3 Hotel Workouts for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Lifters

Check out these nine workouts to help keep every traveling strength athlete on track!

Training while traveling. For some, this can be the difference between improving their fitness, losing the last few pounds, and helping keep them sane as they take on life and business stress. It’s no secret most hotel gyms stink.

More than likely this is because most people don’t workout at hotels, but we have a feeling a lot of our fellow readers, do – ourselves included. Which is exactly we felt compelled to write some hotel-friendly workouts for every fitness level.

Hotel Workout – Equipment

All nine (9) of the below workouts assume that the hotel gym has:

Most small hotel gyms will have these, at the very least. More advanced lifters may find that the dumbbells within most hotel gyms are limited, often going up to only pairs of 40-50lbs.

While these may not be heavy enough to increase maximal strength an muscle mass for more advanced lifters, a hotel workout here and there can help to increase fitness, be a necessary active recovery day while travelling, or simply a time to explore some new movements in training.

Dumbbell Exercises to Master

The below workouts are functional fitness focused, meaning they are developed to not only increase muscle, but do so in a way that translates to complex, everyday movements. The emphasis during these workouts should be to move efficiently while still being able to handle some loading. 

The below workouts should take less than 20-minutes, giving you ZERO excuses to skip them.

Throw in a good warm-up and some light cardio or an interval session with some additional bodybuilding afterwards, and you have a complete 45-60 minute workout. Below is a listing of dumbbell movements that will be integrated within the below hotel workouts. For best results, be sure to refer to the individual dumbbell exercise and technique guides prior to attempting any of the below workouts. 

Dumbbell Exercise Library

3 Beginner Dumbbell Hotel Workouts

Below are three (3) beginner dumbbell hotel workouts to develop foundational fitness, improve mobility, and increase overall health and wellness. Note, that the below workouts can be done for muscle building purposes in lifters who may lack strength and/or have access to heavier dumbbells. Most of these workouts are higher volume in nature to make up for the lack of heavier dumbbells in most hotel gyms.

Upper Body Workout #1

Here’s a very well balanced upper body workout that is done at a moderate pace with built in rest periods. The movements are pretty basic, however they are high in volume to help stimulate muscle growth. Rest periods are short to also improve basic muscle endurance and work capacity.

1. Chest

  • 80 Dumbbell Bench Presses
    • Every break, perform 5 burpees and 10 sit ups
    • Start with dumbbells that are roughly your 12-15 rep max

2. Back

  • 100 Dumbbell Rows (50 per side)
    • Perform 10 rows with one hand, then 10 rows with the other
    • Do not rest until you have performed 100 rows
    • Start with a dumbbell that is close to your 12-15 rep max

3. Arms

  • 12-Minute EMOM
    • Minute 1 – Dumbbell Hammer Curl
    • Minute 2 – Dumbbell Close Grip Push Up
    • Minute 3 – Rest
  • Choose lighter weights to allow for 15-20 reps per minute

Lower Body Workout

This workout should be done with 45 seconds of rest between sets and exercises. Focus on proper movements and feeling the muscles working at all times

  • Wall Squat – 4 sets of 30 seconds
  • Tempo (3110) Goblet Squat – 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Reverse Dumbbell Lunge – 4 sets of 16 steps (8/leg)
  • Dumbbell Hip Thrust – 4 sets of 15  reps

Full Body Workout

Here is a modified version of the advanced total-body dumbbell hotel workout from below. 

  • Perform 4 Rounds
    • 10 Dumbbell Goblet Squats
    • 10 Dumbbell Push Presses (both arms at once)
    • 2 Minutes of hard effort bike, rowing, or running
    • 2-3 Minute of rest

3 Intermediate Dumbbell Hotel Workouts

Below are three (3) intermediate dumbbell hotel workouts to improve fitness, increase muscle hypertrophy, and promote body fat loss.

Upper Body Workout

This is a nasty workout that is extremely taxing on the triceps and shoulders, however is still “basic” enough to allow less advanced lifters a chance to tackle it. Stronger lifters should aim to use 40-50lbs (men) / 25-30lbs (women), and complete all the dumbbell repetitions without putting the weight down every set.

