5 Tips for Working Out in a Small Space

Whether you live in a super small apartment or you’re a student living the dorm life or you’re on the road while staying in a hotel room, getting in shape can seem discouraging when you’ve got such a small space to work with—especially if you have a strong preference for working out in solitude.

Personally, I don’t like public gyms at all and have enjoyed working out alone at home for years with DVD programs or just some music. Back when I was in university, I kept up a good habit of working out in my dorm room almost every day.

The trick is finding the right exercises that don’t require a lot of jumping or sliding to cover a lot of ground. And because you don’t have all the amenities of a public gym when you choose to workout at home/in your dorm/in your hotel room, you also need to look for exercises that don’t use a lot of equipment.

Here are some practical tips to consider for working out in a room with limited space.

1. Choose exercises that use your own body weight.

You don’t need heavy machinery or weights when you know how to use gravity to your advantage. A couple of examples of classic moves you can do includes squats or lunges for your lower body and push-ups or planks for your upper body.

If you maintain proper form and do as many as you can until you can do no more, you’ll certainly be feeling it. And for each of these moves, there’s not much back and forth or side to side movement, so it can be done even in the smallest of spaces. Check out these great body weight moves you can do anywhere for more ideas.

2. Go for low impact.

If you’re staying in an apartment, dorm, or hotel room, then chances are the people who’re staying on the floor below you won’t appreciate you jumping and running around. Lucky for you, most exercises that use your own body weight can be modified to be as easy on the joints as you need them to be.

Pilates and yoga are just two other popular forms of exercise that are quite low impact. You may need to move some furniture around just so you can stretch out your limbs for some of the moves, but other than that, there’s no crazy jumping, running or moving around at a super fast pace.

3. Invest in a kettlebell or a resistance band.

Once you’ve mastered some of the bodyweight exercises and feel you could use a bit more weight to improve your strength, you could consider getting a kettlebell or a resistance band. Not only are they both easy to store in small spaces, but they can also be used alongside some of your favorite moves with some modifications.

Take a look at this 20-minute kettlebell routine for a quick and effective workout in your small space.

4. Make use of furniture, walls and even household objects to supercharge your moves.

Got a chair handy? Great! You can use it to do some chair dips. Or if you can find a bare section along a wall (or even a door), you could do wall squats to really strengthen your quads. Your bed can even be used for ab exercises if you don’t have a mat or much floor space to work with.

And if a kettlebell or some resistance bands aren’t in the budget right now, you can substitute common household items for weights. Use two soup cans to do some bicep curls, or try doing some lunges while holding two sacks of potatoes by your sides. You could even fill a gym bag with some stuff to use for tricep extensions.

5. Consider exercises like punches and kicks to get some cardio in.

If jumping rope or running on the spot is out of the question, you might want to consider incorporating some kickboxing moves into your routine for a slightly quieter way to get your heart rate up. Just make sure you have enough space to extend your arms and legs out without hitting anything!

Sidekicks, roundhouses, back kicks and front kicks are relatively easy to do without stomping on the floor too much. And upper body punching moves like jabs, crosses, hooks and uppercuts will get you sweating in no time!

As a final note, just remember to be careful when considering any of these tips. Working out in a small space can still be quite a challenge even when you do work to try and modify it.

Other than that, start off slow and do what works best for you!

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Sonia M

Thanks for sharing

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen2 years ago

Thank you

Diane Wayne
Diane Wayne2 years ago

thank you.

Carole R.
Carole R2 years ago

Thanks for the ideas.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen2 years ago

Thank you

Julia Cabrera-Woscek

I love this tips. Thank you.

Kathy K.
Kathy K2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.