A common misconception about exercising is that you have to be in a specific place to get the best out of it. Granted, common workout spaces such as gyms and parks are definitely motivating. However, they are not the key to consistent and successful workout routines. Many people use the lack of access to such spaces as an excuse to put off or avoid exercise altogether.
It does not matter if you are in your bedroom, living room, hotel room, pint-sized apartment, office cubicle, or you are a student spending most of your time in a small dorm room. There are plenty of small space workout routines that will work for you.
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Small Space Workout Equipment
Numerous exercise accessories can allow you to perform a variety of moves without compromising on space in your small bedroom, dorm room or office. Below are some of the best pieces of workout accessories you can invest in:
• A set of Dumbbells or Kettlebells – Dumbbells and kettlebells are a staple accessory for all kinds of home workouts. They hardly take up space and come in a wide range of adjustable weight. Also, you can always store a set of dumbbells or kettlebells out of sight under your office desk, at the bottom of a closet or under your bed.
• A Set of Resistance Bands – Resistance bands are the most commonly used small space workout accessory and for good reason. First, you can use them for virtually any type of workout – arm exercises, leg exercises, core work, weight training, you name it.
Secondly, they take the least amount of space possible like an inch or two inside a drawer. Thirdly, they are very portable.
• A Jump Rope – The best thing about jump ropes is that they are versatile and cheap. You probably have one lying around somewhere. Jump rope movements encourage the activation of your large muscle groups. It is an incredible cardio and coordination accessory to throw into your exercise routines.
• Exercise Ball – An exercise ball is overall a great piece of exercise equipment. It helps with posture correction and there are hundreds of workouts you can perform with it. Additionally, it can also double up as a chair.
- Best Compact Exercise Equipment for Apartments and Small Spaces
- Best Desk Exercise Equipment For The Office Cubicle
- Best Weight Benches for Apartments and Small Spaces
- Best Small Ab Exercise Equipment for Home
Small Workout Room Ideas
To achieve great workouts in a confined space, all you need is the right equipment, a proper setting and an atmosphere that is energizing. There are several things you can do to achieve this.
The first is the appropriate flooring. Exercise equipment can be hard on flooring. Protect the flooring by covering your workout space with foam-backed carpet or interlocking foam pads.
You also need to make the limited space as comfortable as possible. Ensure that you avail plenty of natural light with pale-colored blinds. It is even better if you can open a window with a view during your workouts.
Make sure that you have ample airflow by plugging in a freestanding fan or ceiling fan.
Hang several mirrors in strategic positions to make your compact space feel bigger. Mirrors are also great for checking out and correct your workout form.
Overall, a well thought out workout space can help you prevent boredom and provide motivation to stick to your workout regimen.
Workouts For Limited Space
Small Space Cardio Workout
Cardiovascular exercises are any activities that are continuous and rhythmic, involve your body’s large muscle groups (especially the legs) and challenge your lungs and heart to work harder. Aerobic workouts help you sustain a challenging workout pace over time and help with longer efficient and fluid movements. The benefits of these cardio exercises include:
- Increase your stamina
- Increase your energy
- Help control your blood pressure
- Help you burn extra calories
- Improve your blood cholesterol profile
- Increase your aerobic power and endurance
- Help you speed up recovery after intense exercises
- Strengthen your immune and cardiovascular systems
Below are some of the best cardio workouts you can perform in limited spaces.
1. Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks also referred to as star jumps, target your core, hip adductors, and abductors, shoulder adductors and abductors as well as your thighs and calves. This exercise is also ideal for your warm-up routine.
How to Perform
Start by standing with your feet together, knees slightly bent and let your arms rest by your sides. In one movement, open your legs and arms to the side, while keeping your knees slightly bent. Your legs should spread wider than your shoulders while your arms come above your head. Get back to your starting position. You can also keep yourself engaged while performing this exercise by throwing in a cross jack or a squat. Complete two sets of 20 repetitions.
2. Sumo Jump
The sumo jump, also known as the sumo squat jump, is a simple but challenging full-body exercise that you can easily perform in a confined space. It helps improve your balance, strengthen your body and improve muscle mass. This exercise targets your hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves.
How to Perform
Start by standing with your feet at shoulder width and slightly turned outwards at a 30-degree angle. Your hands should be on your thighs. In one smooth explosive movement, bend your knees, sit back and jump up while keeping your core engaged. As you jump, your arms should swing back slightly behind your body. Lower your body to the initial squat position as you land. Perform three sets of 15 repetitions.
3. The Jump Rope
The jump rope is one of the best cardio workouts and can help you burn a significant amount of calories within a short time. This exercise targets your calves, quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, shoulders muscles and core.
How to Perform
Ensure that there is nothing above your head and stand upright with the jump rope behind your legs and handles in hand. Extend your arms to your side and jump lifting the rope off the ground towards your front and under your feet. Perform as many repetitions as you can.
