Making the Most of It: Achieving Great Workouts in Bad Gyms | HotelGyms.com Blog
04Jan 2024
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Making the Most of It: Achieving Great Workouts in Bad Gyms

We have all been there: gyms that just do not live up to what we need. Some are cluttered with too much of the same thing, like a surplus of bicep curl machines, while others suffer from poor layout, resulting in long waits for machines.

Then there are those gyms that really let you down – the ones that are cramped and barely equipped. And let's face it, many hotels are are a prime example here.

So, what can we do about it? Should we throw in the towel and be satisfied with a bad workout? Absolutely not! Today, we will go over how to have a great workout even if you are in a gym with a less optimal setup.

Let's dive in.

Embrace Dumbbell Workouts

Even the most basic gyms typically offer a selection of dumbbells, usually ranging from 10 to 50 pounds. This range is sufficient for full-body workouts. In Europe, you might find gyms leaning towards 20-pound (10 kg) weights, while U.S. hotel gyms often stock up to 50 pounds (23 kg).

Dumbbell Workout when Traveling

With this range, you can target different muscle groups. For example, you can use lighter dumbbells to train your biceps, triceps, and shoulders. Then, you can use heavier ones for larger muscle groups like your quads, back, and chest:

  • Chest: Dumbbell press and fly.
  • Back: Rows and pullovers.
  • Quads: Bulgarian split squats, goblet squats.
  • Hamstrings: Romanian deadlift.
  • Biceps: Curls.
  • Triceps: Extensions.
  • Shoulders: Front, side, and rear bent-over raises.

Focus on Bodyweight Exercises

Do not underestimate the power of bodyweight training. It is a versatile method for strength and muscle gain, if you do not have access to much equipment.

Consider push-ups: they can be modified to increase or decrease difficulty. Variants include plyometric, weighted, decline, and single-arm push-ups. For beginners, kneeling push-ups are an excellent starting point. Want to learn more, read our blog post about mastering push-up.

On the other hand, if regular push-ups are too hard, you can do kneeling push-ups. This works for almost every bodyweight exercise out there. If the movement is easy or too difficult, you can modify it to fit your fitness level better.

Leverage Workout Apps

Workout apps like Fitbod and Freeletics are lifesavers for planning. When you are traveling, these apps can tailor your workouts to the equipment you have at hand, whether you are in a hotel gym, your room, or even a local park.

These workout apps are especially useful when you have no equipment at all and need to rely on bodyweight workouts in your hotel room.

Get Creative with Your Routine

Adaptability is key in less-than-ideal gyms. Try supersets or circuit workouts to intensify your session.

For example:

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells, do a set of bicep curls.
  • Once you are done, move the dumbbells over your head and do a set of tricep extensions.

Or another example:

  • Take one dumbbell, do a set of goblet squats.
  • Then grab a lighter pair of dumbbells, and do a set of Romanian deadlifts.

If you want to take it a step further and push yourself even more, you can do circuit workouts:

  1. Goblet squats
  2. Bicep curls
  3. Romanian deadlifts
  4. Tricep extensions
  5. Push-ups
  6. Rest for a minute
  7. Repeat.

Push-up Workout when Traveling

Another thing you can do is drop sets. Here, the goal is to pick a weight, do a set and, once you finish, pick a lighter weight and continue to do repetitions. For example: 

  1. Bicep curls w/ 25-pound dumbbells for 15 reps.
  2. 15-pound dumbbells for as many reps as possible.
  3. 10-pound dumbbells for as many reps as possible.

That way, you can completely exhaust a given muscle group even if you do not have access to heavyweights. As you can see, even if you need to train in a bad gym, you can still have fun and challenging workouts with a bit of creativity.

Prioritize Fitness When Travling

Maintaining your health and fitness during travels is crucial. Though HotelGyms.com is a go-to for booking hotels with excellent gym facilities, we recognize the need for this information on other platforms. To enhance your experience, we have expanded our GymFactor tool to integrate seamlessly with Booking.com and KAYAK.

With our innovative Browser Extension for Chrome and Edge, discovering hotels boasting superior fitness amenities has never been easier. This feature ensures that wherever you book, your fitness routine remains uninterrupted.

Plan. Travel. Workout.

It is actually very simple, when equipment is scarce, increase the volume of your workout. More sets and reps can make up for not having heavy weights. Shortening your rest intervals between sets can also ramp up the intensity of your workout.

Also technology is a huge help in discovering new workout options. Mobile fitness apps can help you make the most of whatever situation you find yourself in.

In conclusion, even in a gym that might not have everything, you can still have effective and enjoyable workouts. It is all about using what is available to you and being creative. Remember, a little ingenuity goes a long way in fitness!

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