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Among treadmills, rowing machines and exercise bikes, it can feel like you need a sprawling setup to exercise at home. But you don’t need an entire room full of gym gear to get an effective workout. There’s plenty of compact exercise equipment you can use to get moving without sacrificing floor space. From mini workout mirrors to adjustable kettlebells, check out our recommendations for small equipment that packs a punch.
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Resistance bands for an added challenge in a tiny package
Though bodyweight exercises work just fine when you’re new to strength training, if you exercise regularly, you’ll likely want to up the difficulty level. Resistance bands are a great option for those with limited room as they take up minimal space, and are lightweight and easy to store.
Mini bands, or thin rubber loops about 10 inches to 1 foot in diameter, are probably most common. One great option is the Fit Simplify set from Amazon, which comes with five bands for five levels of resistance. Reviewers say the set works well for a variety of exercises.
You can also try resistance tubes, which have handles on the ends, for better grip during exercises like bicep curls or shoulder presses. The Fit Simplify Resistance Tube Set from Amazon is a versatile option that comes with five tubes, two handles, two ankle straps and a door anchor. Reviewers say they’re easy and comfortable to use, and their relatively light resistance makes them a good choice for beginners.
Adjustable dumbbells to save space while lifting heavy
Dumbbells are an exercise staple to help you gain strength. But to get an effective workout, you’ll need a selection of loads for multiple different exercises, and some even heavier sets to keep challenging yourself as you progress.
Adjustable dumbbells replace a full rack of dumbbells in their space-saving package and let you load and unload weight plates with the flick of a wrist. Our favorite set, the Bowflex SelectTech 552, ranges from 5 to 52.5 pounds, increasing by 2.5-pound increments up to 25 pounds and 5-pound increments thereafter. These dumbbells are comfortable to use and easy to adjust, and the 2.5-pound weight increments allow you to gradually and comfortably increase your load.
An AI-powered strength-training system
If you’re looking to splurge on your home workouts, check out Tonal, an AI-powered smart cable machine that takes the guesswork out of strength training. Tonal’s technology measures your power output as you lift and adjusts the cable-loaded resistance to match your abilities and provide just the right amount of difficulty.
Tonal’s workouts are fun and challenging, and once you get the hang of things, you can customize your own session with the machine tailored to your goals. Users can lift up to 200 pounds with Tonal and, thanks to its slim, wall-mounted design, you just need enough space to stand and move in front of the machine.
A plug-and-play workout coach
For those who don’t have room on their walls to install equipment, the Tempo Move may be for you. The Move connects your phone to your TV to project workouts on your screen while using your phone’s camera via its app to monitor your movements, count your reps and give form feedback with its AI-powered technology. The Move comes with a cabinet to store the included set of dumbbells, weight plates and collars, helping to keep your space tidy when you’re not exercising.
An adjustable kettlebell to ramp up your weight selection
For more variability with your strength workouts, add an adjustable kettlebell to your lineup. The JaxJox KettlebellConnect 2.0 ranges from 12 to 48 pounds and adjusts in 6-pound increments. It connects to a smartphone app via Bluetooth that tracks your workout data such as reps, sets, average power and total weight lifted.
Using the KettlebellConnect 2.0 is easy. After pressing a button to increase or decrease the weight, the kettlebell beeps to let you know it’s fully loaded and ready to go. A small screen on the kettlebell’s base displays the weight so you can see what weight it’s at. And the plastic handle feels surprisingly comfortable and non-slip throughout sweaty workouts, a feature our tester was initially dubious about.
A weighted jump rope to get your heart rate up
Skip the exercise bike and get your cardio workout in with a weighted jump rope. Jumping rope is a fun way to elevate your heart rate and get the benefits of a cardio workout, and adding weight helps work your muscles as you hop. Just make sure to move any furniture out of the way before jumping in.
Crossrope makes weighted jump ropes ranging from a quarter of a pound to 2 pounds, and you can find strength and HIIT workouts utilizing the ropes in addition to pure jumping sessions on its free companion app. Our reviewer thought Crossrope’s workouts were a fun way to break a sweat, and the ropes themselves were comfortable and easy to use.
Stylish ankle weights to boost barre sessions
Bala Bangles are known for their sleek, modern appearance that’ll make you want to get up and use them. These stylish ankle and wrist weights come in one- and two-pound pairs to add a touch more resistance to activities like barre, pilates or yoga.
In our tests, we found the Bala Bangles easy to adjust and comfortable to wear throughout sweaty workouts, and they’ll take up hardly any space in your home gym.
Yoga blocks to up your flows
Yoga blocks make a great addition to any yoga practice. They provide added height to support you in various poses and can give your stability a boost, deepen your stretch and improve your range of motion.
Lululemon’s Lift and Lengthen yoga block is a well-reviewed option that happy customers say is sturdy and helps them practice challenging posts with more comfortability.
A folding treadmill for compact cardio workouts
When you think of home cardio equipment your mind may jump to a bulky, noisy treadmill. Not with Treadly, a foldable treadmill designed for small spaces. It weighs 73 pounds and measures about 4 feet long by 1½ feet wide. When the handlebar is in the upright position, the treadmill is 3½ feet tall, but when folded down, it’s less than 4 inches tall, meaning it can fit under basically any bed. It also has two wheels on the front end to make it more portable.
According to our tester, the Treadly feels surprisingly sturdy for its size. It’s simple to set up and easy to use—to start the machine, you just step on and walk. However, its small size comes with some limitations. Namely, the treadmill maxes out at 5 miles per hour (mph) with the handlebar up and just 3.7 mph with the handlebar down. It reaches an adequate speed for casual joggers and brisk walkers, but serious runners won’t be able to get to top speeds with Treadly.
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