Big Gains; Small Spaces Part 1: Apartment Gym Setup

Living in an apartment can make exercising a struggle, especially if your building doesn’t have an apartment gym. If you have a small space like I do, imagining all of that equipment filling every inch of your apartment can be dissuading, however it is not impossible. Beyond the tips in this video, you will need to plan carefully to maximize your use of available space.

Wayne K.

His home gym operation takes place in a one bedroom 660 sq ft apartment above other neighbors. With a space this small, and goals as large as his, he ran into quite a few concerns and struggles. Because he was in an apartment, considerations needed to be made about what he was allowed to do according to his lease and how much weight he could safely have in his unit. Furthermore, he had to consider that his lower neighbors may be able to hear him lifting or feel the aftershock of deadlifting.

These space saving products are perfect for an apartment gym (And they won’t break the bank!):
  • Ab Roller/Exercise Wheel: Regardless of what you call them, these are great for achieving and maintaining that ideal figure in a cramped space. All you need is an Ab roller and an
    Apartment Gym set up in a 1 bedroom with 660 SQ FT.

    Wayne K. set up a gym in his one bedroom apartment.

    area in which you can stretch from fingers to toes on the floor. If you’ve never used one before, keep in mind that the ab roller is a bit more difficult than traditional crunches. Benefits: Portable, Easy storage, Strengthens core.

  • Doorway Chin-Up/Pull-Up Bars: I can not stress enough how perfect this piece of equipment is for the apartment lifestyle. It’s stored above your head and out of the way, while still being something you can use to work your entire upper body using the right routine. Moreover, there’s a vast array of workouts designed for the pull up bar that are low-impact; meaning you can still get your sweat on and reduce your risk of injury. Benefits: Simple Installation, Inexpensive, Complete upper-body workout, Low impact.
  • Suspension Trainers: These are a must-have for every apartment gym. They are small enough to store anywhere, and you can use them to work both the upper and lower body, which makes them incredibly versatile. All that you need to get a good workout with suspension trainers is a door and enough of an area to move around in front of it. Benefits: Portable, Strengthen core/upper body, Strengthen lower body.
  • Resistance Bands: These are a trifecta for your apartment gym. They’re budget friendly, minimal WC, and offer a variety of workout styles to help you achieve any goal. They are highly recommended for apartments that are too small to have any kind of large workout equipment or even a set of weights. Resistance bands are a great resource for building muscle, strength, and endurance, thus making them a useful addition to any strength training routine. Benefits: Portable, Minimal space required, Work a variety of muscles.
  • Bonus tip: Yoga mat. Newsflash you can do yoga without a mat. Yogis practiced yoga for centuries before yoga mats were invented. But, since they are a thing now, why not grab one to make your mobility work and cool down sessions a bit more pleasant? For a comprehensive breakdown of the best yoga mat options for your home gym check out this post from Jen Reviews.
This apartment gym was put together for under $300

This apartment gym was put together for under $300 photo credit: Emma C.

For those who can’t imagine a gym without free weights
  • Kettlebells: To get a well-rounded exercise routine at home, include a kettlebell or two! This will help you build up muscle and strength in your legs, lower back, and shoulders. Benefits: Small, Strengthen Lower Body, Endurance training, Inexpensive
  • Free Weights: For a small space, adjustable free weights are perfect. Peter Keller, the CEO and founder of Fringe Sport, recommends two different sized kettlebells. With those, “. . . you can do about 80% of the strength and conditioning training exercises that you need to do.”  These will help you build up muscle and strength in your legs, lower back, and shoulders. Benefits: Small, Strengthen Lower Body, Endurance training, Inexpensive
Wrapping It Up

Before you begin investing in your gym, make sure you have a plan in place for what you need. This will help you achieve your personal fitness goals faster.

The best way to begin your fitness journey is to figure out what your goals are, and what’s going to fit in well with your life,  says Keller.

How do you start buying once you have your shopping list? International All-Around Weightlifting Champion James Fuller suggests looking at Craigslist for equipment if you are planning on training at home.    Send article as PDF   

About the author

Brianna Hamby is a north Georgia writer. She enjoys walking as a daily exercise routine. Her interests include politics, philosophy, and positive living.




  • Big Gains; Small Spaces Part 2: Spare Bedroom Gym – garagegymmagazine November 6, 2018 at 2:57 am

    […] transform your spare bedroom into a fulfilling exercise space. You can read part one of the series, Big Gains; Small Spaces Part 1: Apartment Gym Setup. Spare rooms are not always the biggest, but you don’t need a lot to do a […]

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