Are you trying to work out in a small space, like a condo and apartment, or even a basement?
I’m going to show you some simple and effective small home gym set up ideas.
Hi, it’s Ivana.
I’ve been a fitness coach for over 20 years and I’ve been working out almost exclusively in my small condo gym for about a year now.
So I’ve watched a few videos of other people’s home gyms, and I’m a bit jealous, really, because they seem to have a lot of space.
They have higher ceilings. Here we’ve got quite low ceilings. We don’t have a squat rack. We don’t have space to put anything like that in here.
So if you’ve got a really small space, I think this is going to make more sense for you. We don’t really even have a dedicated space. We have to move the furniture around. We’ll move the coffee table out of the way to have a little bit of space, but then we put everything back. Cause we’re a family of three and we want to have our space for other things as well.
My Home Gym Setup
I’m going to explain my home gym set up in a condo and I’m going to let you know what order of priority. I think you should acquire these things cause you don’t necessarily want to go out and try to get all the equipment. So we’ve kind of got everything pushed into the corner over here and we just pull it out whenever we need it. Yeah. So this is going to be for myself, for my husband who was a 230 pound former rugby player, who’s very strong. And for our six-year-old son, so he can also be active at home.
And at the end, I’m going to mention two things that would come in really handy that I would love to have. But unfortunately I don’t right now for me.
The first priority is having a decent workout mat. I’ve got one over here and then I just pull that out when I need it.
We’ve also got another one so that if we’re working out at the same time, my husband and I can each have our own mat. Now mats are really great for doing body weight exercises for doing abs or any kind of core work. You can also use them for mobility exercises as well as for stretching.
So for me, having a decent workout mat is a pretty big priority.
Dumbbells For Home Gym
Now the next thing is dumbbells and you don’t really need a lot. You don’t need the whole full rack unless you’ve got space for it. Two or three sets of dumbbells per person are enough. So I use the lighter weights for upper body exercises and the heavier weights for leg exercises. If you’re just starting out a set of fives, tens and fifteens is probably going to be plenty. It depends how big you are and how strong of course, but you can get a lot out of just those simple weights for certain exercises.
You can also double up the weights.
My Home Gym Setup
So I’m going to show you what we’ve got over here.
In the back, we’ve got a couple of those gray metal ones got a couple of fives there.
Those are more for warmups for shoulders. And then we’ve got a set of twenties and a set of 20 fives. These adjustable ones right here, they’re about 15 pounds. So that sort of fills in the gap.
Adjustable Dumbbells For A Small Home Gym
Now they do have much more modern, adjustable weights than the ones that I just showed you there. So if you’re able to get those, those can be useful, especially if you’re a bit on the stronger side and you really want a lot of variety.
It does take a little bit of time to change those weights.
The next thing that I like to have is a foam roller. I love these for the back, so you can just kind of roll out, but I also like to roll out if your it band gets sore, then you can use that to roll out that area. Yeah. Now you can see the foam rollers here. I’ve got one long one and then a smaller one, a bumpy one. I sometimes roll out the tight areas before I’m working out and at the end, anytime I just want to get loose.
Step Or Riser
The next thing that I think is really handy is a step or some kind of riser. The ones that you might see at the gym that they used to use for step aerobics, years and years ago, those are really, really handy. We decided not to have ours here because it was just going to take up more space.
Instead, we have this little step here.
So it’s actually what we use when our son was a toddler. It’s just a little riser, so he could get to the bathroom and wash his hands. So use what you can. People it’s really important just going to show you what it looks like close up. It’s got a couple of different levels. So which is kind of handy. Sometimes we’ll do step ups or step downs. Now my son’s a little taller. We don’t really need it as much and we can use it for exercise.
Bands can be used for full body workouts. I haven’t created a video about that yet, but if you’re interested, please leave a comment. This one, I just used to wrap around over top of my knees when I’m doing a squat or something like that, or just to help activate the glutes.
The longer bands, I often use those for abs exercises. You can do some upper body work with them as well or some lower body work.
