Training with limited equipment and resources

 By Jay Johnson

Training with limited equipment/resources

Having the equipment and resources that you need to achieve your goals is critical not only when it comes to fitness, the right nutrition, or bodybuilding, but any goal that you are attempting to accomplish whether it’s for leisure or in a professional career. It’s not uncommon that artists may spend thousands of dollars on an easel, or a particular brand of paint brush or paint specifically for the goal of creating a painting. This same rule applies for anyone that is attempting to achieve the edge on the competition, or simply trying to perfect their craft or work.

So what happens when you have all the best ideas, all the credentials, everything that you need, but you don’t have the best quality paint? Or don’t have that state of the art paintbrush? This is a common issue in the fitness world as their has no doubt been evolution in equipment, supplementation, and diet breakthroughs compared to where things were in the past. The most important thing to keep in mind if your fitness equipment is limited is that knowledge is power. Knowing how particular muscle groups are stimulated with particular ranges of motion from machines is the key, considering you can get the same results through not having the equivalent equipment but knowing what groups to focus on. Other factors will fall in place with this being one of the top priorities in mind.

Key points in still being successful and maintaining consistent progress in these circumstances are:

  • What items could realistically be used as an alternative? You’ll be surprised at what you have in your arsenal that you may not realize that you do when you really put your mind to it. If you’re traveling, luggage, bags, Hotel room chairs, even towels can be used for training. Using a hotel room chair, dips or incline push-ups can be done. Using a towel and a partner, resistance can be generated by pulling in the opposite directions. This opens up a whole new realm of possibilities. Wall sits are also a popular exercise it can be done with literally nothing but a wall available.
  • Are you truly limited on resources, or have access within reason? Knowing what the reason is that you are limited is the first step to realize whether or not you truly don’t have access to what you may need. An example would be if you are on vacation and the hotel does not have a fitness center, is there a local gym chain that you may already have a membership with? Is there a local park with a jungle gym, swing set, or pull up bar/outdoor fitness center that is free of charge? Research your resources first. You may be surprised at what you actually have access to.
  • What are your goals? Could the same be accomplished without the weight training equipment and through other means? If you main goal is calorie deficit, weights may not even be necessary and may be accomplished through diet and cardio. Same may apply with cutting fat as well using own bodyweight exercises. If you have a goal of building density and mass, having something to create a heavier resistance will be necessary.
  • What training would you absolutely have to omit due to it being impossible and not having an alternative? Exercises such his leg press, hack squats, or leg extensions are hard pressed to find it and alternative that is a similar range of motion without having the machines themselves. It’s key to know exactly what these ranges of motion are and what they emphasized on so that you can do what you can to have the same muscle stimulation just with a different range of motion. Hack squats can be emulated with doing squats up against the wall and bearing weight at the same time on your shoulders, or a slight variant of lunges can be done to emphasize more on the quad during the exertion motion. This also helps with muscle memory once you do have access to those machines, so that you can continue to build strength or not lose any gains that you may have acquired if you are without for a limited time.
  • Realizing that time is an actual resource in addition to equipment: Determining if the circumstance that limits you is time, equipment, or both can change your possibilities. The plus side of not using or having the equipment for training may mean that your training can be concluded faster. The down time of loading/taking off plates is a part of what may actually give time back and allow more time for a different style of training. Not being limited on the equipment but being limited on time can also lead to a different style of training that can lead to success from a different angle and stimulation from an aerobic perspective or cardiovascular improvement.

Critical to remember that improvisation is an inevitable route that will have to be a choice for success when dealing with other priorities and distractions that life brings. It’s rare that the circumstances will be perfect for the entire fitness journey to achieve your goals. In my personal experiences, learning to adapt and adjust with what you have in your disposal can literally be the difference between success and falling short on achieving your goals.

Take a look at the below plans in the Store to get custom education, tailored just for you on how you can still achieve your fitness goals regardless of what limits you!

  • 1 Week Stay the course Travel plan
  • 12 Week basic without/minimal weights plan
  • Limited Resources Travel plan (training only)