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A fitness movement built around traveling.

5 Dumbbell CrossFit Workouts For the Hotel Gym

5 Dumbbell CrossFit Workouts For the Hotel Gym

Hotel gyms can be hit or miss but you can usually count on them having a few dumbbells. 


You're staying in a hotel. You take a walk down to the gym to see what you'll be working out with during your stay when you stop dead in your tracks...all you see are treadmills and dumbbells.

Not exactly ideal, especially when you love barbells, rings, boxes, and kettlebells. It's not as bad as it seems, though. The truth is you can do some great workouts with just a couple of dumbbells, even if they’re light.

It doesn’t matter if your goal is to lose weight or gain muscle, dumbbells can play an important role in both. So don’t get discouraged when you find that your hotel gym has no barbells or heavy weights.

The five workouts we’ve listed here are perfect for hotel gyms with dumbbells that only go up to around fifty pounds, a common thing to see when you’re traveling. Each one will test your strength and conditioning, plus they’ll help you build muscle and burn a ton of calories through high numbers of repetitions.

5 Hotel Gym Dumbbell Workouts:

  1. “Hotel Hell” (Dumbbells + Bodyweight)

  2. “Makimba” (Dumbbells + Bodyweight)

  3. “DG” (Dumbbells + Pull-Up Bar)

  4. “Jump Around” (Partner Workout With Dumbbells + Jump Rope)

  5. “Tumilson” (Dumbbells + Treadmill)

Remember to warm-up before performing these workouts. Get your body primed for high-intensity training and your blood flowing with ten to fifteen minutes of dynamic stretching, light cardio, and bodyweight exercises.

Workout #1 - “Hotel Hell”

This one is first because it's a personal favorite. In fact, it's my go-to travel workout for light dumbbell-only situations. 

For Time:

Start with 5 burpees. Then complete as many thrusters as possible until the minute is up. Repeat until 100 total thrusters are completed. 

Here’s a video of Jason Khalipa doing Hotel Hell.

Workout #2 - “Makimba”

This workout of the day (WOD) and the person it's named after has an unusual backstory, which you can read here if you're interested. 

We're just going to focus on the WOD itself, because it's not a bad way to light some calories on fire with only a couple of light dumbbells and your bodyweight.

15-10-5 Reps for Time:

Workout #3 - “DG”

DG is a hero WOD, named after U.S. Air Force Major Walter David Gray, 38, of Conyers, GA. He was assigned to the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron, based in Fort Carson, CO, and died on August 8, 2012 from injuries suffered during a suicide bomb attack in Kunar province, Afghanistan. 

Air Force Major Walter Gray

Air Force Major Walter Gray

As many rounds as possible (AMRAP) in 10 minutes:

Workout #4 - “Jump Around”

This one requires a partner and a jump rope and is a fun way to workout with someone while traveling. 

Every minute on the minute (EMOM) for 15 minutes with a partner:

After each 3 minutes perform:

Partners are working on different exercises and switch at the end of each minute. Remaining time in the minute after completing the prescribed reps is the rest period. Every third minute, both partners complete 50 double unders or 75 single-unders.

For example: in minute 1, Partner A completes the dumbbell snatches while Partner B completes the overhead press. In minute two, they switch. In minute 3, they each complete the 50 double-unders or 75 single-unders. Continue this pattern for 15 minutes.

Workout #5 - “Tumilson”

This hero WOD requires either a treadmill (shouldn't be an issue in a hotel gym) or some room to run. 

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U.S. Navy Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist) Jon "JT" Thomas TuMileson, 35, of Rockford, IA, was assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit, and died on August 6, 2011, in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his helicopter crashed. 

Here's the WOD named for him.

8 Rounds For Time:

  • 200 meter Run (use treadmill or run outside)

  • 11 Dumbbell Burpee Deadlifts (60/40 lb)

Adjust the weight of the dumbbells as needed. Many hotel gyms will not have sixty pound dumbbells.

Here's a video demonstration of Tumilson.

The CrossFit Hero WODs in Alphabetical Order [With PDF]

Bottom Line

These workouts are perfect for hotel gyms with only dumbbells. They're tough. They will test your strength, conditioning and will to complete them. Stay motivated and push through. Be ready to answer questions from other people in the hotel gym that will be captivated by what you're doing.

Cover photo by CrossFit.

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