Small space bodyweight workout
Bodyweight exercises are great for maintaining muscular and cardiovascular endurance when you do not have access to a fitness facility or equipment. Below are some of the benefits of bodyweight exercises:
- Do not require resistance training equipment or free weights as the weight of your body offers resistance for each movement.
- You can perform them anywhere, anytime, with limited physical space.
- You can tweak them in many ways to improve their efficiency and change up your workout routine.
- They promote better balance and flexibility as you rely only on your body
- They offer high output for low investment
1. Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers are a great full-body workout that targets your quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, core, shoulders, chest, and triceps.
How to Perform
Start by going into a high plank position with both your hands and knees on the floor. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders. Bring your left foot towards your left hand and extend your right leg behind you.
Pull your left knee as far as you can into your chest. In one fluid movement, alternate your legs. Your arms should stay in the same position. Try and keep your body as straight as you can.
Avoid your hips hiking into the air. Pull your left knee out and bring in your right leg. Keep alternating while inhaling and exhaling with each switch. Perform three sets of 20 repetitions.
2. The Squat
The squat is among the most frequently used and effective full-body exerciser r when it comes to strength training and conditioning. It is for these reasons that it is referred to as the king of exercises. Squats target your core, abs, lower back, hips, quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves.
How to Perform
Start by standing with your feet a bit wider than hip-width and your toes pointed slightly outward at a 30-degree angle. Driving your hips back, bend at your knees and ankles and sit back until your thighs are slightly below parallel to the floor.
Your toes and heels should stay on the floor and your spine should be in a neutral position. Press into your heels to bring yourself back up into the starting position. Your chest should be up and shoulders back during the entire movement. Perform five sets of 20 repetitions.
3. T-push Ups
T-push ups introduce a twist to the traditional push up to make it more challenging. This exercise mainly targets your chest and triceps.
How to Perform
Place your hands at shoulder width on the floor with your spine neutral. Slower lower yourself to perform a traditional push-up. As you come back up, shift your weight to your left and lift your right arm off the floor while rotating your torso such that you are in a high side plank position.
Exhale and carefully rotate back your torso to the floor. Perform another push-up and repeat the torso rotation in the opposite direction. That is one repetition. Perform three sets of 8 repetitions.
Small Space Ab Workout
Aesthetically pleasing abs have been the centerpiece of the human physique for decades. Your abs are part of core muscles that support your spine. Some of the benefits of these Ab workouts include:
- Strong abs lead to improved posture
- They help reduce mid and lower back pain
- They help you build functional strength
- They help improve your athletic performance
- They help improve your balance
1. Lying Leg Thrusts
Start by lying on your back with your head and shoulders raised off the floor and your hands next to your hips palms facing down. Raise your legs such that they are a 90-degree angle from the floor. Slowly lower your legs halfway the distance to the floor.
At this point, the angle between your legs and the floor should be about 45 degrees. Raise your legs to the initial 90-degree position. Once your legs are there thrust your hips off the floor. Complete three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.
2. Reverse Crunches
Start by lying on your back with knees bent at a 90-degree angle and your feet planted firmly on the floor. Raise your shoulders and head slightly off the floor and place your hand’s palm down by your hips. Slowly crunch your legs off the floor by moving your pelvis towards your head. Avoid using momentum and use only your abdominal muscles. Complete four sets of 15 to 20 reps.
3. Ab wheel
The Ab wheel is a very challenging Ab exercise that is extremely effective. Start with your knees about shoulder-width on the floor and firmly grip an Ab wheel between your arms. Roll out your arms to your front supporting your body weight on your knees and the Ab wheel.
Lower your torso to a position slightly shy of a full extension where you will experience a strong Ab contraction. Reverse the movement to bring yourself to the starting position. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Small Space HIIT Workout
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a cardio workout format, which involves alternating between intense anaerobic workout periods and less intense rest or recovery periods. Some of the benefits of HIIT workouts include:
- It is effective for burning fats without risking burning muscle tissue.
- It is a great way to maximize workouts if time is an issue for you.
- It keeps your metabolic rate high following exercise
- No need for equipment
- Helps you build endurance
- Improves your athletic abilities
- It helps improve your oxygen consumption
- It helps control your blood pressure and heart rate.
1. Tuck Jump to Plank
The Tuck Jump to plank targets all the muscles in your legs, upper back, core, biceps, and triceps. It is a great small space HIIT workout for agility, strength and explosive power.
How to Perform
Stand in an upright position with your hand’s clasps in front of your chest. Push back your hips, bend your knees and swing up your arms to jump as high as possible. Bring your knees to your chest as you engage your core.
As you land, immediately bend your knees and drop down into a plank stance with your hands under your shoulders. Your core should be engaged, legs extended and back straight. Jump your feet forward immediately and stand up to the starting position.
This is one repetition. Complete fluid reps without pause for 45 seconds. Rest for 20 seconds and continue until exhaustion.
The push up is a simple but very challenging exercise that targets your pecs, traps, triceps, shoulders and upper back. It requires hip and core stability.
