Living in an apartment, flat or small home with no room to put together your own home gym? Check out these truly compact and foldaway exercise machines to build your own gym at home. Coincidentally, these are also more affordable that their full size counterparts and easier to store when finished.
How to Build Your Own Gym At Home with Little Room and On a Budget
Don’t like clutter in your home and have no room for full size, floor-standing exercise machines that take up a lot of floor space? Here are 10 of the best small, compact and foldaway exercise machines you can buy. Use them to build your very own gym at home and save on those monthly gym membership.
These gym equipments are great for flats, apartments and small homes. They are compact and sometimes foldaway making them not only small but affordable too. It is a great way to build your own gym at home on a budget. When you are done with them, they can be stored in the cupboard, under the bed, behind the door, under the stairs, behind the sofa or anywhere there is space. These certainly do not need a dedicated room and take up little space in storage.
- Step Machine with Handles or Resistance Bands
- Squat Machine (Row-N-Ride)
- Compact Rowing Machine
- Folding Trampoline
- Total Body Trainer
- Workout Bench / Weight Bench
- Foldable Exercise Bike
- Foldable Treadmill
BONUS: Elliptical Pedal Exerciser
1. Stepper Machine (Strider) with Handles or Resistance Bands
First, we have the stepper machine, sometimes known as the strider. These can come on its own, equipped with handle bars and full hydraulic frame or with resistant bands. Best examples for each of these are as listed below.
This is a compact version of the elliptical trainer and can be used together with hand weights or on its own. It offers low-impact aerobic exercises with each stepping or pedaling action. The step machine can be deployed as a seated or standing exercise machine, making it perfect for use under the work desk or near a standing desk if you are the multi-tasking sort. The Stamina InMotion E1000 Compact Strider featured below use a cycle mechanism with adjustable tension via the dial. Use the digital monitor to track your exercise time, calories burned, number of strides per minute and total strides.
A different version that uses hydraulics over conventional pedal cycle is also available. Examples of these hydraulic stepping machines with handle or resistance bans are shown below.
For stability, the step machine with handles offers the balance beginners need. A handy digital counter enables you to monitor time, calories, and steps for motivation and to keep track of your workout. Our perfect example is the SpaceMate below. Its folding chassis lets you fold and store the unit when not in use. Note that the SpaceMate is based on hydraulics instead of a pedal cycle with magnetic resistance.
The following example is a stepper machine based on hydraulics but smaller. What is difference this time is it comes with resistance bands to let you exercise your arms, chest and back while your legs get a workout. Again, more advanced models come with LCD monitors to track your workout. These will inevitably cost a little more but you get to check on the steps, time and calories burnt.
This fold flat squat trainer, sometimes known as upright row-n-ride bike works on the glutes, legs, chest and back muscles with every squat. Adjust the squat depth by changing the saddle angle (30, 60 or 90 degrees) and resistance level to suit your workout.
A variant of this that combines 3 resistance bands for approximately 22 pounds of adjustable resistance is also available. To increase the intensity of the workout, simply more from one to three bands. More advanced squad machines come with a digital monitor for time, count, and calories.
Just as compact as the squat machine above is the rowing machine. While there is a inclined slide rail, seat and foot rests, it does not come with a transport wheel and pulley. Such a system would require air and magnetic resistance wheel that increase the size of the machine. This compact rowing machine uses an anchored bar with handles and hydraulic resistance instead. It is both smooth and quiet, with 12 levels of resistance to choose to suit you. Workout your forearms, biceps, triceps, shoulders, legs, thighs and more and while you are at it, track your progress with digital counter that monitors your time, calories burnt and total count.
4. Dumbbells – Hand Weights
Hand weights or dumbbell, either vinyl or neoprene coated are a good addition to any home gym. They are not exactly foldable but compact all the same. Available in a set of three pairs or more and with different weight levels, these dumbbell sets come with its own stand. A set from BalanceFrom comes with 3lb, 5lb and 8lb weight pairs while Tone Fitness (below) has lighter 2lb, 3lb and 5lb pairs. You can also choose to go further with a 5lb, 8lb and 12lb set. Alternatively, for an even more compact solution, choose adjustable dumbbells. These come with removable weight bars, blocsk or discs to let you set your own desired weight.
