Whether it’s a tiny front garden or a communal flat share, trying to complete a decent home workout in a small space often feels like a losing battle – especially if you’re looking to get a good sweat on.
Lifting, jumping, sprinting and stretching feel off-off limits when you’re working with a confined space that doesn’t allow for freedom of movement – and you can basically forget logging on to live Zoom calls with personal trainers.
Yes, it can be easy to talk yourself out of a home workout when you’re faced with a postage stamp sized space, but the size of your home shouldn’t stop you from keeping fit and seeing results.
Tips for exercising at home
Here are some tips for making the most out of a small home workout space. No excuses needed.
1. Find a designated space
Rather than attempting to work out in different areas around your home, carve out your regular workout spot and stick to it. The living room usually offers the most amount of space, even if you have to shift the furniture around a bit beforehand.
If you share your home with flatmates or family, it’s a good idea to pick a regular time to keep fit and check it over with the rest of the house, so you won’t be interfering with other people’s routines.
2. Clear as much space as you can
Bringing your workouts indoors is a good excuse for a spring clean and declutter. Sort through any boxes or papers that might get in the way of your workout and tidy away any obstacle items into cupboards.
You don’t need much space for a good workout – just enough for an exercise mat, with a bit of stepping space either side for lunges and star jumps. Make sure there’s enough room behind you to be able to drop into a plank too. Rearranging your larger furniture, such as sofas and tables, and closing doors can help you to gain extra space.
3. Consider your neighbours
If you live above another flat, it’s a good idea to look for a workout that doesn’t involve jumping, to avoid disturbing those living below. Squats, no jump burpees and plank reaches are all high-intestity moves that don’t involve any loud jumping, and they’re a great low-impact option for giving your joints a rest.
If you’re taking part in a YouTube or Instagram workout, make sure to fast-forward through the moves beforehand to check that they’ll work for the demands of your space.
4. Get a suspension trainer
Suspension trainers are a one of the best methods out there for total-body conditioning in tiny spaces. As the name would suggest, the exercise system uses gravity and your own body weight to make exercise more challenging – rather than weights and machines.
The heavy duty TRX straps can be anchored to a closed door in your home and there are an infinite number of different workout moves you can do, like rows, chest presses and bicep curls. Afterwards, they can be slung behind the sofa or packed away in a drawer, out of everyone’s way.
5. Invest in a pull-up bar
Whether you’re looking to lose a few kilos or bulk up your upper body, pull-up bars are a fantastic, portable piece of kit that can easily be packed away in a cupboard after you’ve used them.
As well as practising your pull-ups in the air, the bar can be placed on the floor and used for push-ups and tricep dips, turning your home into a mini, portable gym.
Most bars are designed to wrap around a door frame so they can be set up in seconds, there’s no screws needed and therefore no damage caused to a rented home.
6. Utilise resistance bands
Resistance bands are a low-cost and effective way to increase your strength and add some muscle, without having to rely on bulky gym equipment. You’d be surprised at how much burn you can achieve from a bit of stretchy elastic around your thighs.
Hip abductions, glute bridges and lateral walks a just a few exercise moves you could try, plus they’re also a great recovery tool for getting deeper into your hamstring and glute stretches.
7. Utilise furniture
If you’ve got a sofa in the way of your workout space, use it to your advantage. A couch can be used for tricep dips, elevated mountain climbers and you can even sit down and practise leg raises on it.
A kitchen worktop is a great substitute bar for ballet classes (just make sure you wipe it down with anti-bacterial spray afterwards) and a footstool can make a fantastic bench hop.
With a bit of creativity, you can find an infinite number of substitute props in your home too. Try using a kitchen towel can as a slider, tins of soup for weights and a few dozen trips up and down your stairs can become the ultimate cardio finisher. No gym? No problem.