How to Perform
Start by getting into the plank position with your hands under your shoulders facing forward. Engage your core by tightening your Abs so that you align properly. With your arms supporting your weight, slowly lower your body till your chest touches the floor.
Push back up into the starting position. Complete the pushups without pause for 45 to 60 seconds. Rest for 20 to 30 seconds and continue until failure.
Navy Seal Small Space Workout
Navy Seal Workouts refers to easy to do workout structure whereby you adhere to the consecutive repetitions of a specific type of exercise. The main reason behind this is to perfect your way up from each set and build more strength with time.
Members of the Navy Seal have to stay in shape constantly no matter how much they travel on submarines, amphibious ships or small boats. As such, they have to thrive and excel in small space workouts. The benefits of these exercises include:
- You can perform them anywhere at anytime
- They are ideal for cash-strapped or time-stressed individuals
- You can perform them in the very tightest of spaces
- They help improve conditioning and work capacity
1. Jogging in Place
Jogging on the spot is easier when compared to a treadmill or jogging outdoors. It is an extremely convenient workout that you can perform in the most confined of spaces. It aids in calorie burning, weight loss, and helps tone your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.
How to Perform
Start with a warm-up period in the form of a slight jog. Gradually increase your pace and lift your knees higher as you move on. To make the exercise more effective, ensure that you alternate intensity and recovery periods.
A burpee, also known as a squat thrust, is a challenging full-body workout. Burpees are essential for aerobic tolerance and strength training. They target your arms, chest, abs, quads, glutes, and hamstrings.
How to Perform
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your side. Sit back into a squat, bend your knees and push your hips back. Kick your feet back into a push-up position. Perform a push up ensuring that your body is in a straight line.
Your back must not sag and your butt should not stick up. Return to the squat position and then jump explosively into the air. As you land, get back to the initial squat position in preparation for the next rep. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions.
Small Space Weight Training
Weight training is one of those forms of training that benefit greatly from having access to fitness training facilities or large spaces with lots of equipment. However, you do not need these amenities to complete an effective weight-training regimen. Some of the benefits of small space weight training include:
- It helps keep your bones healthy and strong
- It boosts your metabolic rate and helps with fat loss
- It helps improve your posture, energy levels, mood and sleep
- It improves your overall strength and endurance
- It improves your balance
- It helps improve your mental strength
1. Single-Leg Kettlebell Deadlift
The single-leg deadlift is great for improving your posture and balance and helps tone your butt and thigh muscles. It mainly targets your hamstrings, quads, glutes, core, traps, and lats. You can perform this exercise using a dumbbell or kettlebell.
How to Perform
Stand by placing your hand on your waist and holding a kettlebell in your other hand. Bend forward while keeping your arm and back straight. Lower the hand with the kettlebell to the ground as you bend.
At the same time, raise and extend the opposite leg (to the one holding the kettlebell) behind you for balance. Lower until your back is parallel to the ground and then come back up to the starting position. Perform three sets of 8 to 10 slow repetitions.
2. The Goblet Squat
The goblet squat is a very effective dumbbell workout or kettlebell workout that targets your core, lower back, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.
How to Perform
Hold a dumbbell at your chest using both your hands. Stand your feet hip-width apart. Brace your core, swing your hips back and drop down into the squat position. Hold this position for about two seconds. Drive your feet into the ground to push yourself back up into the starting position. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement. Perform three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
Small Space Circuit Training
Circuit training is a very effective form of training since it increases your heart rate while strengthening your muscles. It also helps avoid the boredom associated with exercising by moving through different workstations. Some of the benefits of circuit training include:
- Improves cardiovascular fitness
- Improves muscular strength and endurance
- Increases your adherence to exercises
- Helps burn a huge amount of calories
- Helps increase your metabolic rate
Note that you should perform this series of workouts for about a minute with little or no rest in between.
1. Side Lunge with Windmill Arms
Stand with your legs past shoulder-width and arms out to your side parallel to the floor. Bend your right knee into a side lunge and bring your left arm towards your foot. Repeat for the opposite side, lunging from side to side bringing the opposite arm towards your foot. The lower you lunge and the faster you go, the harder it becomes. Complete reps for one minute.
2. Front Kick with Squat
Stand with your feet together, lift your right knee, and extend your leg in a front kick. Avoid locking your knee. Lower down into a squat position and then kick with your left leg. Repeat (left kick, squat, right kick) for one minute.
Shift your body weight onto your left foot and then take your right leg to the position, toes lightly resting on the floor and your arms extended upwards and towards the left of your body. Bring your right knee up as well as across your body while at the same time bringing your arms down towards your left side with a twisted torso. Take your right foot down, tap the floor and then continue with the leg on the opposite side as quick as you can. Perform again this movement for one extra minute.
There are hundreds of workouts that you can perform in limited spaces and the above overview is not exhaustive. Once you start looking for reasons not to work out, you will only blame those excuses for holding you back. The truth is you can still achieve the benefits of working out in confined spaces. Your circumstances should never be an excuse for not attaining your fitness goals.