Much to our chagrin, the global pandemic we’ve all been dealing with doesn’t look to be coming to an end anytime soon. As such, many activities that were once woven into our daily lives have been put back on the shelf. For most of us, one of the most significant of those activities is going to the gym. Of course, personal fitness journeys haven’t just stopped because gyms are closed (or extremely limited regarding capacity and attendance). Now, as a result and more than ever, people are figuring out new ways to workout at home for their own physical and mental well-being.
If you live in a place with space large enough for a fully-featured in-home gym, you’re one of the lucky ones. Others — like those who live in closer quarters like buildings in the heart of a big city — have come to the realization that space to exercise can be very hard to come by. But there are options, so long as you know where to look. Whether you live in a crowded house full of roommates, a tiny trailer out in the wilderness, or your home is a micro-sized studio toward the top of a highrise, all the equipment on this guide is well-suited for your space. These are the 15 best pieces of workout gear for small apartments.
Making The Most Of Your Space
Room to Move
There are a lot of people who might want to allow the inability to go to the gym or a lack of storage space to be an excuse for falling off the rails regarding their fitness routine. And while there’s definitely nothing wrong from taking a bit of a break from exercise — especially in the shadow of a global pandemic — we also want to encourage people to consider their options, as staying dedicated to fitness can function as a kind of self-guided therapy — allowing you to clear your head, expel negativity, and (most obviously) stay on a healthy path.
As such, it’s necessary to look both at your fitness and exercise comfort level, as well as the organization of your abode. While working out in a small space — especially a tiny apartment — poses a unique challenge, it should not be looked at as a barrier to continuing toward your fitness goals. Every apartment, no matter the size, can be utilized for working out if you are ready and willing. After all, there are some workouts that only require enough space for a human body — which means that, inherently, apartments are perfectly suited to the endeavor.
The biggest trick is simply finding the motivation. If you have a bed frame that’s not flush against the ground, for instance, you can stash some weights or bands beneath it. If you have a closet — even a fully-packed one — you can probably still slip a rolled-up yoga mat in a corner. And, as is illustrated by the picks on this list, there’s a whole slew of other workout equipment designed specifically to take up as little space as possible and it’s often made to pack down even smaller than that. Regarding personal fitness: if you want it, you can achieve it — even when you’ve only got a few square feet to spare.
Though kettlebells are not inherently “compact” compared to other types of weights with similar formats — like dumbells — they are a good deal more versatile because of their top-mounted handle, giving them the ability to be used like traditional dumbells, as well as in a variety of other types of full-body exercise. That means you can usually get away with just having one or two to supplement your workouts — and they don’t get much better than those crafted by Onnit. As an added bonus, these ones are available in some unique designs — including both the animal-themed “Primal” lineup and officially-licensed Star Wars ones.
Renoj Resistances Bands
As far as space-saving is concerned, there might not be better weightlifting equipment than resistance bands. Ultra-compact, these durable rubber bands can be used for a huge variety of exercises — both for your upper and lower body — and the entire 5-band set takes up about the same amount of room as a single dumbell. Best of all, if you need to increase the resistance greater than any single band offers, you can stack them for even more versatility. If you’re a weightlifter and you’re only going to get one thing from this list, these might be the best all-around bang-for-your-buck option.
Lululemon Yoga Mats
The biggest benefit of yoga is that this full-body form of exercise truly only requires one thing: your body. And that makes it perfect for people with limited space. Of course, since you probably don’t want to sweat all over your floors and you may need a bit of grip for your feet and hands, getting a packable yoga mat is also a superb idea. Lululemon offers a full suite of options in different sizes and thicknesses, and some of them are even reversible so you can choose which texture suits your exercise best.
Brazyn Morph Bravo Foam Roller
If you don’t think that recovery is an essential part of working out and achieving fitness goals, you might be on a much longer road to health than anticipated. Take a hint from the top athletes in the world: focusing on recovery after tough workouts is just as, if not more important than the exercise itself. And a big part of that is rolling out your joints and muscles, helping to relieve tension and kneading out pesky pain-causing lactic acid. That’s much simpler to manage with the Brazyn Morph Bravo Foam Roller, which also conveniently flattens out for easy storage in even the smallest of spaces.
BZK Foldable Pull Up Bar
One of the toughest muscle groups to target in a small apartment is your back. But if you have one sturdy doorway and the BZK Foldable Pull Up Bar, your back muscle woes will be a thing of the past. This clever device doesn’t drill into the wall, but the clever design ensures it’s still secure enough to hold up to 440-pounds of weight without budging. As an added bonus, it can also be used as a push-up bar and even comes with additional straps that can be integrated into other types of exercise — like planks and other ab work.
OYO Personal Gym
If there is one type of person that knows the woes of working out in ultra-tight spaces, it’s NASA astronauts. And when these extraterrestrial travelers need to get some exercise in, they turn to the same technology — called SpiraFlex — used in the OYO Personal Gym. Weighing just 2lbs, this flywheel piece of gym equipment can produce resistance of up to 25lbs (at 5- and 10-pound increments, boasts ultra-durable nylon-coated stainless steel cables, and has ergonomic handgrips. Better still, it also comes with access to over 60 workout and 197 exercise videos and nutritional support online.
