We are all aware that going to the gym and lifting weights helps us build muscle. But, if you are on the road all the time and are confined to bodyweight movements or small hotel gyms, you might be wondering whether it even works.
Here is the truth: While more challenging, it is entirely possible to build muscle while on the road.
Of course, you need the right tactics to put together effective training. Today, we will go over what that means for you.
Take full Advantage of Bodyweight Training
For many, bodyweight training is nothing but a big waste of time, only fit for beginners looking to make regular exercise a habit. But you need to face reality: bodyweight exercises can be fantastic for muscle gain, so long as we adhere to one important rule: keep our workouts challenging.
The human body understands tension. It does not care where it comes from, and it does not stop muscle gain if we do our workouts away from the typical gym setting.
For example, suppose classic push-ups are too easy. In that case, you can always go for more challenging variations like decline push-ups, plyometric push-ups, and even weighted push-ups. The same goes for almost every bodyweight movement out there: there is always something you can do to make it more challenging.
Do what you can with the equipment you have
Hotel gyms rarely fulfill our wishes. Only selective hotels invest in their gym and get a satisfying GymFactor. Unfortunately, many are too small and have little equipment. The dumbbells only go up to around 22 lbs (10 kg), and there are only a handful of machines we can use. So, should we throw in the towel and not train? Absolutely not!
You can challenge yourself a lot, even if you do not have much to work with. Let us take the dumbbells as an example. If there are just a handful of dumbbells in the gym, use them as best as you can. If they are not as heavy for you to do below twelve reps per set, do more: 20, even 30 reps. Rest less between sets, and you will spark muscle growth.
Another way to keep yourself challenged with lighter dumbbells is to perform more challenging variations. For example, if you usually like to do “dumbbell goblet squats”, replace them with “Bulgarian split squats”.
Similarly, what if the gym only has one back machine or one of those all-in-one solutions? Well, use it as best as you can. Again, focus on training your muscles through a full range of motion and make a conscious effort to activate your muscles. Even if you have just one option for each muscle group, take advantage of it, and do more sets. For example, if you only have access to a “lat pulldown machine”, do multiple sets with varying grips: a close and a wider grip, and sets with an underhand and overhand grip; simple as that.
Pay Attention to Overlooked Factors
Many trainees limit their ability to build muscle even while training in good gyms. They mainly focus on moving the weight from point A to point B and completely disregard factors that play a more significant role. Specifically, we are discussing using a full range of motion, training with a consistent tempo, and establishing a good mind-muscle connection.
1. The full range of motion
It is easy to fall for the bad habits of training with a shorter range of motion. This allows us to lift heavier weights and feel stronger. But, to activate and stimulate a muscle as best as possible, you should train it through an extended range of motion. That way, you can experience good stretches and powerful contractions, so you get more out of each repetition.
2. Consistent repetition tempo
Inconsistent training tempo becomes more likely when we train with lighter weights. Each repetition takes less effort to complete, and we are more likely to power through the set without thinking about it.
But the tempo is vital because it allows us to cause an adequate eccentric and concentric contraction of each muscle we train. For example, if you only make an effort to curl the dumbbells but then let them drop on the way down, you are effectively making each repetition half as effective for your biceps.
A good rule is to take two seconds to lift the weight, two to lower it, and a second to hold the contraction on top.
3. The mind-muscle connection
Though it may sound unimportant, research suggests that the mind-muscle connection plays an essential role in our training results.
No matter where you train and what equipment you have access to, it is important always to try and link the mind and muscles at work. In doing so, you can better engage your muscles, improve your performance, and cause a greater growth stimulus.
Never skip a workout when traveling
While there are plenty of great options to make the best out of a bad gym, why not stay in a hotel which takes fitness seriously and provides all you need? Check out the GymFactor on HotelGyms.com before you book your next vacation/trip and avoid these disappointments. With us, you will never have to skip a workout again!