SMALL SPACE, BIG IDEAS: Build A Home Gym in Your Apartment

It’s happened to all of us more times than we’d like. We tie up our sneakers, grab our gym bag, and make use of our fancy gym membership only to discover once we get in the building that all of the machines we wanted to use are taken. Beyond the annoyance of having our workouts interrupted, “gym anxiety” can be a huge turn-off to anyone just starting out on their personal fitness journey. For some, the solution is to build a top-of-the-line gym in their own home, but in the age of apartment living, this is much easier said than done.

You can build a compact, efficient gym in a small portion of your apartment that allows you to work out in comfort and privacy. Our checklist below covers the basics, but feel free to customize our list to suit your fitness plans. You’ll need a clear space (a corner of the dining room, living room, or bedroom seems to work best) where you can complete your workouts. Even in the smallest studio apartment, you can make this happen by moving furniture against the walls — make this a part of your warm-up!

STEP ONE: Storage

It may sound counter-intuitive to commit part of your space to a bulky storage container, so don’t! All you need is a dedicated space for your equipment. Our recommendation is an inexpensive “cube”-style bookshelf with removable cloth bins. For added organization, color-code your storage bins by exercise: red for weights, blue for stretching equipment, and so on.

STEP TWO: Safety Essentials

This includes items like breathable clothing, protective wraps or accessories for your back and strained muscles. Include a mat for stretching and yoga, plus cleaning spray, towels, and everything else you need to clean and put everything away at the end of your workout. Sweat buildup and the remnants of a particularly good workout, if not properly dealt with, can lead to the growth of potentially dangerous bacteria. You definitely don’t want those in your home!

STEP THREE: Equipment

Now we’re getting to the good stuff! A home gym doesn’t have to include bulky, expensive fitness equipment like stationary bikes and rowing machines. Make the most of your small space with efficient fitness items (which you can store in your color-coded bins!) that let you knock out a warrior’s workout without breaking the bank or leaving your home cluttered with equipment. What follows is our list of recommended equipment, but don’t be afraid to swap out or add to our list. Remember — the best part about having a “home” gym is that it’s all about YOU!

STEP FOUR: Add-ons and Accessories

We’ve covered the basics, and now it’s time to consider the accessories that are best for your fitness style and schedule. Focusing on timed sets? A dollar-store stopwatch will get the job done!

What follows is our Home Gym Checklist. What other equipment do YOU have in your home gym? Send us pictures of your setup for a chance to be featured on our social media pages. Got yourself a home gym but you’re not sure where to start? Call or email the F3 team today for one-on-one advice, training, and guidance that will get your fitness journey started off on the right foot.



  • “Cube” shelf

  • Cloth cube inserts (color-coding optional)

Safety Essentials

  • Reusable water bottle

  • Towels

  • Cleaning supplies (spray and towels)

  • Floor mats

  • Non-slip gloves or hand powder

  • Protective gear or back supports for lifting

Strength Training

  • Kettlebells

  • Clubbells

  • TRX bands

  • Free weights or adjustable dumbbells (ranging from light to heavy)

Cardio Training

  • A dedicated floor space for jumping jacks, etc.

  • Jump rope

All-in-One Training

  • Resistance bands

  • Chin-up or pull-up bar (go for the kind that fits in a doorway, but make sure the installation process is allowed within the terms of your lease)

Optional Accessories

  • Stop watch (for timed sets)

  • Floor-length mirror (to keep an eye on stance and progress)

  • Scale

  • Heart monitor

  • Sound equipment and a rocking gym playlist

  • TV monitor for fitness videos and guided classes

Glenn SethComment