Home fitness. Girl doing abs crunches on floor

Russell Jack, Southland-based Yoga Guru, Explains How to Work Out While Living in an Apartment

Regular exercise is a necessary part of any healthy lifestyle, but getting to the gym isn’t always possible. Home workouts are much more convenient than a gym membership if you have space and can make it happen. So what about apartment residents? Most apartments don’t have room to spare for a full home gym. And running on a treadmill late at night or doing jumping jacks first thing in the morning probably won’t endear you to the neighbors that live below you. Here, Russell Jack, Southland-based yoga and mindfulness teacher, explains that working out in an apartment is entirely doable, with the right equipment and strategies. 

Incorporate bodyweight exercise

Bodyweight exercises are an apartment-living fitness lover’s best friend. These classic exercises are practical because they use the body’s weight as resistance. Bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere and don’t require any additional equipment. Though a few popular moves, like knee-up lunges, should be avoided because they involve jumping, most bodyweight exercises are impact-free and silent. Some of the most effective options include squats, planks, and glute bridges. Bodyweight exercises are also perfect for combining into high-intensity interval workouts with repetitions of moves separated by breath-catching pauses. 

 Skip the large equipment 

When you are motivated to start a home workout routine, the instinct may be to purchase a gym equipment piece. Treadmills, spin bikes, and elliptical machines are popular options, but they may not be the best bets for apartments. Many apartment leases contain clauses prohibiting workout machines. In addition to being loud space hogs, many fitness machines are one-trick ponies that only work one muscle group and lead to boredom. 

Invest in small equipment

Just because a treadmill or spin bike is a no-go doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of pieces of fitness equipment that can add some oomph to your apartment workout. Hand weights or dumbbells don’t take up much space but can make a significant impact, especially when added to bodyweight workouts. Resistance bands are another excellent choice because they can be used in various ways and can be folded and slipped into a drawer between activities. 

Another option to consider is core sliders. By standing on these soft, flat discs and using them to glide across the floor, you can dramatically increase the difficulty and effectiveness of many bodyweight exercises. Even better, you can turn moves that require jumping into impact-free movements. You probably wouldn’t do burpees or mountain climbers in an apartment due to noise. But, adding a core slider transforms the bounce into a glide, which your downstairs neighbors will appreciate. As a bonus, core sliders will protect wood floors, so you won’t risk losing your deposit. 

Perhaps the most versatile piece of apartment-friendly fitness equipment is a yoga mat. Yoga is quiet, doesn’t require much space, and is a significant part of any fitness routine. Plus, a yoga mat can be used for pre and post-workout stretches. You can also do bodyweight workouts on top of a yoga mat for cushion and noise reduction.

Whatever pieces of apartment-friendly fitness equipment you choose, it may be worthwhile to invest in high-quality versions. Fitness equipment that works well is easy to use and looks good, and may encourage you to move. 

Find an online workout

The best piece of equipment for your apartment fitness habit is your television, tablet, or computer. YouTube and other video sites are full of apartment-friendly workouts that can be done in little space, with no equipment, and do not include jumping. Best of all, you get the motivation of an in-person class and don’t need to worry about putting together a workout set yourself.  Set up a playlist of your favorites and turn one on for a training session that will leave you sweating without annoying your neighbors.  

Claim a space

Committing to a home workout routine is only successful if you know when and where it will happen. While you do need a dedicated space for working out, you don’t need to take over an entire room in your apartment. Any spot with a few feet of clear floor space can serve as a home gym. Perhaps you can store small fitness equipment in front of the coffee table and workout in front of the television. Or, pop your hand weights under the bed and pull them out for a bedside sweat session. Guest rooms, home office, or infrequently-used dining spaces will also work. And, if you are dedicating space to something that is never actually used, like a dining table or guest bed, it may be time to re-prioritize for your health.   

Living in a compact space or worries over workout noise should never mean giving up on your fitness routine. With a little creativity and the right tools, it is possible to work out effectively in your apartment.

About Russell Jack

Russell Jack is a yoga and mindfulness teacher from Southland, New Zealand. He specializes in Vinyasa Yoga, Qigong, and guided meditations, helping clients achieve harmony of body, mind, and soul. Russell is passionate about animal rights protection, regularly volunteering with the World Animal Protection Organization and donating to protect endangered species in New Zealand.