Tired of not having a space to work out? We get it. You wouldn’t be the first person who dropped their gym membership during the pandemic and never seemed to make their way back.
You might be saving money, but every time you try to work out at home, a lack of space and equipment is holding you back from getting the workout you deserve.
It’s time to get the ball rolling. Create your ideal small home gym set up with our top tips below.
What Do I Need in a Small Home Gym?
There are some essentials that have a place in every home gym. Regardless of your fitness goals, a small range of weights, resistance bands, and a yoga mat are small investments that will open up your possibilities. Below, I’ve included classics you’ll find yourself turning to year after year to stay in shape.
If you get just one piece of equipment, a yoga mat should be it. Yoga mats are great for stretching, calisthenics, and yoga. But if you have a set of weights or resistance bands, a yoga mat can become your dedicated workout space, too.
We love this yoga mat because it can be used to protect your floor from cardio equipment, but it’s larger than a standard yoga mat which makes it extra comfy and durable for bodyweight and strength workouts.
Dumbbells are a must-have in any home gym. A few light pairs go a long way, but a larger span of weights will keep you challenged as you gain strength over time.
If strength gains are on your to-do list, leveling up with a few pairs of heavy dumbbells is a necessity. But, they can add up fast. These adjustable dumbbells are a great alternative to save space and money.
Kettlebells are a one-stop-shop for increasing strength and athleticism. Their design brings the center of gravity away from the handle—unlike a dumbbell or barbell—which will keep your core constantly challenged.
We love these kettlebells because they offer a cast-iron grip, with a neoprene-covered base for durability.
Resistance bands are a great addition to any home gym because they allow you to do many popular cable-based exercises you can’t replicate at home with dumbbells or kettlebells. For example, lat pulldowns are amazing for targeting your back, and you can use a simple resistance band set up with an anchor to achieve them.
These bands come in a variety pack so you can use the heavier bands on larger muscle groups like your back and legs, and the lighter bands on smaller muscle groups like your arms.
Compact Cardio Equipment
Depending on the size of your home gym and goals, you might consider including compact cardio equipment too. Just one great machine is all you need to get you going. If you’re interested, be sure to peruse our compact foldable rowers, cycle bikes, ellipticals, mini steppers, and the Row-N-Ride® that make ideal options for any space.
How Do I Set Up a Small Home Gym with Limited Space?
So you know what to put in your space, but how to make it unique and separate from your living space? That can be the tricky part, especially if you live in a tiny apartment or single-family home. A little creativity goes a long way when it comes to small spaces. Here are a few of our favorite ideas.
Organize with a Storage Rack
With your dumbbells and kettlebells out of the way, you’ll have more room to work out. Plus, a weights rack makes your workout space look pretty snazzy. This storage rack was designed to hold kettlebells, dumbbells, weight plates, and medicine balls.
Style Your Space
Don’t underestimate the power of a well-decorated space to keep your internal fire lit. Use light and bright colors to keep your space feeling fresh, open the windows and let some natural light in, and accessorize your walls with motivational quotes or sticky notes that remind you why you work out in the first place.
The use of mirrors in small spaces is a classic technique interior designers rely on to make confined areas feel more spacious. Not only will adding mirrors help with optics, but a conveniently-placed mirror will give you the option to check on your exercise form regularly for more effective workouts.
Take Advantage of Corners
You don’t need a whole room to work out, the nooks and crannies of your living room, family room, or even bedroom will do. Pro tip: try to create separation, either by putting up a partition or decorating your dedicated workout corner differently from the rest of the room. You’ll be more likely to use it, and it will make your fluffy sofa and Netflix a bit less tempting.
Use the Hallway
If you’re used to the large gym floor, a hallway as a workout space might seem a bit, well, cramped. However, a typical hallway is a perfect size for a yoga mat, and a surprising amount can be done in this tight space. Hallways often typically have closets which make for quick and convenient equipment storage space after you’re done.
Create a Garden Workout Room
If you have a backyard, but struggle to find a dedicated space inside your home, take advantage of mother-in-law suites, or even large sheds which can make for great small home gym setups. Open the doors and let the fresh air in to give your workout an energy boost. A little paint, some decor, storage, and you’re in business.
How Small Can a Home Gym Be?
There aren’t really limits to how small your home gym can be. If you can move as you need to, with good form, that’s all you really need. However, before installing equipment, keep in mind it’s always nice to have about two feet of space each way (front, back, and sides) for freedom of movement.
If you have a bike or a treadmill, you’ll want space to stretch overhead, and to the sides before and after your workout. Plus, with a strength or yoga workout, you’ll likely find yourself reaching far beyond the girth of your yoga mat, so a little wiggle room is always welcome.