Dumbbells lets you work on strength training for the abs, pectoralis major, biceps and deltoid muscles. Modern dumbbells are covered in soft neoprene or vinyl for better grip and to avoid rust.
Like the dumbbell set, the Kettlebell set comes in three or more, but that is where the similarities end. Kettlebells are often heavier than dumbbells. The set below starts from 5lb, the others being 10lb and 15lb. These are great to develop the core muscles and you would only carry out at a time. With its big and wide opening handle it offers comfortable and maximum grip perfect for swings, deadlifts, squats, get-ups, snatches and other cross training workouts. Again, these modern kettlebells are covered in vinyl and are made from cement making them rust-free unlike its cast iron counterpart.
Kettlebell training lets you engage the muscles in your entire body for a full-body workout. Like the weights, these are great for use at home with limited space given its compact footprint. If you are old school, choose cast iron kettlebells but pick one with coated handle.
6. Folding Trampoline (Fitness Rebounder)
With added fun, these folding trampoline sometimes known as a fitness rebounder for adult lets you take on aerobic exercises to help burn calories. When you are finished, it can fold flat so you can leave it under the sofa or bed. These are great for cardio exercises as bouncing increases heart rate and strengthen blood circulation. It is said that bouncing on the rebounder for 10 minutes is equivalent to an hour’s jogging. Choose between spring loaded or bungee cords to power your jumps. Some rebounders come with adjustable handle bar. Whichever one you choose, you are guaranteed a lot of fun while helping you meet your fitness goals.
The little known benefits of a rebounder include increasing body oxygen capacity, improving your balance and coordination. Other benefits will be immediately clear to you once you start jumping are increased cardiovascular activity and calories burnt that leads to weight loss.
There are quite several gym equipments to stake the claim as a ‘total body training system’. The core Max is one of them. Offering smart abs and total body workout, this fold flat unit comes with dual action resistant handles. They use a power assisted rebound system to offer resistance and support in both directions with different resistance levels to choose from. Some instructions are required but once you are familiar with them, it will offer a toal body workout. Use the workout chart and digital download to get started. Below are some exercises you can perform with this clever little contraption.
Next, we have the humble workout bench. Not just any workout bench but for our purpose, a foldable one. The emphasis here are adjustable and foldable making them perfect as weight bench and for strength training. The seat and back pads are adjustable to offer different seating, inclined and lying down flat on your back positions. Use it for weight training or equipment free exercises. When done, it can fold flat and stood up against the wall or stored under a dresser, bed or sofa. Some manufacturer offers a workout poster that includes over 30 different ways to exercise using the workout bench, see below.
Exercise bikes need not be big and bulky. You can find folding exercise bikes that uses double X-frame with scissor action to quickly fold up to take up less floor space when done. These folding bikes are also well equipped with monitoring console that tracks your pulse as you cycle on the variable resistant pedals offered with a magnetic resistance system. More advanced version comes with Bluetooth connectivity, backrest, semi-recumbent seating position with an extra set of handle bars next to the seat and free companion app, look for semi-recumbent folding upright exercise bike.
Indoor Cycling Bike Folding
Another exercise equipment that breaks the convention is the folding treadmill. When you think of a running treadmill, you think of large and bulky equipment almost the size of a desk. These folding treadmill changes that and lets you lift up the running deck to keep the footprint small when not in use.
They are perfect for runners, joggers and walkers to exercise safely indoor, especially when it is raining, dark and cold outside. Most runner and joggers who live in the city will also avoid toxic air exposure as they run by the roadside. Think of the fumes and dust kicked up by passing vehicles. Choose between electrical powered and motorised deck or non-motorised system to suit your needs. The latter uses dual fly wheel allowing you to set the tension and resistance manually. The former gives you control over the speed of which you jog, run or walk by setting the speed of the motor.
BONUS: Elliptical Pedal Exerciser
Similar in size to the stepper machine, this elliptical pedal exercisers take up just as little space. This allows it to fit under the desk when not in use. But, unlike the stepper machine, you will need to bring your own chair and use it in a seated position. Most units come with a built-in digital monitor to track your time, speed, calories and distance. The pedal system uses a magnetic resistance drive to power your elliptical workout for smooth, silent and impact free exercise. Use the tension know to increase the resistance level as you build up your endurance. Instead of staying idle at the work desk, reading a book or when watching TV on the sofa, use the pedal exerciser to keep your legs busy and break from a sedentary life.