Walking into a hotel gym for the first time can be like landing on a new planet. You frantically scan the room for anything that looks familiar and then start trying to figure out how you're going to recreate your workout for the day in this new - and often limited - environment. 

During the course of an NBA season, you can expect somewhere between 40-60 hotel stays. As the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of the LA Lakers, this translates to 40-60 different times per season that I need to plan workouts for 15 NBA players in hotel fitness rooms. The trick to keeping your training gains going despite a whirlwind of travel and ill-equipped fitness rooms is as simple as having a workout for any situation. 

The following 4 workouts will have you checking into any hotel like a baller knowing that your gym routine will stay strong regardless of your travel plans:

workout #1: cable machine

This workout is designed to help you crush it in the hotel fitness room that offers nothing but a treadmill, a few pink dumbbells and a cable machine:

  • A1 - Cable Deadlift Pull Through (4x15)
  • A2 - Cable Standing Single Arm Row (4x6)
  • B1 - Cable Bowler Squat with Row (4x6)
  • B2 - Cable Half-Kneel Lift (4x12)

workout #2: dumbbells up to 50lb

Here's a workout that has you primed for a great pump in a hotel fitness room that doesn't have much, but at least they have dumbbells up to 50 pounds:

  • A1 - Dumbbell Bench Press (4x12)
  • A2 - Bench Push-Up Squeeze (4x6)
  • B1 - Suitcase Standup (4x5)
  • B2 - Dumbbell Prone Row (4x15)

workout #3: bodyweight only

Whether you don't have time to leave your room or the hotel fitness center has nothing but an elliptical and yoga mat, here is a workout that requires no equipment:

  • A1 - Feet Elevated Push-Up (4x10)
  • A2 - Rear Foot Elevated Lunge (4x6)
  • B1 - Sidelying Hip Drive (4x10)
  • B2 - Lateral Bear Crawl (4x4) *4 steps each direction

workout #4: bring your own equipment (BYOE)

Pack a few pieces of light equipment, like a pair of Val Slides or SKLZ Slidez and a resistance band so you can get your work in anywhere. Here's the BYOE workout that will help you keep your gains coming: 

  • A1 - Band Resisted Push-Up (4x8)
  • A2 - Slider Retro Lunge (4x12)
  • B1 - Side Plank with Row (4x20)
  • B2 - Slider Bridge to Ham-Curl (4x6)

*Workout Notes:

  • Perform a sufficient dynamic warm-up prior to your workout. 
  • Complete all "A1" and "A2" sets and then complete "B1" and "B2" sets.
  • Maintain perfect form throughout each set.
  • Starting with less than 4 sets and progressing up to 4 is absolutely appropriate.

bonus workout: treadmill interval set

If there is a treadmill available here's a 7 minute high intensity interval workout that can act as it's own workout if time is limited or be a great finisher to any of the workouts above:

  • 2 minute warm-up at walk/jog pace
  • Set 1 - 10 second run/10 second rest
  • Set 2 - 15 second run/15 second rest
  • Set 3 - 20 second run/20 second rest
  • Set 4 - 30 second run/30 second rest
  • Set 5 - 30 second run/2 minute cool down at walk/jog pace

*Treadmill Workout Notes:

  • Set incline between 2-6 based on what feels challenging but reasonable.
  • Set speed between 7mph-12mph based on what feels challenging but reasonable. 
  • Adjust both speed and incline throughout workout based on what feels challenging but reasonable. 
  • During rest intervals carefully hop feet off to the side of the belt.

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Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS spent 6 seasons as the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and is the founder of TD Athletes Edge.  He is nationally renowned for his evidence-based and scientific approach to fitness, training, nutrition, and recovery for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

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