I live in an apartment and don't have a big garage gym. Maybe one day! But until then, I am really happy with my mini gym that consists of about ten pieces of workout equipment.
I have all I need to keep my own, and my clients' workouts versatile and challenging. You don't need too much to do it. Some simple things go far, if you know how to make the most of them.
One of the best things about not having too much room is that you cannot collect too many things. I keep my workouts and my workout equipment pretty minimalistic.
That said, here is a sneak peek into my home mini gym.
Kettlebells are probably the best piece of equipment of all time. I just love what you can do with them.
There were times when my workout equipment consisted of just one kettlebell. True story, but combining various kettlebell exercises with bodyweight exercises and running was totally enough to stay in shape.
Kettlebells are strong and durable and will probably last forever. A piece of iron won't break that easily, right! As you keep practicing and get stronger, you may want to get heavier ones. But you can still use the lighter ones for one arm exercises.
The exercise variations are endless. I did this 4 Moves Full Body Workout just couple of days ago and I swear, my butt is still sore.
For more kettlebell workout ideas, look here.
2. Medicine Balls
We used to use medicine balls a lot in our track and field practice. We did various power exercises like tosses and throws, but also core strength work like Weighted Crunches and Russian Twists.
I was re-introduced with medicine balls again when I started doing CrossFit. Now I use them in my workouts couple of days a week.
My favorite exercise? Med Ball Wall Ball Shots for sure. Strength, power and cardio all together – it doesn't get much more efficient than that. Check out this High Intensity Bed Ball Workout for more ideas.
3. Pull Up Bar
A Pull Up Bar is the latest addition to my mini gym, and I'm using it almost daily. It's in such a visible place, right in the doorway, so I naturally use it often.
I am really into strengthening my upper body right now. One of the best indicators of upper body strength is how well you can do Pull Ups, and that's what I've been working on lately. The one and only way of getting better at Pull Ups is … to do more Pull Ups.
We ordered this Pull Up Bar from Amazon. I was surprised how easy it was to assemble – no drilling, no holes, nothing. You just hang it to your doorway and it's good to go.
4. Resistance Bands
Resistance Bands are great for learning Pull Ups, because you can start out with your arms fully extended. When you start from a higher surface, hands bent, you miss the crucial starting part.
For assisted Pull Ups, simply put your knee or foot in the band. Extend your arms fully and pull yourself up.
You can also use the Resistance Bands for making your compound bodyweight exercises as Push Ups or Squats harder. They are also great if you want to do some muscle isolation work.
Different colors of resistance bands mean different resistance, so make sure you order the right one.
5. Jump Rope
My jump rope has traveled with me to so many places. This and a pair of running shoes are all you need for a short vacation. Bonus points if you work out at the beach in the sand, because that fatigues your legs in a whole different way than jumping on the floor or pavement.
There are many ways to use a jump rope: You can do High Knees, Single Unders, Double Unders or even Triple Unders. It took quite a bit of patience to learn Double Unders, but it was worth it since they are about three times as effective as Single Unders.
My jump rope lived a long life but broke just a while ago, so I got a new one. So far I have been happy with it – it's thin and moves fast, which are the two most important things for Double Unders.
6. Foam Roll
A Foam Roll is a great thing for myofascial release, muscle relaxation, massage and even warm up. I try to remember to foam roll my calves every time the next day after my long run. But you can easily use it for relaxing and massaging your upper and lower legs, back and neck.
You can easily adjust the force that you are putting on the area you are working on, just play around with it. For example, when I feel that my calves could use a little more pressure, I cross my other foot on top of the one that I'm massaging.
7. Exercise Mat
I don't use exercise mat for bupees or other bodyweight exercises that I'm doing outside and that can make me dirty. Getting dirty is part of the fun.
But I do need one for yoga and couple of other exercises. For example, lately I've became a big fan of Kneeling to Standing exercise where I could use some support under my knees.
It's also good to roll something under your lower back when doing Butterfly Sit Ups to support the lower back.
If you are like me and love colors, here are some great looking exercise mats.
That's everything in my gym! I'm always on the lookout for new equipment, but like I said before, I don't want to accumulate too much stuff. So it has to be good!
Your turn: Do you have a “mini gym”? What do you have there?
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links, but they are for products that I totally recommend.
Nice! I need to get a few of these things. I don’t know why I got this idea that I can’t work out unless i have a gym membership. Thanks for this!
Oh you really don’t! You can get some amazing results at home as well!
My gym membership is up at the end of this month. I’m seriously considering not renewing it. The gym stresses me out. I have a room in my condo that I turned into a mini home gym. Jump rope, exercise ball, Kettlebells, some dumbbells, a pull up bar. I also bought the TRX but I haven’t set it up yet. The year before last I didn’t have a gym membership and I feel like I was in better shape then as opposed to this year when I actually purchased the membership.
Kersten Kimura says
That’s so awesome Kimberly! Getting your own equipment is totally worth it, and you can always start piece by piece. For a long time, all I had was one single kettlebell, and it worked. I’m so glad that you’ve found what works best for you. I think “not having access to gym” is an excuse that so many people use, but that’s exactly what it is – an excuse! Thanks for being such a great example and showing that it’s possible to get in a great shape without it! 🙂