Did you decide to plan a getaway to chase away the post-holiday slump? Or maybe February brings a rush of work travel now that the holiday breaks are behind us. Either way, you want a way to stay committed to your healthy striving goals with a good workout on the road. If you find yourself unsure of what to do in a hotel gym with limited equipment, I suggest keeping it simple with a one dumbbell workout.
You may scoff at the idea of a one dumbbell workout. Trust me, your body will get a surprisingly hard workout by using a variety of other training variables to challenge your body.
This workout starts with just four moves but you can also add body weight exercises like pushups and planks to this routine if you have time. To save time you can also do this as a circuit with no rest in between the 10-15 repetitions of each exercise you complete. Do this for up to four rounds or four sets per exercise.
- 1 ¼ Goblet squats: Start by holding one dumbbell at chest height perpendicular to the ground, with feet shoulder distance apart and toes pointed slightly outward. Keeping the weight close to your chest, descend into the squat position with a neutral spine, eyes up and knees tracking slightly out. Push through your heels to rise only 1/4 of the way and then return to the low point of your squat. Then return to a full standing position. Repeat for the desired number of reps. The extra 1/4 squat at the bottom extra challenge time under tension for your muscles to challenge them in a new way.
- Single Arm Push Press: The key to a push press is to think of your legs as springs. You’ll start by holding your dumbbell in your right hand just over your right shoulder with your palm facing the right side of your head. Lower into half a squat and then explode, like a spring, into the balls of your feet and let the momentum take the dumbbell up into an overhead press. (Do NOT release the dumbbell!) You’re using your legs to create momentum and push a weight overhead that might be a little heavier than you would use for your regular shoulder press. Return the dumbbell to your starting position before the next rep. Do all of your reps on your right side before switching to the left side. The explosive movement keeps your heart rate up.
- Overhead reverse lunge: This time hold the weight in your right hand with your right arm fully extended overhead. Hold that position while stepping back with your right foot into a reverse lunge. If possible, drop your right knee all the way to the ground before pushing through your left heel to return to a standing position. Keep the dumbbell overhead while you perform all reps on your right side. When you’ve completed all the reps on the right, switch the dumbbell to your left hand. Hold the weight overhead while you complete your reverse lunges on your left side for the desired reps. The isometric contraction of the weight overhead works your shoulders and arms while you move your lower body.
- Single Arm Row (regular or wide): Return the dumbbell to your right hand. With feet hip-width apart, hinge forward from the waist with a neutral spine until your torso is almost parallel to the ground. Your arm should be fully extended down towards the ground. From this position pull the weight up to your side, letting your elbow slide past your rib cage. Release the weight back to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of reps. Repeat for the same amount of reps on the left side. You can make this more challenging if necessary by performing a wide row instead. All you have to do is hold the dumbbell with your palm facing behind you and pull up with the elbow now pulling out to the side and forming a 90-degree angle. No matter which version you do be sure not to round your shoulders and to keep your knees slightly bent. The wide position hits smaller muscles that may need extra attention and don’t get challenged as often.
This quick one dumbbell workout also works for busy times at the gym or if you need to workout at home on a snow day. Or, in my case, if you’re jet lagged and just don’t feel like leaving the house to workout. I’ll be sharing more about my London/Paris adventure on the blog next week and on Instagram this week. Take a minute to subscribe to my email list for my subscriber-only updates on what I read last month and on the plane.