Chop Fit The Chopper
Heralded as offering the perfect balance between cardio and strength training, Chop Fit’s Chopper takes a centuries-old tool — the wood axe — and turns it into a full-body workout device. Measuring up at just 20.25″ in length and 6.75″ wide, this weighted hatchet can be gripped to provide as little resistance as 6lbs and as much as 16lbs, depending on your hand placement. It also comes with an included mobile app that offers up guided workouts — including those that utilize two Choppers at a time — and was built for long-term durability.
There’s a possibility that the Pocket Monkii is the world’s most compact total-body training device. Even if that’s not a claim that can be verified, this device is pretty incredible for its versatility and packability. Literally small enough to stash in a pants pocket when collapsed and packed, the Pocket Monkii can be used in either your home or outdoors, it comes with a 5-star-rated mobile app for guided workouts, and there’s even an included 21-day habit training program to help ensure that you stick to your exercise routine in the long run.
TRX Home2 System
Like the Pocket Monkii above, the TRX Home2 System is a super-compact bands-based full-body workout system. What’s the difference? Well, the TRX is trusted by hardcore gym-goers (and the gyms themselves) and top-tier athletes around the world and from all walks of life. Granted, it’s not as compact and portable as the Pocket Monkii, but it does come with support from one of the best exercise gear brands in the world, including a year of unfettered app access included, TRX Concierge support (like troubleshooting for tech), and it has a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Though this might look like a lat pull-down bar, its actually a unique and novel workout device based on an ancient hunter’s tool, the bow. Complete with a set of resistance bands, this simple-yet-effective exercise tool can help you lose weight, gain muscle, melt away stress, and more. It’s also remarkably speedy, requiring just seconds to swap out tension bands to increase your resistance or move on to the next muscle group. Constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum, it’s also rated to support up to 300 pounds, meaning it’s plenty durable for even the toughest workouts. Best of all, weighing just 6lbs alone, it can be stored almost anywhere you might stash, say, a broom.
Boxing is a really great cardio workout that also helps work out your brain, as it requires quick thinking and good hand-eye coordination. Unfortunately, most punching bags require a good amount of space, a place to mount them, and they don’t exactly pack away all that easily. And shadowboxing will only get you so far in your endeavors. By contrast, the Quiet Punch is a compact, lightweight alternative that requires just a doorway in which to mount it (without ruining that doorway, of course). Furthermore, on top of the whole easy-to-use rig, the Quiet Punch also includes access to the brand’s app with over 100 hours of on-demand training — all without any additional fees… ever.
Treadly 2 Compact Treadmill
Larger pieces of fitness equipment, especially machines made for cardio, are inherently a bit bulky and are definitely one of the toughest things to pare into a small living space. But the folks at Treadly have managed to take a fully-featured treadmill and turn it into something supremely easy to store at just 3.7″ tall — making it great for slipping under a bed frame, couch, or even at the back of a closet. But that compact frame can still support up to 265lbs, it works on both hard flooring and carpet, and it has its own built-in Bluetooth speakers — so you can pump in the tunes while you walk, jog, run, or sprint.
Guided workouts, for some, can be one of the most effective and efficient ways to exercise. But meeting up with your personal trainer during a pandemic is difficult, at the least, and probably inadvisable. Thankfully, the literal geniuses at Mirror have taken the concept of on-demand personal training and pared it into a high-tech connected device that takes up as much room in your home as, well, a full-length mirror. Best of all, it comes with access to fitness routines guided by some of the world’s top trainers, it’s actually reflective so you can keep an eye on your form, and it offers a huge variety of workout styles and onboard playlists to get your blood pumping. Just keep in mind that the device itself is a bit pricey and it does require an additional monthly subscription to keep using it.
Handy Gym Dynamic
According to the brand, the Handy Gym Dynamic offers up “the most portable and powerful flywheel technology” on the market today. And that makes for a remarkably versatile full-body workout system, that requires minimal room for storage between uses. Complete with 21 exclusive accessories — including a backpack in which you can store and transport it all — this comprehensive kit offers up more potential than some actual brick-and-mortar gyms. That’s hundreds of exercises across every single muscle group in the body — meaning that, so long as you stay on top of it, this could be a life-changing collection of fitness equipment that will get you in the best shape of your life — all in a package you could fit in a small cupboard.
Tonal Home Gym
Like The Mirror, the Tonal Home Gym takes up only about as much room as a full-length mirror — give or take a few inches of depth. But where the Tonal really shines is in the fact that it has a fully-functional and fully-featured cable weight system — like the full-sized rigs you’ll find in the gym. That means, along with personal training functions, it also offers a full suite of weightlifting capabilities perfect for getting in the best shape of your life — even in a tiny studio apartment. It also requires a monthly fee for the included curated personal training programs, but the $49 on top of the price of the equipment is a good deal cheaper than the price of most modern gym memberships — which you likely couldn’t take advantage of right now anyhow.
The 45 Best Men’s Workout Essentials For Every Exercise
Even in a tiny studio apartment, there are a few essentials you’re going to need for your workouts. Regardless of your routine of choice, you’ll find what you need on our comprehensive guide to the best men’s workout gear.