I am a novice Olympic and power lifter. I learned the lifts through CrossFit. I will soon start a new job, and will travel Monday through Thursday, mainly staying at hotels. The hotels will have dumbbells, and some sort of cable machine, at best.

How can I continue to work on my squats, dead lifts, snatches, cleans, jerks, and presses without plates or an Olympic bar?

  • living out of a suitcase is bugger, isn't it?! Aug 11, 2011 at 13:32
  • it is a little like asking: how can I train for soccer without a ball? :( Oct 27, 2015 at 9:40

3 Answers 3


With that schedule, I would suggest doing hard workouts over the weekend and using the week for recovery. Relax, eat well, and sleep well (admittedly also hard when traveling on business).

If you do feel like you want to work on strength during the week, you could look at bodyweight strength exercise routines, such as the one recommended in The Naked Warrior. This routine focuses on short sets of single-leg squats and one-armed pushups. The author suggests visualizing them not as a workout, but as a "strength practice", doing only a few at a time with complete body tension to develop neural patterns. This would work well during a recovery period and requires no equipment.

  • Would you recommend TRX during on weekdays?
    – Brian
    Aug 12, 2011 at 13:39
  • I wouldn't use TRX ever. :-) I would just go hard and heavy on the weekend and recover (important!) during the week. Disclaimer: I hadn't heard of TRX before and my reaction is from a quick skim of the website.
    – G__
    Aug 12, 2011 at 13:51

All of the exercises you listed can be performed with dumbbells instead of a barbell. Although the weight might be different, there will be less stability with the dumbbells, which will help work your stabilization muscles.

Instead of low-weight deadlift, you could do good mornings.

  • Michael nailed it. Find the heaviest dumbbells (or kettlebells) and do A) one-arm versions of the Olympic lifts, e.g. snatches, cleans, jerks and B) take one in each hand and do all the rest, e.g. squats, good mornings instead of deadlifts, and presses. Your progress will be less than ideal, but you'll still get some power & strength work in. Aug 21, 2011 at 23:59

There are Olympic coaches having their athletes do hip thrusts, so you can do hip thrusts with your bed and chair. When you can do a lot of them, start on single leg hip thrusts.

Single leg squats are a good idea, and you can use a chair to help you stabilize or take weight off until you can work up. Deep jump squats with dumbbells on shoulders can help power a bit.

Also, good mornings and RDLs with dumbbells to build core and hamstrings.

An isometric overhead press at different levels may help. Use a doorway and change the level of height with crap in the room if you can. First, height hands around your nose, then second height shoulders and elbows level, third height elbows lined up with your eyes, as if you're about to finish locking out a press.

One-handed power snatches and kettle bell swings or pull-through with dumbbells might also be of use.

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