Snatch + Thruster + Burpee Chipper

  • Complete for Time
  • 15-10-5
    • Dumbbell Snatch (left arm)
    • Dumbbell Thruster (left arm)
    • Burpee
    • Dumbbell Snatch (right arm)
    • Dumbbell Thruster (right arm)
    • Burpee
  • Start by performing 15 snatches and 15 thrusters with your left arm holding the dumbbell. Then complete 15 burpees. Repeat, then on the right side for 15 snatches and 15 thrusters, ending with 15 burpees.
  • From there, do a complete round of 10 reps for everything, and then one last round for 5 reps per movement.

Workout #2 – Lower Body

This is a straightforward lower-body workout that can be done with very light dumbbells, or even bodyweight. You will need a clock in sight at all times.

  • Perform 300 walking lunges (150 steps per leg)
  • Every minute on the minute, perform 5 burpees

On a 3-2-1-GO, you will start by performing 5 burpees, then go directly into walking lunges. Be sure to count your steps. At the turn of the next minute, put down the dumbbells and perform 5 fast burpees, then resume walking lunges.

The longer the lunges take you, the more burpees you have to do.

Full Body Workout

Perform this chipper as fast as possible. You will need a pair of dumbbells, your bodyweight, and either a treadmill, bike, or rower. This is a longer workout.

  • 5 Minute Run/Bike/Row at a hard effort
  • 20 Devil Press
  • 30 Push Ups
  • 40 Walking Lunges ( steps per side)
  • 5 Minute Run/Bike/Row at a hard effort
  • 20 Devils Press
  • 30 Push Ups
  • 40 Walking Lunges ( steps per side)
  • 5 Minute Run/Bike/Row at a hard effort

3 Advanced Dumbbell Hotel Workouts

Below are three (3) advanced dumbbell hotel workouts to improve bodyweight strength, fitness, increase muscle hypertrophy, and promote body composition improvements.

Upper Body Workout

Here is a high-intensity upper body hypertrophy session with an optional shoulder finisher. The key here should be on moving a moderate to heavy load with control, while emphasizing smooth fluid reps done in high volumes.

  • 4-5 Rounds (heavy as possible)
    • 20 Dumbbell Push Presses
    • 20 Dumbbell Hang Sumo High Pulls
    • Rest 2 minutes

Then, perform this shoulders and triceps finisher:

  • 12-Minute EMOM (light weights)
    • Minute 1 – MAX Dumbbell Lateral Shoulder Raises
    • Minute 2 – Dumbbell Tricep Kickbacks
    • Minute 3 – Hand Release Push Ups
    • Minute 4 – Rest

Lower Body Workout

This is a lower body workout geared to increase unilateral strength and muscle hypertrophy. Performing this workout will help more advanced lifters devote some time to addressing movement or muscle imbalances that they might be failing to address in regular training sessions. The below workout is to be done at a fluid pace, with rest periods 45-60 seconds max between all sets and exercises. The entire workout should be completed in under 30 minutes.

Note, supersets should be performed with no rest between pairings.

  • Tempo 2020 Goblet Squat x 10
    • Bodyweight Squat Jumps x 10
    • Complete pairing for a total of 4 sets
  • Bulgarian Split Squat x 12-15 per leg
    • Superset with 10 single leg glute bridge per side
    • Complete pairing for a total of 4 sets

Full Body Workout

Here is a total body workout that includes some aerobic conditioning within it. You can use the treadmill, rower, elliptical, or bike depending on the hotel gym.

  • Perform 4 rounds
    • 10 Dumbbell Hang Power Cleans
    • 10 Dumbbell Thrusters (both hands)
    • 2 Minutes of hard effort run/bike/row
    • 2 Minutes of rest
  • Go as heavy as you can with the dumbbells, and as hard as you can with the row/bike/run.

More Minimalist Workout Articles

Check out the below articles to get bonus hotel workout ideas, at-home training tips, and more!

Mike Dewar

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.

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