If one of your goals is to get in shape, but you don’t have a budget for a gym membership, fear not. You can create a home gym in your apartment without having a tremendous amount of space or shelling out big bucks. Los Angeles-based Dempsey Marks, a fitness expert and creator of the PreGame Fit fitness/lifestyle program, gives us tips for setting up a top-notch gym in your tiny abode.
The Essential Equipment You’ll Need
Here’s what Marks says are the essential pieces of equipment:
1. A yoga or exercise mat
2. A jump rope for your cardio workout
3. One set of adjustable weight dumbbells and one set of resistance bands
4. If you have it in your budget, Marks suggests buying kettlebells. These are ball-shaped weights with handles.
You can buy these new (according to Marks, the tools she recommends would cost about $50 total) or head to Craigslist or apps like OfferUp to find used equipment for cheap. If you buy your tools secondhand, be sure to sanitize the equipment before using.
Dumbbells Versus Resistance Bands
“Dumbbells and resistance bands both have their benefits,” says Marks of the two different pieces of equipment used for strength training. “I prefer dumbbells because I find that there is more variety that I can do with them. Resistance bands are slightly safer than dumbbells and are a great tool for injury prevention. You really can’t go wrong with either piece of equipment.”
Where to Set Up Your Home Gym
“No space, no problem,” says Marks. “You only need a space large enough for a yoga mat. I work out in my bedroom next to my bed.”
If you don’t have space in your bedroom, Marks suggests the living room where you can push aside a coffee table and get to work.
Where to Store Everything
“The absolute necessities are easily stored in a closet,” says Marks. If your closet is already full, try your cabinets, book shelves, or in an ottoman or coffee table with storage space inside.
What to Buy If You Have the Space and Money
“My go-to machine would be a rowing machine,” says Marks. “Rowing strengthens your entire body and elevates your heart-rate so you burn a ton of calories. It’s one of the only pieces of cardio equipment that provides a full-body workout as well. The other great thing about rowing machines is that they aren’t high-impact like treadmills and are easier on your knees and hips.”
Consider Adding Mirrors
Not only can mirrors make a small space appear larger, they can also help you get in a better workout.
“Watching your form helps improve your workouts if you don’t have a trainer working with you to correct your form,” says Marks. She does acknowledge that this might not be an option for every apartment renter.
“Not everyone is comfortable looking at themselves in the mirror. Some find it distracting. I find the benefits are worth it,” she says.
Once you’ve set up a home gym in your apartment, check out these fitness tips for a great let workout!