Ready to take your small apartment to the next fitness level?
IF-FIT is supported by you. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
As you know, if you want to lead a healthy and prolonged life, it’s vital to look after yourself and keep yourself as fit and as healthy as you can. This is why it’s so important to ensure that you get plenty of exercise. Exercise helps burn fat, build muscle, increase strength, improve mobility, flexibility, bone mineral density, and a whole lot more besides.
When it comes to working out, as you probably know, commercial gyms can get busy. As beneficial as these gyms are, if you’re in a rush or don’t want to fight your way through massive crowds, you might want to consider a space-saving home gym. These all-in-one fold away home gyms are explicitly designed to be used in the home when space is lacking, but you still want to workout and get a good training session. If you purchase the right home gym, you’ll be reaping the benefits and getting fitter and healthier in no time at all. Get it wrong, though, and you’ll be cursing and wishing you’d saved your money. To help ensure that you purchase the right home gym, here’s a look at the best five compact home gyms for small space.
What is a home gym?
A home gym, also known as a multi-gym, is a piece of workout equipment, perfect for people that want to train at home but don’t have the space, or the budget, to build a home gym. They’re designed with various exercise stations and attachments that enable the user to perform different exercises that target different muscle groups on the body.
Different fold away home gyms come in different shapes, sizes, and designs, and will, therefore, offer different exercise stations and attachments. Some come with lat pulldown cables, pec deck, chest press, leg curl, low cables, and so on. Others take more of a simplistic approach to their design with benches and cables that can be adjusted to different heights and angles, allowing you to target different muscle groups that way. Some offer resistance in the form of weight stacks, others are plate-loaded, and some provide resistance in the form of, well, resistance. Yes, we’re looking at you, Bowflex. Whichever compact home gym you decide to opt for, knowing what your options are will make your purchase that little bit easier.
Why choose a compact home gym?
Because the fitness industry is doing so well, you will likely be spoilt for choice when it comes to commercial gyms, as long as you don’t live out in the wilderness in the middle of nowhere. There are advantages associated with training at a commercial gym, and we aren’t disputing that, but there are also certain drawbacks too. Commercial gyms can be expensive, and if you’re on a tight budget, the last thing you want is to be shelling out for yet another expense. Not only that but if you’re also struggling for time, finding the time to travel to and from a commercial gym can be extremely tough. While training around others can create a positive training environment, if it is too busy, you’ll find yourself queuing up to get on various pieces of equipment and fighting through large crowds.
This is where purchasing a fold away home gym can be so beneficial. A compact home gym will allow you to exercise in the comfort of your own home. They’re affordable, they’ll help you to save money on gym memberships and travel, they’ll save you time, and you won’t need to fight through queues of sweaty people. Yes, there’s certainly a lot to be said for working out at home, and if you purchase the right kit, you’ll make some remarkable gains.
Best Compact Home Gyms
Top 5 Picks for Small Spaces
Now we’re going to take a look at five of the best home gyms currently available for purchase right now. These home gyms vary in terms of design, size, price, and features, yet they’re all hugely beneficial in their ways. So, in no particular order, here’s a look at the top 5 compact home gyms on the market right now.
1. Bowflex Xtreme Home Gym PR 3000
If you’re looking for the ultimate home gym setup, without having to fill an entire room, the Bowflex Xtreme Home Gym is ideal. This multi-gym offers resistance in the form of tension pulling against the cables of each station. As you begin, the movement feels easy, yet as the bow tension increases, the exercise becomes much harder and more challenging.
This home gym offers more than 50 exercises to work the entire body. Resistance varies from 5 pounds, up to 210 pounds, so you can really push yourself while training. There are even multi-use ankle or handcuffs, which help to add flexibility. Just some of the exercises you can perform include: Chest press, triceps pushdowns, lat pull down, ab crunches, biceps curls, upright rows, seated leg curls, and much more besides. You can even upgrade the machine to offer 310 pounds of resistance instead.
2. Bowflex Xtreme Home Gym PR1000
This home gym is fantastic for those of you looking to train in the comfort of your own home, without taking up heaps of space in the process. The home gym offers users the ability to perform 25 exercises targeting various muscle groups of the body.
This small home gym is ideal because the seat adjusts from flat, incline, to upright, so you can do everything from seated rows, incline chest press, to upright chest press. There is even an in-built media rack. In fact, with multiple cable pulley position adjustment options, you can do everything from lateral raises to upright rows. There’s also a leg station because, as you know, you should never skip leg day. Offering an impressive 200-pounds of resistance, this home gym is ideal for those of you relatively new to working out, who are looking to make some serious gains at home.
