Not to brag or anything, but I'm pretty darn good at making the most of small living spaces. After seven years living in apartments in New York City and New Jersey, my husband and I spent a year living in a 24-foot camper. We're talking 200 square feet of living space — including the bathroom, bed, kitchen appliances, sofa and gym.
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Needless to say, I only had space for compact exercise equipment that could easily be stashed away in a cabinet or the small nooks and crannies we used as storage spots.
Now, I live in a small house. Sure, it's much bigger than the camper, but I don't have a dedicated gym space or extra room to keep my fitness equipment out and ready-to-go at all times. My space-saving approach to equipment is still very much necessary — albeit, I'm more in line with the NYC apartment days than the camper ones, thankfully.
For me, the best at-home workout equipment is and has always been equipment that's small, compact and takes up as little space as possible. Of course, it has to be effective, too.
If you're in the market for exercise equipment for small spaces, I've got you. Below are 11 pieces of equipment that will help you reach your fitness goals without taking up a ton of precious space.
1. Best Mini Bands: Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands
- Measurements: 12” length x 2” width
- Features: pack comes with five bands of varying resistance levels from X-light to X-heavy
Mini looped resistance bands are the ultimate in space-saving exercise equipment. They take up virtually no space and weigh next to nothing, yet make for a really effective workout.
Resistance bands can be used for activating small muscles, warming up before a workout, adding an extra challenge to certain exercises (think: hip thrusts and squats) and even building strength if you're new to resistance training. Even if you have all the space in the world, you should keep a set of these small-but-mighty bands on hand.
This set comes with five different bands of varying resistances, so you can pick the best one for each exercise.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $13
2. Best Cordless Jump Rope: APLUGTEK Jump Rope
- Measurements: 6” handles, 0.5-lb weight on each
- Features: foam handles, stainless steel bearings for smooth rotation, adjustable rope length
A jump rope is an excellent option when it comes to space-saving exercise equipment — and will give you an awesome cardio workout. The problem is not all small spaces have enough room for the rope to freely swing.
Whether your ceiling is too low or you just don't have enough space in the front and back for the rope to clear without hitting something, a cordless rope is a great alternative. The weights on the end of the handles are half a pound each, which helps mimic the feel and flow of turning an actual rope.
3. Best Adjustable Dumbbells: Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Weights
- Measurements: 15.75” width x 8” depth x 9” height; 52.5 lbs each
- Features: 15 weight settings, easy adjustment, small dock for each weight
No weight rack, no problem. One set of these adjustable dumbbells takes the place of 15 different sets of weights. They start at 5 pounds and go up to 52.5 pounds each. All you have to do is turn the dial to seamlessly change the weight. When you're done, place the weights back in their docks and tuck them away.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $399
4. Best Folding Treadmill: Echelon Stride Auto-Fold Connected Treadmill
- Measurements: 69” length x 31” width X 49” height, 4.5’ running deck, 10” tall when folded
- Features: auto-fold feature, handlebar heart rate sensors, console screen, eight pre-programmed workout options, cupholder, tablet or phone holder, maximum speed 12 MPH, maximum incline level 12
Some of the best workout equipment for small spaces is equipment that folds. It's not easy to find a folding treadmill that lets you increase the speed and incline to that of your average in-gym treadmill, which is why this model from Echelon is so impressive.
Not only does it go up to 12 MPH and incline level 12, it also folds up automatically with the press of a button. Built-in wheels make it easy to lift and roll it back and forth from its storage spot to wherever you want to use it.
Buy it: EchelonFit.com; Price: from $1,339
5. Best "Interior Design" Weight: Bala Power Ring
- Measurements: 12" diameter
- Features: recycled stainless steel ring, silicone casing
When it comes to choosing exercise equipment for small spaces, you might want to consider aesthetics. Bala fitness equipment is design-forward and meant to be on display.
This 10-pound ring can be used for lots of different exercises, and it actually looks cool propped up against your sofa or even hanging on your wall. We're not going to go so far as to say it doubles as home decór, but it's certainly not an eyesore. There's also a set that comes with a 10-pound, 8-pound, and 5-pound weight.
