How to Maximize a Small or Limited Gym

Rocking out a workout at the Mirage Hotel gym in Las Vegas in February. Day after my Half Marathon win and PR.

While away for my sister’s bridal shower weekend last week, I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. I posted a couple stories on my Instagram at the time, showing the incredibly tiny gym and the minimal options I was presented with for weight lifting. I decided this is a great topic for a blog, as many people travel for work or leisure, and don’t want their routines interrupted. This may also be helpful if you have extra space at home and are looking to create your own personal gym.

When weight training, you really don’t need much. This is assuming you know how to utilize free weights in a meaningful and safe way. The benefit to weight machines is that form is somewhat guided, so creativity doesn’t need to be high, and most moves are supported. Weight machines take up a ton of space, so many older hotels or ones with tiny gyms won’t have them.

If you have room and access to a bench, a mat, and a stability ball, along with a healthy assortment of free weights (dumb bells and/or bar bells), you can get in a fantastic weight training session.

Utilize the mat for pushups, planks, core work in general, and stretching.

Utilize the floor for squats, lunges, upward row, deadlifts (if there’s room!), overhead shoulder presses and bicep curls.

Utilize the bench for bench press, skull crushers, dips, step-ups, bent-over row, and incline press.

Utilize the stability ball for hamstring curls, knee tucks, and stability chest press.

Utilize the weights whenever possible over simple bodyweight work for a more intense workout and greater payoff. If you have a nice weight range, you should be able to challenge and exhaust pretty much everything head to toe.

If creativity is low, or you have questions on form, there are tons of Youtube channels out there with decent demonstrations and tips. Training while traveling can be a challenge, but it can also be a new adventure! Unlike my hotel experience last weekend, my recent hotel experience in Las Vegas at the Mirage was a pleasant surprise – it was really awesome. Everything you could imagine and more! Make opportunities instead of excuses, and your training will rarely get off track.

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