3. Total Gym 1900
Now, if you want a no-nonsense piece of equipment that does exactly what it says on the box, this is the perfect space-saving home gym setup for you. It is a brilliant design in that it is just one bench, which allows the user to sit in/on it at multiple angles and in various positions, enabling them to target different parts of the anatomy. You can work your entire body in less than 20 minutes with the Total Gym 1900.
As far as fold away home gyms go, this one is certainly up there with the best. You can perform 60 different exercises, with 12 calibrated levels of resistance ranging from 3% up to 45%. Best of all is that it arrives fully assembled and ready to use. Just a few of the exercises you can perform on the Total Gym 1900 include: decline chest press, kickbacks, triceps extensions, seated rows, leg extensions, biceps curls, and plenty more besides.
4. Weider Ultimate Body Works
If you’re familiar with the world of health, fitness, and bodybuilding in general, you will be familiar with the name Weider. Weider is a brand synonymous with fitness; in fact, Joe Weider is known as the ‘Father of Bodybuilding’ as he, along with his brother Ben, helped to revolutionize the sport revered around the world. Now, if you are looking for an affordable and straightforward way to exercise and work out in the comfort of your own home, the Weider Ultimate Body Works home gym is perfect.
This is an adjustable bench with cable pulley attachments that allow you to hit different muscle groups from different angles. The bench features a telescopic adjustment design to adjust the height. Users can even choose from various resistance bands for added resistance. It’s also perfect for Pilates. Now, in terms of exercises, you can perform, you can do: Chest press, hack squats, lat pulldowns, V crunches, triceps pushdowns, and heaps more besides.
5. OYO Personal Gym
Compared to the other home gyms and benches we’ve looked at so far, the OYO Personal Gym looks decidedly simple. Don’t let that fool you, however, because the OYO Personal Gym is a useful piece of space-saving home gym equipment for you to have when space is lacking.
This hand-held gadget allows users to strengthen their bodies anywhere, at any time. It is an entirely portable piece of kit that is designed to be used on the go. It utilizes NASA Spiraflex technology to replace the weights and has been used by NASA astronauts aboard the ISS for over a decade now. You can even purchase ‘flex packs’ to add up to 25 pounds of extra resistance. You can perform biceps curls, upright rows, leg extensions, triceps extensions, chest press, and flyes, and much more besides.
Small Home Gyms Buying Guide
Everything you need to know
In this next section, we’re going to share a few tips with you based upon choosing the perfect compact home gym. As you now know, these gyms come in all shapes, sizes, styles, and designs, and they can be used in a whole host of different ways. To ensure that you get the best home gym that your budget will allow for, here are a few tips based upon finding your ideal home gym.
Consider your free space
First and foremost, when you begin looking for a home gym, you will need to know how much free space you have. Some people, for example, may only have a small corner free in their spare bedroom. Others may have an open room or an empty garage and may decide to build a garage gym. Measure exactly how much free space you have and be sure to consider this when browsing for a home gym. The website and manufacturing details should state the dimensions of the home gym when assembled, so look at the info and determine whether or not it will fit into the free space that you have. You will also need plenty of clearance around the gym, so make sure it won’t be cramped and a tight fit.
Weight and resistance
Up next, you are going to have to consider the amount of pressure and resistance that the home gym provides. If you’re an experienced lifter who can lift some impressive weight, a standard home gym set up with a resistance of just 200-pounds probably isn’t going to cut it. You’re going to want a home gym which provides a lot of extra resistance so that you can get more from your workouts. Be sure to consider the weight and the resistance. 200-pounds of resistance on a home gym, for example, will feel considerably lighter than 200-pounds on a barbell, because the pulleys do some of the work for you.
What are your goals?
If you’re looking to bulk up and get big and jacked beyond belief, you will likely not want to be looking at the same home gym as somebody that is merely looking to tone up and improve their fitness slightly. Different people have different fitness goals, and finding your ideal home gym will very much depend on what you want to get from your training. If you do intend on building muscle and getting stronger, you’ll want a multi-gym with a heavyweight stack that adds heaps of resistance so you can push yourself when training. Once you know what you want from your training, you can then narrow down your search until you find the perfect home gym.
Do you want a stack, plate loaded, or resistance?
Another thing to consider is where you want the resistance to come from when using your small home gym. Some setups are plate-loaded, in which case you’ll likely need to purchase extra weight plates if you want to add more weight. Others have weight stacks in which you use a pin to select the amount of weight you want to lift. Others, in the form of the Bowflex, for example, use special rods to add resistance, which means that they use physics for resistance rather than heavyweights.