Buy it: Shopbala.com; Price: $85
6. Best Compact Weight Storage: Marcy Compact Dumbbell Rack Free Weight Stand
- Measurements: 27” width x 9” depth x 21” height
- Features: made with commercial-grade steel, scratch-resistant powder coating finish, accommodates different sizes of dumbbells, holds up to 400 pounds
If you're not into the whole adjustable dumbbell thing, a compact weight stand can help you store your free weights without taking up a lot of floor space.
This one is slim and has a lot of space to line up your weights, and most styles of dumbbells (neoprene, metal, hex) fit on it. Steel construction makes it durable, so you don't have to worry about your weights banging it up and damaging it.
7. Best Resistance-Band System: BodyBoss 2.0
- Measurements: 20” width x 16” depth x 3” height; 16.42 lbs
- Features: foldable base with anchors, collapsible workout bar, two resistance bands, two handles, two wrist/ankle straps, door anchor
A handy floor pad with built-in anchors makes it easy to use this little kit for any resistance band exercises you can think of. The set also comes with a door anchor for moves like lat pulldowns and chest flys, and a bar for squats.
When you're done, fold and pack it all back up into its compact carrying case.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $120
8. Best Punching Bag: Quiet Punch Smart Punching Bag
- Measurements: 12" width x 12" height; 4 lbs
- Features: tension rods for easy install, fits in standard door frames, made of durable and soft foam
Hanging a full-on boxing bag is a true space commitment. If you can't swing it, this easy-to-install (and take back down) punching bag is a great alternative.
All you need is a door. The bag mounts inside the door frame using tension rods — no drilling required — and is engineered to be extra quiet.
It also comes with a sensor and syncs to an app, where you can take a mix of on-demand and live boxing workouts and track your punches.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $300
9. Best Smart Gym System: Tonal
- Measurements: 21.50″ width x 5.25” depth x 50.9″ height
- Features: 200 pounds of digital resistance, access to hundreds of on-demand workouts, real-time form feedback, adjustable arms to switch between upper- and lower-body workouts, 24” touchscreen display, smart accessories available for additional cost
Tonal packs an entire gym-worth of equipment into one unit that mounts right onto your wall. The digital weight system allows you to lift up to 200 pounds with its smart cable system — no need to actually store 200 pounds of free weights in your small space.
The device features a huge touchscreen display, tracks your workouts in real time and uses motion sensors to analyze and correct your form.
Buy it: Tonal.com; Price: $2,995 + $495 for smart accessories
10. Best Adjustable Kettlebell: Rocketlok Adjustable Kettlebell
- Measurements: about 7" width x 6" depth x 10" height; 36 lbs
- Features: solid steel construction, no tools required
Kettlebells are a type of small exercise equipment that really packs a punch.
Trainers often don't recommend adjustable kettlebells because many of the options out there aren't shaped like actual kettlebells. The adjustable ones end up feeling wonky and hard to swing like you would a normal kettlebell.
The beauty of this one is that it is made of solid steel and shaped like a normal kettlebell, so you won't have to do anything weird with your form to compensate for the different shape.
To change the weight simply open up the back of the bell and slide one of the weighted cylinders in or out. Choose from 24, 28, 32 or 36 pounds. Because the weight goes right in the middle, the weight distribution stays properly balanced.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $135
11. Best Folding Bike: Leike Fitness Ultra-Quiet Folding Exercise Bike
- Measurements: 26” length x 16” width x 47” height; 38.5 Pounds
- Features: upright and recumbent options, 10 levels of magnetic resistance, wide seat and foldable backrest, adjustable seat height
Sometimes you just want to sit on a bike and get some cardio in without having to leave the house. While a full-size at-home stationary bike would be awesome, people with small spaces know that it's unrealistic to dedicate that room to a bike full-time.
This bike folds up easily so you can store it vertically. It's relatively lightweight, at just about 40 pounds, and has wheels so that you can easily tip it over and roll it. The frame can be adjusted to either be an upright bike or a recumbent bike, depending on what you prefer, and the magnetic resistance has 10 different levels to choose from to customize your indoor bike workout.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $160