Making an Apartment Gym

Use your furniture to help you exercise.

Use your furniture to help you exercise.

Don’t feel like leaving your cozy apartment and trudging to the health club? That’s no problem if you set up a home gym. Even if your equipment isn’t fancy, you can still do cardio work on a large treadmill or a small rebounder, depending on your apartment’s size. With a multipurpose exercise machine -- or free weights and a bench -- you can strengthen your muscles practically from head to toe. If you use your space creatively, you can stay fit and trim at home, no matter what type of apartment you have.

Examine your available space and plan your apartment gym accordingly. For example, if you have an empty room, you can purchase a treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike for your cardio needs and a multipurpose weight machine for strength training. If your space is limited, you can bring in a small rebounder to jog or do hops on for your cardio. For strength training in a smaller apartment, use a resistance band -- which can be stashed in a drawer -- plus free weights that fit in a closet or storage area.

Perform body-weight activities such as pushups, crunches, toe touches and jumping jacks on an exercise mat. You can also do a variety of stretches and yoga postures on the mat.

Learn to do resistance band exercises. Pushing against the band’s resistance can tone your muscles, just as weights do, without taking up the space of a machine.

Use pieces of furniture as exercise tools. For example, you can perform incline pushups by setting your hands on the edge of a couch or table. Do dips between a pair of sturdy chairs.

Perform free-weight exercises on your mat or exercise bench. You can do countless exercises with dumbbells, kettlebells or a barbell. Perform compound activities such as squats, deadlifts, overhead presses and lunges on the floor or the mat. Add a bench -- preferably an adjustable bench for greater versatility -- and do exercises such as bench presses, flyes, dumbbell rows and triceps extensions.

Purchase an exercise machine if you have sufficient space and the machine won't disturb your neighbors. A multipurpose machine with high and low cables, plus a leg area, may allow you to perform exercises as varied as leg presses, lat pulldowns, arm curls and seated rows.

Items you will need

  • Exercise mat
  • Resistance band
  • Free weights
  • Weight bench
  • Rebounder
  • Exercise ball
  • Exercise machine


  • If space is an issue, walk around your home and look for empty spots where equipment can fit when it’s not in use. If you have a couch, for example, you can slide a barbell bar underneath. A small rebounder resting sideways may fit along the back wall of a closet. You can stack weight plates beneath a sink. An exercise ball may double as a toddler’s toy when you’re not working out.
  • Always consider the noise factor when you work out in your apartment if you want to remain on good terms with your neighbors.


  • Consult a physician before starting an exercise routine, especially if you’ve been sedentary for a while or you have any health concerns.
  • Consider the safety of your exercises when you work out alone at home. Wait until your significant other or roommate is home before doing exercises that require a spotter, or invite a friend for a joint workout session and take turns spotting each other.

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About the Author

M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.

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