The Crappy Hotel Gym Workout – That Actually Builds Muscle

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In the last four years I’ve traveled a lot. Louisiana. Arkansas. Tennessee. South Carolina. Kentucky. Michigan. Illinois. Even Canada. I’ve seen more crappy hotel gyms than you can imagine.

You know how these gyms look. A broken treadmill. A worn bench. Dumbbells up to 60 pounds. A few random machines. That’s it. The lack of equipment can be extremely frustrating, especially if you’re goal is to build muscle.

Related: Vacation Workout – Maintain Gains on Holiday

Well, I’m here to save the day.

When there is a lack of heavy resistance you need to resort to other tools to stimulate a muscle. The tools we are going to use in this workout are:

  • A reduction of rest in between sets.
  • An increase in volume.
  • Intensity techniques such as supersets.

I am going to represent two workout options here. One for those of you that utilize a body part split, and a full body workout for those of you that like sweet head-to-toe action.

First, the full body…

Full Body Hotel Workout

Full Body
Hotel Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Superset: Goblet Squats + Bodyweight Lunges  3  10+10
Dumbbell Bench Press – Rest-Pause  3  20
Push Ups – 2 Minutes  1  AMAP
Two Arm Dumbbell Rows – Rest-Pause  3  20
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts  2  20
Superset: Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press + Upright Dumbbell Rows  3  15/10
Dumbbell Curls  3  15
Dumbbell Skullcrushers  3  15

DumbbellsGoblet Squats and Step Ups. Perform 10 goblet squat reps using the heaviest weight in the gym. Immediately superset this with 10 bodyweight lunges per leg.

Dumbbell Bench Press. Rest 30 seconds in between sets. Use the heaviest dumbbells available.

Push Ups. Perform as many as possible during a two minute window. Rest as needed.

Dumbbell Rows. Rest 30 seconds in between sets. If there is a lat pull down, superset rows and lat pull downs. Perform 10 reps per set of pull downs. Rest about one minute in between each superset.

Romanian Deadlifts. Rest about 30 seconds in between sets.

Overhead Press and Upright Rows. Immediately after performing overhead presses, grab a lighter set of dumbbells and knock out 10 reps of two arm upright dumbbell rows. Rest about one minute in between each superset.

Dumbbell Curls and Dumbbell Skullcrushers. Rest about 30 seconds in between sets. Use the heaviest possible weight, while still trying to reach 15 reps per set.

The Body Part Split Workout

I’m breaking this down into a typical 4 day bodybuilding workout split:

  • Chest and Triceps
  • Back and Biceps
  • Legs
  • Shoulders and Traps.
Chest and Triceps
Split Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Alternate – Dumbbell Bench Press  8  20
Alternate – Push Ups  8  AMAP
Dumbbell Flyes  5  20
Dumbbell Skullcrushers – 5 Minutes  1  AMAP

Dumbbell Bench and Push Ups. You will be alternating between the 2 exercises here. Rest only 30 seconds in between sets. For push ups, perform as many reps as possible, but only up to 30 per set.

Dumbbell Flyes. Perform these nice and controlled. Rest one minute in between sets.

Dumbbell Skullcrushers. Pick a weight that would normally allow you to knock out 15 reps with. Now, using a timer app on your phone, perform as many reps as possible during a 5 minute window. Rest only briefly when needed. This is brutal and painful, and your triceps will be sore the next day.

Back and Biceps
Split Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Alternate – Two Arm Dumbbell Row  8  20
Alternate – Lat Pull Down, Seated Row, Pull Ups of Inverted Row  8  10
Straight Arm Lat Pull Down or Straight Arm Dumbbell Pullover  5  20
Dumbbell Curls  1  AMAP

Rows and Pull Downs. You will be alternating between the 2 exercise. Rest only 30 seconds in between sets. Use lat pull downs, seated cable rows, or pull ups. Inverted rows are also an option.

Straight Arm Movement. Perform these nice and controlled. Rest one minute in between sets.

Dumbbell Curls. Pick a weight that would normally allow you to knock out 15 reps with. Now, using a timer app on your phone, perform as many reps as possible during a 5 minute window. Rest only briefly when needed.

Legs
Split Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Alternate – Goblet Squats  8  10
Alternate – Bench Step Ups  8  10
Bodyweight Lunges  5  20
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts  1  AMAP

Squats and Step Ups. You will be alternating between the 2 exercise. Rest only 30 seconds in between sets. Perform 10 step ups per leg during each set. Hopefully your hotel gym has a bench. If not perform jump squats or burpees.

Lunges. Rest one minute in between sets. Perform 10 reps per leg.

Romanian Deadlifts. Pick a weight that would normally allow you to knock out 15 reps with. Now, using a timer app on your phone, perform as many reps as possible during a 5 minute window. Rest only briefly when needed.

Shoulders and Traps
Split Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Alternate – Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press  8  20
Alternate – Two Arm Dumbbell Upright Rows  8  10
Side Lateral Raise  5  20
Dumbbell Shrugs  1  AMAP

Press and Upright Rows. You will be alternating between the 2 exercise. Rest only 30 seconds in between sets.

Side Laterals. Alternate between arms, resting about 20 to 30 seconds in between efforts.

Shrugs. Pick a weight that would normally allow you to knock out 15 reps with. Now, using a timer app on your phone, perform as many reps as possible during a 5 minute window. Rest only briefly when needed.

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Name: Steve Shaw

Bio: I don’t believe in magic training systems or rep ranges. My philosophy is simple: remain consistent, use the best possible exercises, focus upon progression and enter the gym looking to maximize each set. When you maximize each set, you maximize progress. Easy, obvious, insanely effective.