How to Create a Home Gym in Your Tiny Apartment

Posted December 27, 2012 in Exercise Equipment, Fitness Tips No Comments »

Work, Life, and Stress Keeping You Soft?

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Just because your apartment is the size of a postage stamp doesn’t mean you are any less inclined to create a personal workout space that allows you to squeeze in some exercise at your leisure, rather than having to cram in a session at the gym during their daytime hours. Most of us hold down full-time jobs that result in long hours and high stress.

The hassle of having to schlep over to the gym before or after work can put the kibosh on even the best-laid plans where fitness is concerned (as can a minimal budget). When having the equipment in front of you, ready to go at a moment’s notice (not to mention staring at you accusingly every time you decide to skip your workout), you’re much more likely to stick to the game plan. So here are just a few ways to get the home gym you want even when you live in a tiny apartment.

Working with Limited Space

When you are working with limited space you will necessarily have to economize. And since you don’t likely want to display bulky exercise equipment in your living room or fill the limited square footage in your bedroom with a large machine or other equipment, it behooves you to find solutions that are designed to take up only minimal space.

Of course, in an ideal situation, you could use a spare bedroom as a combination home gym/home office, but if you’re living alone, you might want to economize by skipping the cost of an unneeded extra room. Luckily, there are a few options that can still deliver the gym experience in the comfort of your tiny home.

Clearly, there will be no full Olympic benches, no squat racks, no power racks. An adjustable bench, perhaps. Adjustable dumbbells, more likely. Some sort of doorway pull-up bar, almost a necessity. Let’s consider some of our options.

Best Home Gym Equipment

For starters, you need to think about where your exercise interests lie so that you can prioritize your equipment purchases.

For example, those looking to cut (or lose weight) but have an inexplicable fear of using free weights even though research shows that high-intensity exercise with free weights promotes quicker and more effective fat loss that endurance cardio, might want to look into cardio equipment like bikes, treadmills, and ellipticals.

On the other hand, those who want to gain muscle, get stronger, or lose fat with optimal efficiency will likely prefer free weights. But you don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to one or the other, or specifically to a single set of dumbbells, thanks to space-saving solutions.

Free Weights

Weight benches will take up some space, no doubt, but one way to economize here is to use a barbell with flat-plate weights instead of stocking up on tons of bulky hand weights. Or if you’re only looking for limited weight training potential, you might just purchase a couple of sets of hand weights or even a set of resistance bands to work into your cardio routine. Another option is adjustable dumbbells produced by either Powerblock or Bowflex. These can range from 5 lbs to 125 lbs, depending on your budget.

Honestly, an adjustable bench and adjustable dumbbells are all you need to train just about any muscle combination. Heavy squats and barbell Olympic lifts are pretty much the only exercises you won’t be able to perform. Adding a doorway pull up bar and an ab wheel are two inexpensive options that will round out your home gym. Of course, there are serious limitations for hardcore lifters, but you certainly can stay in shape with this simple list of equipment.

Cardio Machines

When it comes to cardio machinery, you should look into folding treadmills and mini-steppers, some of which are light enough to move and small enough to fit in a closet (keeping them out of sight when not in use). You might also think outside the box by skipping traditional equipment and going for options like workout videos (P90X, Pilates, yoga, Zumba, etc.) or equipment that uses the space over your head (a pull-up bar or speed bag, for example). These exercise tools take up hardly any space and in the case of videos, they often require only minimal additional equipment (if any) to utilize.

Body Weight Exercises

To get past the limitations of exercise equipment, home gym workouts should make intelligent use of body weight exercises. Handstands, push ups, pull ups, sit ups, body weight squats, jumping, and animal crawls are all great examples of effective body weight training. Use the Tabata protocol with exercises like bodyweight squats to promote real growth and conditioning. To perform Tabatas, complete an exercise for 20 seconds as fast as possible, break for 10 seconds, and repeat 5 times.

If your fancy condo or apartment is to blame for your lack of a home gym because of its small stature, you should know that even the tiniest living space could still allow you the room you need to get fit. You just need to economize and find solutions that suit your space.

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