If you’re an avid bodybuilder like me, the first thing on your mind when you plan a road trip is, “How am I going to get my workouts in?” Ever since I can remember, my main focus for each trip was to strategize a way to get a good workout in with minimal equipment and little time to spare. The upper-body workout below is perfect for the business traveler who’s forced to do his or her workout at a hotel, or the family man who can only sneak away for 30-40 minutes to squeeze in a good pump. All you need is your own body and a dumbbell rack.

Since you’re short on time and equipment, the focus is on the larger upper-body muscle groups: chest, back, and shoulders, with a little abdominal work as part of the warm-up to get you started. You’ll perform the workout in tri-set fashion for three sets of 10-15 reps each, moving as fast as you can through the three-exercise circuit. After you complete the tri-set, take a 60- to 90-second break, then repeat two more times for a total of three rounds.

Since most hotel gyms don’t carry heavy dumbbells, you’ll have to rely on creative high-rep combos to tap into some endurance muscle fibers that likely haven’t been hit in a while. Use this time to mix up your workout, and ignite some new muscle growth in the process.

Start the workout with a quick dynamic warm-up, a light jog outside, or, if the hotel has a decent fitness center, 3-5 minutes on a bike or treadmill. From there you’ll do your abs work, then chest, back, and shoulders.


Front Plank Alternating Reach1 2 10 per side/arm
Superset with V-Ups 2 20


3-Way Pushups2 3 10-15 per position
Dumbbell Alternating Bent-Over Row3 3 10-15 per position
Kneeling Dumbbell Overhead Press4 3 10-15 per position
Dumbbell Floor Press/Flye Combo5 3 10-15 per position
Rear Delt Dumbbell Flye 3 10-15
Dumbbell Front Raise/Lateral Raise Combo6 3 10-15 each


1. Holding a front plank position, lift one arm up and out in front of you, pause, then repeat with the other arm. Alternate in this fashion until you’ve completed 10 reps with each arm.

2. The first pushup position is just outside shoulder-width apart; the second position is hands 3″ from each other; and the last position is as wide as you can go without compromising your shoulders.

3. Hold one of the dumbbells in the up position while keeping your lats and shoulder blades contracted. Once you finish with one arm, proceed with the other arm.

4. To increase intensity, perform overhead presses from a kneeling position.

5. Lying down on your back on the floor, perform a rep of a press, then a flye, and repeat until you finish 10-15 reps of each.

6. Perform one complete rep of a dumbbell front raise, then one complete rep of a lateral raise. Alternate in this fashion until you’ve done 10-15 reps of each.