, so my time was limited to get my own workouts in. Luckily for me the hotel I stayed had plenty of good equipment, but I still had to get creative to get good workouts in. Below are three big tips I think everyone can benefit from to maximize their training while traveling and some sample workouts I performed. Enjoy!
1) Focus on Compound Movements
When you’re limited on time, focus on exercises that will hit the most muscle groups possible. Most hotel gyms don’t have heavy DB’s or barbell bench setups, vertical pressing works well because of lighter weight. Single-arm DB OHP and any pull-up variation are great. These two exercises will hit delts, triceps, lats, biceps and forearms. Exercises like tricep pushdowns and bicep curls are fun if you’re just trying to get a pump, but to maximize muscle stimulation and calorie expenditure, go compound.
2) Mix up the Stimulus
If you’re limited on equipment and are forced to do the same exercises (bike, row, run) you can stay engaged by switching up the stimulus. For example, one day focus on steady aerobic work such as the aerobic threshold workouts from Aerobic Capacity. If you’re not a consistent runner don’t be afraid to scale down the overall volume of these workouts. The first month I was doing Aerobic Capacity runs I cut the volume in half and still got in good workouts. The next day focus on high-intensity intervals, such as 3 sets of 400m run @ 80% with 3 minute rest between sets.
3) Strength Train with Upper Body, Conditioning with Lower Body
Odds are the hotel gym will have limited lower body strength training equipment. Squats, deadlifts, leg presses and Olympic lifts aren’t likely an option. For this reason I’d recommend saving your lower body for conditioning work. Lunges, goblet squats, jumping squats and glute bridges are good options to do in a circuit fashion or timed. Ab work is also easily meshed in.
The hotel gym should have heavy enough DB’s to do some compound upper body work, even if it needs to be 10+ reps to be challenging enough. I’d recommend picking 3 upper body lifts, a push, a pull and a concentration movement. Lastly, if the hotel gym has no weights at all, even the most advanced athletes could get a good stimulus from a few rounds of 20 pushups +10 pullups.
Pushes - DB OHP, push-ups, DB bench presses
Pulls - Pull-ups, DB row, lat pulldown, TRX row
Concentration movements - DB lateral raise, DB curl, tricep pushdowns
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