Here’s a really great piece of equipment, an adjustable bench. Now this is one of these long-term purchases up until recently, I was using the bench that belongs to my dining room table. And that was fine for me, but my husband who’s heavier and lifts heavier weights that wasn’t going to support him for that. So he really wanted to have an adjustable bench so that he can be lifting heavier dumbbells and it can support his weight.
Do keep your weight in mind. If you buy one of those flimsy little ones. That might be fine if you’re 120 pound woman, but if you’re a large male, they might not support you. And they might not be great for certain exercises.
They are a bit of an investment, but they will pretty much last forever. And having an adjustable bench, as opposed to just a flat bench means that you can do things at different angles. Things like reverse flies and different shoulder exercises.
So this is the bench we’ve got. We just leave it in the hallway and then we just pull it in whenever we need to use it for workouts.
The next thing that I think is really handy is a suspension trainer. When I started using this last year, I actually did a video for the suspension trainer. I created a full body workout with this thing and it is very useful. Although I wouldn’t necessarily do all my workouts on (some people like that), but once or twice a week, it can be a fun way to mix up your workouts.
We hook it up there and we just put it away when we’re not using it.
My husband likes it as well. And even our son’s kind of gotten into the action. Sometimes he sees us using it and it’s fun for him as well.
Kettlebells can be a lot of fun. I just managed to acquire one kettlebell and I thought that was good for kettlebell swings and some deadlifts. And my husband actually uses it overhead for some presses as well. So it’s quite versatile.
The one I have here is 35 pounds. If you’re a bit stronger than I am, then you could probably use the 45 or a 55. They also have lighter ones as well. So if you’re doing it for kettlebell swings, you might want lighter than that. If you’re a smaller person who doesn’t have as much experience.
Chin Up/Pull Up Bar
And now we kind of get to the bonus section of things you don’t really need, but they’re kind of fun to have.
We’ve also got a chin up bar. So that’s great for any kind of pull up that we want to do. So this is the chin-up bar that we use. You can see it just hooks up behind the door. We don’t do it that often, but it’s handy to have there once in a while.
And it really does work in a small apartment. Even with the low ceiling.
My husband also bought a sandbag so that he can do some heavier squats. I think it’s about 150 pounds that you can put into it. So it’s really useful for him. If he wants to do some squats with repetitions, with a heavier weight.
The one thing that we have that we bought for our son, but we found it really handy is this tumbling mat over here. So I’m just going to show you what it looks like a little bit closer and we pull it completely out and then we can play on it.
So we have to clear off the space and then we can bring it out and we do family workout. We’ll just do different exercises. My son can do somersaults. Sometimes we do shoulder rolls and it’s just good to do exercise on in general. If you’re in bare feet, it’s a lot of fun.
Building Your Home Gym Gradually
Now, remember that you don’t need all of these things.
If you’re just starting out with your home gym set up, hopefully you’ll have an idea of what would be a priority for you. Keep in mind that a lot of this stuff has also been accumulated over the years. We didn’t just go out and buy everything at once.
Two Things That Are Helpful For A Home Gym
And now the two things that I wouldn’t mind having.
number one is a mirror. So that’s something I’m used to having at the gym. You can check your technique when you’re doing weightlifting and even body weight exercises.
I often do martial arts on my own. So I like to see my position where I’m kicking. I actually sometimes open up the door over there and I can see the bathroom mirror a little bit so I can at least check my angles, but it’s really handy. If you’ve got space for a mirror to have something that’s at least body length that you can see yourself in. We don’t really have any walls where we can put a mirror and we don’t really feel like having a freestanding one here either.
The other thing that would be really nice to have would be an Olympic bar. When I’m in the gym, I like using a bar for a military press or for squat and deadlift. But it would be a bit tricky to set it up here at home. And it is a condo. So people are below and it would be a little bit challenging.
Please hit the light button. If this video was useful for you.
Need Help With Your Home Gym?
And if you have any questions about setting priorities, what you might need for your own home gym, please leave a comment and I’ll reply.
I’ve also got some workouts that you can do at home and I’ve linked them up here.