When it comes to training, are you a ‘meat and potatoes’ kind of lifter, or do you want to get involved with your training and try all manner of different exercises? The ‘meat and potatoes’ lifters, as we called them, tend to prefer tried and tested exercises that are proven for building muscle and burning fat. If you want to keep things simple, look for a basic home gym with typical uses such as lat pulldowns, chest press, cable bicep curls, leg curls, triceps pushdowns, and so on. If you want to switch up your training and get more from your workouts, you can look for space-saving home gyms that offer much more in terms of exercise options. Home gyms with adjustable benches and cable pulley systems, for example, provide heaps of exercise options. It isn’t uncommon for these types of home gym setups to offer upwards of 60 exercise options, which is more than enough when it comes to keeping your workouts fresh and exciting.
Price is going to be a deciding factor for a lot of you, and that is perfectly understandable. We know that money isn’t a luxury to be taken for granted, and we know that you are going to want to get the best value for money that you can get when buying a home gym. The thing that you need to remember, though, is that you get what you pay for when purchasing fitness equipment. If you base your search solely on finding the cheapest possible home gym, don’t be surprised if it breaks, arrives damaged, or is pretty useless when it turns up. Avoid looking for affordable budget models or Chinese imports as they will likely suck and could even potentially be dangerous. With that said, you don’t need to spend an absolute fortune either. There are plenty of home gyms that are available for affordable yet competitive prices that cover all bases when buying the perfect setup. If you can’t afford to go top-of-the-line, see how much the average home gym is going for, compare prices with other rival brands and models, and see what you can come up with.
Another critical consideration when it comes to fold away home gyms is their overall levels of adjustability. Different people are different sizes, so you may find that you’ll need a home gym with an adjustable bench that can be altered based upon the size of the user. As well as that, if the seat is adjustable in terms of positioning, how easy is the motion. If you want to switch from a flat bench setup to an incline setup, for example, can you do this quickly, or will you need to mess about unscrewing things, tightening them up, holding them in place, and so on? If adjusting the bench is a pain, we recommend looking for an easier model. As the novelty of having your home gym will soon wear off, and you won’t be bothered to adjust the bench every time you want to do a different exercise with the bench set at a different angle.
This is another crucial consideration to take into account when searching for your shiny new space-saving home gym. Home gyms are not commercial quality. We wish they were, but if they were, they’d be much bigger and heavier and would cost considerably more. Because they are smaller and lighter, they can only withstand so much weight, so the weight capacity of these machines should also be a huge consideration when buying your home gym. If you weigh upwards of 300-pounds, for example, and you come across a home gym with a max user weight capacity of just 250-pounds, the home gym will be no use to you unless you decide to trim down to below 250. The max user weight capacity is there for a reason, and that reason is to keep you safe. If you’re too heavy for the home gym, there’s the risk it could break or collapse, which would be extremely dangerous. When searching for a space-saving home gym, be sure to look at the max user weight of the machine before you even consider buying it.
Okay, perhaps not the most important consideration for a lot of people, but if you’re using one of these machines in your home, you’ll want it to look beautiful, or at the very least, not to stand out like a sore thumb. Before buying a home gym, make sure that you’re happy with how it will look in your home.
If space is something which is lacking in your home, you could consider fold away home gyms instead. As you can probably guess, these home gyms are designed to fold away and be stored in cupboards, under beds, or propped up neatly in the corner to provide you with a little extra floor space.
Do I need any other equipment or accessories?
The beauty of many compact home gyms is the fact that they are designed to serve as an all-in-one workout solution. With this one piece of equipment, you can primarily train your entire body and hit all of your major muscle groups with multiple exercises. With that said, though, if you do have the space for more, or if you are perhaps building a home gym or garage gym, there are certain other pieces of kit and equipment that many would deem essential when building a home gym. If space and budget will allow, here’s a look at a few other pieces of home gym equipment you can purchase to finish off your little home workout sanctuary:
- Adjustable bench
- Olympic barbell and weight set
- Adjustable dumbbells
- Exercise mat
- Exercise ball
- A squat rack
- Dumbbell rack
- Jump rope
- Pull up bar
- Weight tree
What user are asking?
We’re now going to finish up by looking at several frequently asked questions regarding purchasing a small home gym to workout with at home.
Do home gyms build muscle?
Yes! If you use them correctly and perform the exercises with proper form, and with the right levels of volume, intensity, and recovery, you can indeed build muscle when using a home gym.
What dimensions should a home gym usually have?
In truth, we can’t give you an answer to this because we don’t know how much free space you’re working with. The best advice we can give is to measure the amount of free space that you have for the gym, and then to read the dimensions of the assembled home gym listed by the manufacturers.
That’s it folks. Congratulations to reach the end of this detailed guide. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.