When you live in a small space, you have to carefully consider each item you bring into your home. That process becomes even more important when it comes to creating a home gym.
Fitness equipment is often large and focused on a single type of workout: you can use a treadmill to run, a stationary bike to cycle, and a rower to row. But most small-space dwellers don’t have room for bulky cardio machines, and prefer to buy compact equipment that can be used for multiple forms of exercise, kind of like the Swiss Army knives of fitness.
So how do you know which items make the cut? Below, check out four of the best multitasking tools for a home gym in a small space.
Strength bands and mini bands can safely increase the intensity of an exercise without the need for extra weights. Want to build on a simple move like a squat jump or side lunge? Just add a mini band around your ankles or thighs. Strength bands work for a variety of purposes, like rehabilitation, stretching, mobility, and resistance training. You can even use them for powerlifting, weightlifting, and pull-up assistance. Because bands are easily packed and stored, they’re also useful if you want to take your workout outside or on the road.
If you want to strengthen and tone using weight, invest in a kettlebell. From squats, swings and snatches, to thrusters and walk carries, kettlebells help you combine strength and cardio while engaging multiple muscle groups during workouts.
The benefit of kettlebells is they don’t take up much space and they’re easy to store. The drawback is they’re heavy, and you’ll regularly want to upgrade to a heavier weight as you set new fitness goals. But, if you decide to purchase a kettlebell for your home gym, there are hundreds of kettlebell exercises to keep your workouts fresh and interesting.
Much like the kettlebell, you’ll eventually progress beyond your first medicine ball, so you’ll need to buy more challenging weight as you grow stronger. Consider offsetting the cost and maximizing your small space by selling your old weight through a classified ad site, like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
TRX Suspension Trainer
For an all-in-one solution workout solution, there’s no better investment than the TRX Suspension Trainer. Created by a Navy SEAL looking for ways to stay fit while deployed, the Suspension Trainer is a full-body tool that adapts to any and every body. It’s easy to adjust how much bodyweight you apply to your “load” with the Suspension Trainer—you simply adjust your angle—so you can make exercise easier or harder without upgrading to a new tool. Plus, the straps easily fold into a small carrying pouch, so you can take or store them anywhere.
The drawback to the Suspension Trainer is that it’s the priciest option on this list—about $200. But, considering the number of exercises you can do and the results it produces, it’s an excellent value.
Still unsure of the best fit for your small space? Start small and cheap with the mini bands. You can use them now with bodyweight exercises while you determine your exact needs, and combine them with your medicine ball and TRX Suspension Trainer exercises later.