Public gyms are undoubtedly big in terms of space. The open space and multiple customers are enough reasons for them to occupy their space with large and expensive pieces of machinery. But what happens when your only option is to work out at your place, say for example an apartment where the space is limited.
The setup of an Apartment gym is common nowadays given that most people prefer to workout at their home or apartment. Apartments usually lack a lot of space. This is what separates an individual home/garage gym from an apartment gym. Even if an apartment has adequate space to move around and exercise using various equipment, if you are a temporary resident, it will be hard to move out with the heavy machinery. Machines like squat rack and power rack serve their purpose well in public gyms but in apartment gyms, they are just pointless. It’s because there is a more effective substitute for that. An effective workout includes resistance training and weights. Resistance and weights don't necessarily have to be from huge machines. Easily huge machines like those can be substituted with more compact and portable equipment that provides the same result.
The main factors that have to be kept in the mind while setting up an apartment gym are:
1. Only buy equipment to fit the available space
2. The equipment has to be portable yet effective.
Whenever the question arises to set up an effective home gym (here, an apartment gym), people seem to be skeptical regarding the efficiency of the workout. A natural doubt crosses the mind that an independent gym won't be as effective as premium public gyms. This is not the case. Setting up an apartment gym is all about understanding the space your apartment has and your health goals. Keeping the space and goals in your mind, you can set up a very efficient apartment gym.
Huge machines in public gyms cost a lot and it is only rational for them to use such machines in places like that. Before being underwhelmed by the idea of an apartment gym, it has to be understood that those huge machines are the derivative of basic equipment like dumbbells, barbells, bench, bands, etc. So to set up a small apartment gym that doesn’t take much space, it is best to stick to the basic and best equipment that takes up less to no space and still benefits your whole body.
The Apartment Gym Essentials
We list out how you can set up your apartment gym without spending a lot of money. These pieces of equipment are multipurpose gears and can be easily bought online or in a fitness store. They require minimum installation and take up little space. Moreover, they provide you with good results. Here is some basic workout equipment you can use to set up your private gym (garage or apartment). Along with the list, we have also mentioned some workouts you can do with the listed equipment to get you started.
1. Weight Bench
If you are to set up a small gym right in your apartment, a multifunctional bench is a great start. It is very supportive and helps to keep your posture intact during the home workout. Weight Benches are very compact and allow you to perform a lot of exercises in places with less space. There are typically two types of benches available.
1. Flat Benches
2. FID Benches (Flat, Incline, Decline Benches)
The only difference between the two is the latter allows you to adjust the back support of the bench to shift to either an inclined, declined, or flat position.
A bench doesn't take much space and nowadays foldable benches are also available. That means once you are done using it for the day, you can easily fold it and store it somewhere that doesn't disturb your space. It is portable and a fine compact gear for the apartment gym.
Some of the best exercises for your apartment gym that you can do using a compact weight bench are:
1. Incline/Decline/Flat bench presses - Chest
2. Overhead presses - Shoulders
3. Lying Triceps Extension – Triceps
4. Triceps Dips - Triceps
5. Back Rows – Upper Back
6. Lunges – Legs and Glutes
2. Dumbbells (Barbells or Kettlebells):
Dumbbells are one of the most popular workout equipment. They are small, portable, and come in different weights to match your strength and goal. They take a few inches of space and can be carried around easily.
It is possible to train the whole body with a single pair of dumbbells with proper exercises. Dumbbells single-handedly take care of most of the huge machines like squat racks and cable machines. Squat racks in apartments are ideally not recommended. Of course, in other cases, if the apartment has enough space and you are a permanent resident, you are free to purchase a squat rack. But if that's not the case, then squat racks are a poor investment. You can still perform perfect squats using dumbbells without losing the result.
Some of the best exercises for your apartment gym using a pair of dumbbells are:
1. Bicep Curls - Biceps
2. Forearm Twists - Forearms
3. Shoulder Presses - Shoulders
4. Triceps Extension - Triceps
5. Squats – Legs and Glutes
Dumbbells can also be substituted with barbells or kettlebells. It depends on the amount of space available and the budget. If your apartment has a little more space to accommodate a large barbell, you can go for it. Kettlebells are as small and compact as dumbbells but they cost a bit more. If your budget allows it, a kettlebell can be used too.
There is a special type of dumbbells available known as Adjustable Dumbbells. These dumbbells are a very good one-time investment. Unlike traditional static weight dumbbells, as the name suggests, these dumbbells are engineered to change its weight depending on the goals and strength. They cost a bit more than regular dumbbells but are very efficient and durable.
3. Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are the simplest gear that you can add to your apartment gym setup. You can practically use this band anywhere and attach it to anything. They provide enough resistance to build toned and enduring muscles. You can support these bands with your legs or tie it to the rail of a window or stairs, or even the weight bench. These bands can help you build a perfect body and can increase your flexibility. Resistance bands can be a perfect addition to your home/apartment gym as it doesn’t take any space at all and can be tied and kept anywhere.
Some of the best exercises for your apartment gym using resistance bands are:
1. Bicep Curls - Biceps
2. Face Pulls – Back and Shoulders
3. Pull-ups – Back and Arm
4. Forward Presses – Chest and Arm
5. Overhead Presses - Shoulders
These bands are durable and available in a variety of colors. The colors do please your eyes, but it also indicates the weight of some brands. So read about them and add them to your apartment gym.
Pull-up bars are very common among apartment gyms. Pull-up bars can be easily attached to doors and that's all the setup you need to do. Once installed, you can perform various upper body exercises on it. Pull-up bars take up only the space between the doors, thus providing you with the comfort of compactness.
Pull-up bars can be used to do more exercises than traditional pull-ups. You can also do the following exercises:
1. Pull-ups – Back and Arms
2. Chin-ups - Biceps
3. Pull-up bar hang - Forearms
4. Power Racks
The above list was mentioned keeping in mind a small space for your apartment. If you live in a more spacious apartment, you can add a couple more things to your apartment gym. For example, a power rack is a powerful piece of equipment. Even though they are huge in sizes, the primary advantage of a power rack is that all your equipment stays near to each other. This would mean, the total space that your gym will take will just be the size of the power rack. You can easily lay barbells on it and keep a weight bench below. Other mentioned equipment can easily be set up around this rack. Again, these are huge and costly so only go for it if you have enough budget and space in your apartment.
For those who prefer cardio over heavy weights, they can gain from self-made apartment gyms too. You can rely on weights itself for your cardiovascular exercises. But if you prefer traditional cardio methods, bodyweight exercises like jumping jacks are very effective. The best and cheapest cardio equipment is a Jump rope.
Jump Ropes are perhaps one of the most popular types of equipment that is found in most home gyms. Study shows that a good 20-minute jump rope session every day can improve your heart and overall health. It burns a lot of calories in a short time. Jump Ropes are cheap and are readily available. It can provide you with efficient cardio.
These are the most basic and the best exercise equipment you will need to set up your apartment gym. They take as much less space as possible and are portable. They can easily be installed and used without much assistance. They are very portable so moving around is not an issue with such apartment gyms. These machines and equipment are always with you and you can workout whenever you can. This eliminates any excuses and keeps you motivated. They help build durable muscles and give just as effective results as public gyms.
Here are some key points on setting up an ideal gym in your apartment
An effective gym can be set-up in small spaces in low budget. Apartment gyms can be as much effective as premium public gyms. Stick to the basic gears and not large machines. An apartment gym must consume less space and must be portable
Basic workout gears include:
Dumbbells (Barbell or Kettlebells too)
More equipment can be included if there is more space and budget.