Training and Improvising While Traveling


For some of us it happens more often than we'd like. How many times have you found yourself in this situation're making massive gains in your speed and strength. It's been a solid few weeks/months/cycles/whatever and you haven't deviated from the course or rationalized quitting. Then...*poof* you're gone.

Work calls. It's a family vacation. Or something else, it doesn't matter because in the end it's all the same. You had the habit down and now you're out of your element. No matter if you're a beginner or the most advanced trainee out there.

When you're routine is thrown out the window and you can't stop it, it becomes difficult to improvise and keep your momentum.

I've had it lucky for the past 4 weeks. I My routine was tossed up and blown to bits like clay pigeon. But, being on an active military base has it's advantages. Namely about 2 dozen gyms within a 15 minute drive of my hotel. Most of these with full Olympic setups.

So yeah, I consider my situation similar to being forced to "endure" that hot dentist's boobs rubbing up against you while you get your teeth cleaned.

Oh the humanity!

But how can you say screw you to Murphy's law and keep up the momentum while you're stuck with a shitty hotel gym. Or no gym at all?

Check out these 6 methods/tips/tricks/mindsets and put them in your back pocket for the next time that bastard Murphy tries to piss on your shoulder and tell you it's raining.

If you're used to doing dumbbell bench presses with 120s but you're hotel only has dumbbells that go up to 50, there is no way you'll get any response from doing presses for anything less than 100 reps, give or take.

So your option is to either a) do a shit ton of reps, b) alter the leverage to make it harder on you or c) pre-exhaust the muscle 80s bodybuilding style.

Make Every Lift a Single Arm Lift

Single Arm - Anthony Mychal
Single Arm - Anthony Mychal

If you haven't read any of Dan John's writing, do yourself a favor and go read his blog at the very least. After that go pick up "Easy Strength", "Never Let Go", and "Intervention". Your lifts will go up, your body fat will drop, you'll have more free time/less stress, and you'll finally be able to give your lady friend multiples.

One thing that always stands out to me in his writing is his use of single arm movements.

That is, doing any of the typical lifts, but with just a single arm and not bracing yourself or holding on with the other arm.

The beauty in this approach is that all of the stability (or lack of stability if you're just starting it) is coming from your abs. Or if you're still stuck in the 00's...your core.

This comes in handy when the only weights you have access to are far below the weight you'd need to get any work from doing the traditional lifts.

The best bang for your buck exercises are going to be the military press*, the get-up (Turkish or Basic), and the indi-snatch.

*Yes, I know this is a two handed, regular military press. Just pretend I'm using one arm and holding a dumbbell*

Single Arm/Opposite Leg

Next up we have a variation on the single arm training from above.

The best movements for straight up single arm training are either full body or upper body. For those who want to be able to focus on the lower body, taking an opposite arm/opposite leg approach is a sure-fire way to challenge yourself.

It's simple too. Take whatever lower body exercise you're looking to train (lunge, squat, deadlift, hinge), make it a single leg version (if it isn't already), and then load the weight in the opposite arm.

So, of you were to do single leg squats on you right legs you would load the weight on your left side.

Boom. Simple, right?

If you're still looking to make it harder you can change how you load the weight. Holding it at your side would be the easiest. Next would be racking it on your shoulder, then holding it straight out in front of you, and the most difficult would be holding it straight over head.


Most hotels have, at the very least, some shitty treadmill. This works out perfectly since getting a great workout in is as simple as sprinting your ass off, knocking out some pushups, banging out some knee grabs, and then repeating it 9 times.

Enter...The Hurricane.

Martin Rooney is one of the best strength coaches out there so it's no surprise that he came up with this simple, effective, yet insanely brutal workout.

Yours truly...looking 100% NOT awkward with the one and only Martin Rooney.
Yours truly...looking 100% NOT awkward with the one and only Martin Rooney.

After a good warm up you're going to set the treadmill to a 10% incline and an 8mph speed. The speed can be adjusted based on abilities, but the incline has to be at 10%.

The first 3 sprints will be a 20s sprint at 10mph with 10 pushups and 15 knee grabs in between. After the 20s just grab the handles, jump off to the side, and knock out the pushups and knee grabs.

The next set of 3 sprints will still be 20s, but the speed will be increased by .5. Then you can either switch ou the pushups and kneegrabs for something else or keep them the same. If you switch them out, just make sure you keep them upper body focused since your legs will (should) be fried.

For the last 3 sets it's more of the same...increase the speed by .5 and make your pick of upper body exercises.

Oh...make sure you have a puke bucket nearby. Don't make the same mistake I'll cost you a fat tip to the cleaning lady.

What all of this comes down it 1) having the discipline to just keep training when you don't really know what to do and 2) having a stable of simple, effective, and efficient methods or exercises that you can do anywhere.

Improvise, Anthony Mychal, Rooney and Me