Let’s face it: There are a lot of bad gyms out there. Some gyms do not have the essential equipment and are instead filled with ten different bicep curl machines. Other gyms are not bad, but they are not outlined well, and you often have to wait an eternity to use the equipment.
And then, there are the simply bad gyms. They are small, do not offer much in the way of equipment, and you can not do much with them. Hotels with gyms 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! First, you could check the GymFactor of your desired hotel on HotelGyms.com before you book to avoid such a situation. The GymFactor tells you exactly what you can expect and if this would be a match for your workout routine. However, assuming you booked the hotel already wherefore, you found this blog article.
Well, it is not too late. So, today, we will go over how to have a great workout even if you are in a bad gym.
Use the Dumbbells
Most gyms, even the bad ones, have several options from dumbbells. Even if there are not many of them, you can still expect dumbbells that range from 10 to 24 (10 kg) or even 50 pounds (20 kg). If that is the case, you can have some decent full-body workouts. 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:
Some fantastic dumbbell exercises include:
- Chest - dumbbell press and fly
- Back - rows and pullovers
- Quads - Bulgarian split squats and goblet squats
- Hamstrings - Romanian deadlift
- Biceps - curls
- Triceps - extensions
- Shoulders - front, side, and rear bent-over dumbbell raises
Focus on Bodyweight Exercises
While many people scoff at bodyweight training for strength and muscle gain, it is one fantastic way to improve your fitness if you do not have access to much equipment. You can do many great exercises without equipment and dozens of variations you can use to make the movements easier or more challenging.
Take chest training: The primary bodyweight movement you can do without having any equipment is the push-up, and I know what you might be thinking:
But push-ups are too easy for me. I can bang out a set of twenty like it was nothing!
If regular push-ups are easy, you can make them more challenging. For example, do plyometric push-ups, weighted push-ups (for instance, put a backpack full of books on), decline push-ups, and single-arm push-ups. Problem solved.
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. If the activity does not offer much customizability, you can swap it for another movement. Fitbod is a great app to give you some ideas on a powerful workout, as done in a previous trip of mine to Holbox, Mexico.
Much like water, fitness is also fluid and can assume many shapes and sizes. So if you need to train in a bad gym, you can still have fun and challenging workouts with a bit of creativity.
For example, you can do supersets to push yourself harder. 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.
Take one dumbbell, do a set of goblet squats, drop it to the floor, grab a lighter pair of dumbbells, and immediately do a set of Romanian deadlifts. The combinations are endless.
If you want to take it a step further and push yourself even more, you can do circuit workouts:
Goblet squats > Bicep curls > Romanian deadlifts > Tricep extensions > Push-ups > Rest for a minute > Repeat.
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:
Bicep curls w/ 25-pound dumbbells for 15 reps > 15-pound dumbbells for as many reps as possible > 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.
plan. travel. workout.
A tried-and-true way to make the most of a lousy training environment is to do more work. If you do not have access to much, do what you can and do more total sets and reps. Even if you have to do more than 25 reps per set, you can build muscle, so long as you push yourself hard enough. Couple that with shorter rest intervals, and you have got yourself a recipe for effective training. Technology is a great help to identify new options, you can easily use mobile apps like Freelatics, Fitbod & co to make the best out of your situation.
Still not sure how it works? Check out our video on YouTube: HotelGyms.com - How you find the best hotels with gyms?