A Week of Hotel Workouts: How to Thrive Without Kettlebells

Traveling can throw a wrench in your training plans. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

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What do you do when you don't have any of these available?

What do you do when you don’t have access to all your training equipment? One of the things that I like about training with kettlebells and bodyweight movements is it enables me to train almost anywhere. That was the case this last week, as I was out of town at a conference for pastors back east. Sadly, the hotel fitness center (which was great) did not have any kettlebells. And I was reminded why I prefer kettlebells to dumbbells (the gym didn’t have any barbells), but the kettlebell lover can still get a pretty fantastic workout with some hotel dumbbells and a little creativity. But I knew this beforehand, and planned my workouts accordingly.

Here’s what my week looked like.


Travel. My day started at 3:00AM and I arrived at my designation about 7:00PM. A workout just wasn’t practical, though I pounded out a few pushups in the airport…and did a lot of walking.


Turkish Get-ups and Pull-ups

After warming up with some pushups and squats, I grabbed a 55# dumbbell and took it over to the pull-up bar. Then I did the following workout:

Five rounds, resting about 2 minutes between rounds.

  • 1 Turkish Get-up Left, 1 TGU Right
  • 1 Pull-up
  • 2 Turkish Get-ups Left, 2 TGU’s Right
  • 2 Pull-ups

That was it. It took me about 25 minutes. I felt pretty fresh at the end, and wasn’t sore the next day, though I had some tired gluts.


This was primarily an off day. So in my hotel room I did two sets of one-arm pushup variations (where one arm is fully-extended out to the side, and you’re focused on the side doing the work. I call them archer pushups. I did about 15-20 per side), followed by some prisoner squats (deep squats with the fingers interlaced behind the head).

Afterward I did yoga stretches and some L holds on a chair.

I chased this with several additional sets of pushups throughout the day during breaks in the conference.


This was a dandy. The hotel had several sets of dumbbells up to 60#, so there was a lot you could do. I did a dumbbell circuit as follows:

5 Rounds (no rest between exercises):

  • 5 Bench Press (60# DB’s)
  • 5 Front Squats (60# DB’s)
  • 5 Weighted Pull-ups (20#)
  • 5 Hanging Leg Raises

For the pull-ups, I just put the DB between my crossed feet and went after it. I rested about 2 minutes between rounds.


Travel. This was another long day, including eighteen hours of travel and one long layover. I did a good deal of walking in the airports, though.

I know we’ve made the case before that you don’t need to be at home or in your gym to get in a good workout, but sometimes examples are helpful, like what I did this week.

How about you? What’s your go-to exercise of choice when you’re traveling? Long walks to check out the neighborhood? Calisthenics in your hotel room?

Have you read these posts?

A Week of Hotel Workouts
A Week of Workouts Away from Home


  1. Jolie Hall says

    Thanks for sharing some good, quick workouts. I used this combo as part of my strength training today, it was the squats/pushups: 30/15 28/14 26/13 24/12 22/11 20/10

    It felt good, and it was quick!


    • says

      Way to go, Jolie! If you don’t know Jolie, she doesn’t do girl pushups (not to knock girl pushups, of course). She’s hard core! I love the declining reps per set; it’s easier mentally to get after them. But ascending reps per set are a great way to train the mind and the body. (e.g., 20/10, 22/11, 24/12, etc.)

      Really good job.

  2. Jolie Hall says

    The declining is what kept me going, I would tell myself that it was getting easier :-) I think the ascending would be good and hard! This was no walk in the park, 6 rounds got me going.

    Thanks again for sharing!!

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