woman exercises at home with exercise equipment in a small space

Game-Changing Exercise Equipment for Small Spaces

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Looking for home gym ideas but short on space?

Never fear, there’s plenty of space-saving exercise equipment options.

Even though I love going to the gym, I’ve collected a lot of home gym equipment over the years. Some pieces I still use today, and others ended up in a donation pile.

In a compact home gym, workout equipment can’t be a one-trick pony. It needs to provide a lot of value to earn its keep in real estate (or at least be able to tuck away quietly in the corner).

Craft a fully balanced fitness routine with this round-up of small exercise equipment for your home gym.

Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes and is not medical advice. Read the full disclaimer.

A GOOD QUALITY MAT

Whether it’s yoga, Pilates, or stretching, treat yourself to a good quality mat that provides padding, traction, and stability to support your joints. 

Nothing ruins a practice faster than slippery palms – read Outstanding Yoga Mats for Sweaty Hands to Transform Your Practice.

Quality mats may appear pricey upfront, but excellent cushioning and traction will change your practice to a point where you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Plus, they last for years. Think of it as an investment to ease that initial sticker shock. 

Here are some cult favorite mats that have passed the tried and true test:

Grab some blocks while you’re at it for a fully functional home yoga practice. 

woman on a yoga mat demonstrating half splits yoga pose with yoga blocks to modify in an article about exercise equipment for small spaces
Copyright Maura Blackstone

If you’re looking for a mat for cardio activities like burpees or push-ups, look into a padded workout mat that doesn’t mind taking a beating from your sneakers.

(So you don’t end up like my husband, who nearly choked when he found out he ruined an $80 yoga mat.) – Just a heads up fellas!

Shop workout mats at Amazon.

TRX 

TRX is a type of suspension trainer for resistance training, in which you perform various body weight strength exercises anchoring yourself with straps. The angle of your body determines the level of difficulty.

Don’t let bodyweight foot you, TRX workouts are no joke. A Navy SEAL invented TRX as a means to get a full-body workout while saving on space. It’s certainly a versatile piece of compact exercise equipment for home.

With some basic hardware, TRX can be mounted to a wall or ceiling, and it can be easily detached to travel with and use the door anchor option.

Any fitness level can use TRX by adjusting your body angle to make strength moves easier or harder.  Suspension trainers provide a full-body workout with lots of options for different exercises,  including some higher-level options for core strengthening.

Instability provides a unique challenge but may be too advanced for beginners with some exercises.

Shop TRX at Amazon.

woman using a trx space saving home exercise equipment
image source: bigstockphoto.com

RESISTANCE BANDS

Many exercises you can do with weights, you can do with a resistance band. 

They are inexpensive, lightweight, come in graded strengths, and don’t take up a lot of space. They can neatly tuck away in the drawer or your suitcase. 

The downside of resistance bands is that they don’t last forever and need to be periodically checked for cracks to avoid injuries. Another drawback is that beginners may find it challenging to control the band’s path, which results in poor form.

If investing in resistance bands, grab a few different strengths to cover all your bases. Resistance bands are some of the best home gym essentials for small spaces.

ADJUSTABLE DUMBBELLS

Don’t have room for a bunch of mismatched weights hanging around? 

Get your hands on some adjustable dumbbells – the nesting dolls of fitness equipment.

They come in a variety of strengths and fit neatly into each other, only taking up the space of two dumbbells. 

If you don’t like the style of adjustable dumbbells or the weight selection doesn’t suit your needs, I recommend getting three different sets of free weights – a light, medium, and heavy weight – whatever this means for you. 

With these three options, you’ll be able to do most strengthening exercises with plenty of modification options. 

man workout out at home using exercise equipment for small spaces.
image source: depositphotos.com

KETTLEBELL

The idea of kettlebell training as a workout offers different perks than your straight-up weight training. Because of the handle on top, they can be used for more dynamic movements.

The center of mass of a kettlebell is outside of your grip, versus a dumbbell where it’s distributed evenly throughout the grip. This isn’t better or worse. Its shape lends itself to specific movements, for example, the traditional kettlebell swing.

Here’s a fun space-saving kettlebell for home that you can adjust the weight for various exercises.

FOAM ROLLER

Foam rollers have become a staple in most gyms, and you can usually find people rolling away (often incorrectly) in the corner. 

Foam rolling is essentially a tool to give yourself a cheap massage, with the hopes of feeling less pain, tightness, and increasing overall mobility. Your body weight is used to apply pressure and slowly roll over an area to mobilize tissue.

One of my favorite foam rollers is the Trigger Point Grid – a great option for small spaces!

Foam rolling can be a great adjunct to a stretching and mobility program when appropriately used. 

Don’t worry; you won’t be one of those people using it wrong because you’re going to read Foam Rolling 101 to get all the details on this crowd favorite. 

