I currently fantasize about two dream home components; more storage space, and a dedicated room for a home gym. I literally dream about finding extra rooms in my apartment that I didn’t know existed…
I live in a single level 3rd floor walkup in Chicago with an open concept kitchen and “second bedroom” that when the pullout couch is pulled out, you can’t walk around it. Needless to say, we don’t have a lot of extra space.
But that hasn’t stopped me from getting a gym worthy workout at home. With a few key pieces I am able to get the workout I want without cluttering my small space.With a few key pieces I am able to get the workout I want without cluttering my small space. Click To Tweet
Here are the products I couldn’t live without (click photos for links)!
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells
I asked for these for Christmas the year I lived with my parents between college and moving to Chicago and Santa delivered! After a decade of consistent use they’ve never given me problems and take up about 2 square feet of space (which I put under a side table).
What I love most is that they have the in between weight options up through 25 pounds meaning when 10 pounds is too easy but 15 is too hard, you can select 12.5 pounds and work your way up slowly.
The other aspect aside from the small amount of space they take up, is that they are insanely easy to switch weight selections. I often do timed circuits where my interval timer gives me 15 seconds of rest between exercises and I have no problem switching weight selections with time to spare.
There is variety now in the body suspension training world, but TRX was the breakout star and I hopped on board as a new personal trainer. I got the TRX Pro which comes with an extension you can take outdoors to anchor it to a tree or fence, but the home version will get you where you need to go.
This suspension trainer hooks into your door frame (with the door closed and omg lock it or at least tell anyone else who is home not to open the door! It comes with a tag saying workout in progress because you can never be too careful.)
I love the variety of exercises you can do on the TRX, you can totally get a full body workout in just using this one piece and you’ll adjust the resistance by your standing position.
It comes in a small mesh bag making it easy to stow or travel with.
There are a ton of mats to choose from and some people just use their yoga mat if they have that, however I wanted more cushion for my strength training mat and didn’t need it to be as “sticky” as my yoga mat. Plus, I sweat more during strength training than yoga and didn’t want to clean my yoga mat more often than necessary.
This Valeo mat is the mat I have and have been happy with for over 5 years.
For space and cost and versatility, these resistance bands win all three. If you only buy one of these items, start here. I always recommend them to clients, mainly because they are pretty cheap and you can travel with them. They weigh nothing and take up such a tiny amount of space in your suitcase or backpack. You can take them to a nearby park or on a work trip ensuring you don’t miss a strength training session just because you aren’t home and don’t have a gym.
Much like the TRX, you adjust the resistance with your grip positioning (although they come in different resistance strengths depending on how thick the band is).
Man, you can spend a TON on a yoga mat! I admit, when I first started practicing enough to warrant my purchase of a mat, I got an $8 one at Target and it worked…for a while. After a few months I noticed small specks of pink on my clothes or skin after a session and realized the mat was coming apart and sticking to me.
I didn’t want to splurge on my next mat, but wanted one a little thicker and a little stickier. I found this one for $30 and it’s going strong years later.
Full disclosure my friend gave me an extra block of hers but I love it and a set of blocks is completely worth buying. They don’t take up much space, I have a large basket that houses all of these items sans weights, and they really are necessary if you practice at home at least once a week.
That’s all, folks! If I had space like a small room or basement, I’d love to add a treadmill to get walks in when it’s frigid, and possibly a stability ball but these things take up a lot of space and the former is an investment. You don’t need all of these things at once, so start with what you feel you’ll use the most and build from there.