These days, we all know how important it is to get your heart rate up as often as possible. Aside from making you look and feel your best, we now know (thanks to science) that exercise actually slows the aging process. The only problem is managing to finding the time to head to the gym or studio when you’ve got a million other things going on. The good news? There’s plenty of smart, stashable fitness equipment out there, which means you don’t always need to take time out of your busy schedule to venture out to the gym or studio to get a quality workout.
In fact, you don’t even need a ton of space to get a seriously great sweat session. Your studio apartment, garage, or any little unoccupied nook can be home to highly effective workouts if you have the right gear.
Here’s everything you need to get an amazing workout in the comfort of your own home, no matter how small your space is.
These handy little circular bands are way tougher than they look. Whether you put them around your ankles for side-steps or around your knees for some added resistance on your squats, these automatically up the intensity of your workout. They can also be used for a quick warmup to activate your glutes pre-workout for those who are focusing on building a booty.
Ashley Wilking, trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp, suggests hip bridges to get you started with these. To do them with great form, lie on your back with the the booty band one to two inches above your knees. Put your heels under your knees so you can touch them with your fingertips, and then drive through your heels to squeeze your glutes at the top. Then lower your hips to the floor. “Add pulses, a static hold, or quicker pace for variations!” she says.
The options are pretty much endless when it comes to dumbbell exercises, and according to Alonzo Wilson, founder of Tone House, they’re a must-have. From triceps kickbacks to weighted chest-to-deck squat thrusts, these will be your go-to for at-home weight workouts. Ideally, grab a lighter set and a heavier set so you can switch it up based on the muscle groups you’re working.
To amp up your core exercises, gliders are an amazing addition to your small space gym arsenal. Wilson recommends using them for mountain climbers. Do three sets for 30 seconds each to feel the burn. And in a pinch, paper plates can sub in for the real thing.
TRX Suspension Trainer
One great thing about the TRX system is that it comes with a ton of workout-move suggestions. Wilson’s favorite is the lateral squat jump, where you hold onto the suspension handles for stability and support and perform squat jumps while jumping from side to side. Not only does this work your balance and agility, but it also provides a burst of high-intensity cardio.
Sure, it’s nice to have one of these on hand to mop up sweat, but it can also be used to intensify your workout if you know how. “Hold your towel at each end, with your hands shoulder-width apart. Make sure you're pulling shoulder blades together,” instructs Wilking. “Add this to your squat with a reach overhead, or add a side-to-side rotation to your favorite lunge (forward, reverse or side!),” she suggests.
Another crafty way to use a towel is as added tension for ab exercises. “With the towel comfortably behind your head, elbows wide, and hands holding the towel at ends its ends, rotate opposite elbow to opposite knee to do bicycles. The towel helps you rotate your shoulders up and off the floor,” Wilking explains. You can also sub in a towel for gliders when doing plank exercises or lunges if you don’t have them.
Need a fast and easy way to get in your cardio? Instead of having to invest money and space into a bulky machine, a jump rope is a super efficient way to get your heart pumping. Plus, like much of the equipment on this list, it’s suitcase-friendly and ideal for travel workouts when you’re on the go.
Resistance Bands With Handles
Unlike the booty band, these resistance bands are specifically meant for working your upper body. For a challenge, try Wilson’s go-to exercise with these: biceps curls. Stand with your feet in the middle of the band at hip-width distance and perform three sets of 20.
Useful for total-body moves and core exercises alike, a medicine ball is an awesome way to incorporate strength training into your solo workouts. Whether it’s Russian twists, wall balls, floor slams, or weighted squats, this piece of equipment is sure to add a new element to your sweat sessions.
What’s your must-have small space gym equipment? How do you use it?