Check out the exercise library for more foam rolling step by step. 

AEROBIC STEP

Whether you’re doing step aerobics, agility drills, or weight lifting, a step can really up your home fitness options for a reasonably light footprint. 

Aerobic steps have adjustable risers to change the height, usually between 4 – 8 inches for cardio and step aerobics.

Check out this Reebok mini step or original step.

For those looking for more agility and balance training, a BOSU ball might be for you.

WEIGHT BENCH

If you do a lot of strengthening at home, a small workout bench might be just what you need.

Perform a variety of body weight and dumbbell exercises, including dips, elevated push-ups, and chest work. It can even serve as a convenient place to store other equipment underneath. 

Check out this awesome combo step/ weight bench, the multifunctional aerobic deck. It even has space to tuck away some small weights so you can stop tripping over them in your living room.

STREAMING WORKOUTS

One of the issues with home workouts is it can be tough to maintain motivation, especially if you love fitness classes. While it’s not exactly the same, I can say that streaming workouts have saved some of my sanity during this pandemic. 

Are you still sporting a mega fitness DVD collection?

Cut down on that space and start streaming workouts! Not to mention, there are tons more variety than the same old DVD. This home gym essential takes up no space and adds some variety to your workout routine.

Here are some popular favorites.

AAPTIV

Aaptiv is super affordable and offers a variety of guided audio workouts. 

Grab your own 30-day free trial of Aaptiv here.

I mostly use Aaptiv to keep me engaged on cardio equipment, but you can get a full fitness program from this all-in-one app. 

Pick from different workouts, including treadmill, stair climber, strength training, elliptical, indoor cycle, Yoga, Pilates, guided meditation, and more. There are even programs for guided outdoor walks.

Customize workouts by length of time, music genre, trainer, and fitness level. You can even schedule workouts, so you don’t forget.

You can check out my detailed review of Aaptiv here.

YOGA DOWNLOAD

Can’t make it out to the studio? No prob. 

Yoga Download has thousands of streaming classes for all levels at an affordable price. (There are even free classes!) which is a great way to check them out before committing. 

They have plenty of beginner-friendly resources, including yoga classes, yoga pose videos, and printable pose guides to help you practice yoga safely and confidently.

Yoga Download also offers Pilates and meditation.

BEACH BODY ON DEMAND

Beach Body on Demand has P90X, Insanity, 21-day Fix, and much more.

With over 1100+ workouts to choose from, you’ll never get bored. They offer fitness options for all levels, from beginner to well, insanity! 

Beach Body On Demand is a stand alone workout platform focusing on home workout options. There’s no need to sign up for a “coach” or purchase overpriced protein shakes to use this service – despite what you may have seen on social media.

Beachbody On Demand 14 Day Free Trial!

Want more? Check out the resources page for a list of my favorite YouTube workout channels. 

JUMP ROPE

Nothing gets the heart rate up quite like a jump rope. 

Great for infecting cardio intervals into your weight training, a jump rope makes the list of space-saving fitness equipment. 

You can always toss it in your bag and take it to the park or any other outdoor space to workout. 

SPACE SAVING CARDIO EQUIPMENT

Being short on space doesn’t mean you can’t get a cardio machine. Here are some ideas for cardio equipment for small spaces.

STATIONARY BIKE OR SPIN BIKE

A spin bike or indoor cycle bike allows you to mimic an outdoor style ride, adjust resistance quickly and easily, and change between seated and standing positions.

In my opinion, spin bikes offer a higher and more varied cardio workout than a typical stationary bike. (Plus, it’s fun!)

You don’t have to shell out for a Peloton to get a great spin workout at home. The Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle is an affordable option.

Home spin classes are becoming a thing, but you can buy any bike that suits you and stream spin classes from many different services, including Aaptiv. 

I’ve had this bike for a few years now. I was able to swap the pedals out for pedals with clips, and I use my phone to stream spin classes from Aaptiv and Les Mills On Demand.

ROWING MACHINE

Rowing machines are popular again. The rowing machine offers a full-body cardio workout while engaging and strengthening the muscles of the upper back and legs.

Rowing is low impact and can accommodate all fitness levels.

FOLDING TREADMILL

A folding treadmill can save a lot of space in your small home gym.

If you’re looking to invest, NordicTrack and Life Fitness have some nice options.

Bluefin Fitness and Amazon also have some affordable folding treadmills.

WHAT’S THE BEST SPACE SAVING HOME GYM EQUIPMENT?

A small space doesn’t mean you can’t build a well-balanced fitness routine.

While these are all great options, the best equipment for you will depend on your needs and goals. 

Consider these space-saving exercise equipment options to add some variety and get a great workout – from the comfort of your own home. 

Don’t forget to sign up for the free fitness injury prevention challenge below!

featured image source: Nyul / bigstockphoto.com

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