Hotel Friendly Strength Workout

I was traveling this week.  When the gym is in the same building, I have no excuses to avoid stumbling downstairs and sweating through something.   Despite hotel gyms’ unbeatable convenience, most have the same fatal flaw.  They are often uninspiring and I’m not always sure what I’m going to get, i.e. a few bikes in a windowless room in the basement and they all squeak – yay!  (This is a real description of a nice enough hotel in Charleston, SC.  Granted it’s a really old hotel.).  So in traveling weeks, I plan my strength workouts for my travel days.

Strength days are my least favorite, but compared to forcing out an unenjoyable 4 miles on a treadmill facing a wall – I can trick myself into getting excited about strength.  I like this sequence because:

  1. Simplicity of moves – I can remember it and it doesn’t require super fancy moves that make me look weird or awkward in front of other people.
  2. Time – It’s quick.  I can run through it in about 30 minutes.  Enough time to get myself back up to my room to get ready with time to spare for more meeting prep.
  3. Equipment needed – It does not require a lot of special equipment.  It can pretty much be done with weights (dumbbells) and a mat.

Here’s the sequence:

  1. 5 minutes cardio warm-up – machine of choice: treadmill, elliptical, bike.  If the gym is small and crowded, I take whatever is available.  If I need to catch up on or respond to emails that came through after hours, I grab a recumbent bike.  I can read and respond while getting my heart-rate up.
  2. Arms / Upper body – 15 push-ups, then 15 bicep curls with 10 lb. weights, then 15 tricep dips on a bench (if no bench or chair sub with standing dumbbell tricep extensions, aka overhead tricep extension.)  No break in between the push-up / bicep / tricep set.  3 sets, quick breather in between sets.
  3. Squats to standing dumbbell shoulder press – 3 sets of 15 reps, 10 lb weights
  4. Thighs – Abductors / Adductors Machine – As writing this, I googled this one to ensure I was using the proper name for the machine.  Turns out the machine is dubbed as being one to avoid.  I guess this week was my last time on that machine.  The suggested substitute exercise is a bridge (back on the floor, feet on the ground, knees bent) while squeezing a yoga block (or ball or towel depending on the gym) into between your knees.  Thrust pelvis upward and bring back down towards the floor.  All while squeezing the yoga block (or a ball) between your knees.  3 sets of 15.
  5. Burpees – 3 sets of 15 – to get my heart-rate back up
  6. Obliques – Dumbbell side bends, 15 on each side, using 10 lb weights – alternating sides (so 30 total in each set).  3 sets.  If wanting more, add a shoulder press with the side bend.
  7. Abs – Boat to Canoe.  These are terrible when doing them.  But after getting the hang of them, I feel strong when I can do them.  One of my favorite Dowd Y instructors used to force us through these at the end of class.  Post-baby(ies), I have started making myself do them again.  If you are dedicated to Yoga, there should be some familiarity with Boat and Canoe.  I am not familiar with Yoga, so I followed my instructor.   Basically, lie on my back with my arms extended overhead, pull my legs and arms in at the same time (almost a fetal position while balancing on my sit bones), return to starting position – legs extended outward and arms over head while balancing on sit bones (do not let legs, calves, heels, arms, etc. touch the mat). 3 sets of 15.  These humble me.  3 sets of 15 were virtually impossible the first time I started doing these again.  But as I have done them more often, I add to my reps.

That’s it!  On to my day…and I usually come home a little sore.

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