We’re supposed to get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity in a week — that’s about 20 minutes a day. If you don’t feel like getting ready and heading out to the gym, an easy solution is to work out at home. But what if you don’t have the space or the equipment? Fortunately, there are plenty of exercises you can do in an apartment to tone your muscles and get your heart rate up.
You can select exercises from the list below to suit what you want to work on and mix up your routine. As a bonus, many of the best home workouts to do in a small space don’t require any equipment unless you want to add an exercise mat or resistance.
Floor exercises may require a bit more space than others, but they’re still suitable for a small space. At most, you may need to move a coffee table to free up enough room to lay down. Spread out an exercise mat or just work out on the floor with these small space workouts:
Everyone’s familiar with this simple exercise, and it requires little space to do. Get to the floor and hold yourself up with your hands and the balls of your feet. Keep your body in a straight line and position your hands shoulder-width apart. Lower your body until your elbows bend at a 90-degree angle and come back up.
Pushups help build core and arm strength. If you’re working on building that strength, try to do as many pushups as you can in one set, even starting with a few at a time. You can also do a modified pushup where you support your body on your knees instead of the balls of your feet.
For a workout that focuses more on your core, try a plank. Planks are similar to pushups, but instead of holding yourself up on your hands, use your forearms. Either keep your forearms on the floor parallel to each other or clasp your hands together. Then squeeze your body into a tight, straight line. Keep your hips aligned with your body, not letting them sag.
Hold the position for a minute or as long as you can instead of lowering and raising yourself repeatedly as you would with a pushup. Slowly bring yourself down to the floor to rest for a bit, remembering to breathe, and hold another plank if you can.
3. Mountain Climbers
Go mountain climbing without the mountain in this exercise. If you have enough space to do a pushup or plank, you have enough room to do mountain climbers. Get into the pushup position with your feet hip-width apart. Bring one foot forward under you, pulling your knee up to your torso. Alternate which leg you bring up, returning your opposite foot to the floor or exercise mat.
For effective mountain climbers, keep your back flat and your body straight. Focus on good form rather than speed, but if you can keep your arms and body straight, feel free to pick up the pace for a cardio boost.
This simple exercise works your core. All you have to do is lay on your back, bend your knees and plant your feet on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest or place your hands at the back of your head. From there, bend up at your waist so your arms meet your knees, or go as far as you can. Focus on using the muscles in your stomach rather than your neck to pull yourself up.
The number of crunches you should do in a set or your total workout will vary. If you’re just starting, try to do three sets with 10 reps, or as many crunches as you can in a minute. Breathe as you go, and do your best to keep your feet firm on the ground. You can even have a workout buddy or roommate help by holding your feet as you do crunches.
Alternate this exercise with crunches while you’re in the same position. Lay on your back, bend your knees, put your hands behind your head then lift your feet. Pedal your legs as if you’re riding a bike or extend one leg straight out and keep the other bent, alternating back and forth. To bring your core into the workout, lift your torso and touch one elbow to the opposite knee as you bring it in.
As you would with crunches, do as many reps as you can in one set. You could also do bicycles for one minute, alternating between them and crunches to give your abdominal muscles and legs a slight break.
For exercises you can do without a lot of space, stand up! Standing exercises are simple, versatile and require little room to do, ideal for apartment dwellers who need a way to workout. Try some of the best workouts for small spaces with standing room:
6. High-Knee Sprints
You won’t actually sprint around with this exercise, just pick up your knees. Run or jog in place, lifting your knees to or above hip-height. Put your arms out with your palms down at the height you need to reach with your knees and try to hit your hands. You can also move your arms, bent at 90-degree angles, back and forth as you lift your knees. Do a 30-second set with a quick breather and repeat three to five times.
7. Jumping Jacks
Also known as star jumps, jumping jacks require enough room to stand and jump. Check if you have enough space around you to jump with your legs out to the sides and raise your arms above your head. Stand clear of walls or furniture as best as you can in your space, then do some jumping jacks. Do at least 10 in a set or go continuously for a minute.
Try to land lightly on the balls of your feet instead of flat or on your heels — any neighbors downstairs will appreciate your gentle landing. And if you don’t have a lot of room, try to keep your arms down instead of sweeping them to the sides and up in the air. You can also try jumping out with your feet and lifting your arms straight up and down from your sides as you jump.
8. Scissor Jumps
Scissor jumps are another type of cardio for small spaces. You’ll only need enough space to move your feet in front of and behind you, making them a good alternative to jumping jacks if you don’t have the room. Start in a staggered standing position with one foot in front of you and one behind. The further apart you have your feet, the more impact you’ll get. Jump up and switch your legs in midair, then repeat quickly for 30 seconds.
Move your arms as you jump with the arm opposite your front leg bent at the elbow and in front of you. Swing your arms back and forth for a bit of a cardio boost. For a higher-impact workout, jump in the air and land in a lunge with the knee of your back leg almost touching the ground. Spring up from that position, switch your leg positions and land in another lunge.
9. Lateral Shuffles
This side-to-side squat gets your blood pumping and works your legs. Start in a standing position with your feet a little more than hip-width apart. Bend your legs and lower your body, keeping your knees over your ankles, not past them. Bend your elbows and hold your hands together in front of your chest to help keep your balance. Step to the side with one leg, leaning into a squat. Return to the start position and do the same with the other leg.
Repeat these steps, lunging to the side and returning to your standing position. Go for a minute, then rest for about 20 seconds and repeat a few times. To stretch your legs and work your muscles more, hold each lunge for a couple of seconds before you return to the center.
10. Arm Workouts
Work those arms with a bit of standing weight training based on what part of your arms you want to tone. Grab hand weights in whatever size you have or can manage. Alternate between basic bicep curls, where you start with your arms down and bend up at the elbows, and overhead presses where you push your arms above your head. Add in sets of triceps kickbacks, bending forward at the hips with a flat back and straightening your arms back until they’re parallel with the floor.
Full gallon-sized water jugs, heavy canned goods, laundry detergent bottles and different household items work as stand-in weights if you don’t have any. Just make sure everything is sealed or closed tightly before swinging it around your apartment. If you don’t have two of those items on hand, do workouts without the weights. Use your body and focus on squeezing and using certain muscles as you move.
As long as you have a blank wall, you can try these exercises. You’ll need enough room near the wall to either stand or lay down, depending on which small space workouts you choose. Set up your workout area and try these exercises:
11. Wall Squats
Wall squats benefit your legs and your core, ideal for those looking for toning exercises to do in a small space. Start by putting your back on the wall, as flat as you can. Slide down and bend your knees slightly. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor or a bit higher if it’s as far as you can go. Hold the squat as long as you’re able to, or for at least 10 seconds. Repeat a wall squat three to five more times with a couple of seconds of rest in between.
12. Wall Sprints
Use your wall to get some cardio in small spaces. For these sprints, stand arm-length away from the wall. Put your hands on the wall at shoulder-height and lean in at a 45-degree angle. Make sure you can raise your bent leg without hitting anything. Then bring one knee to your chest and alternate quickly, bringing your other knee up so you’re running in place.
Go as fast or as slow as you need for your wall sprints, aiming for 20 alternating reps. Take a 10-second break, then get back to it, and try for 10 sets to get your heart pumping.
13. Wall Planks
For this exercise, you’ll get in the pushup or plank position on the floor, facing away from the wall. Place your feet on the wall, about a foot off the floor or lower if you need — the higher your feet, the harder the challenge. Hold the position for as long as you can or about a minute for a plank, then carefully lower yourself and take a breather. Do as many planks as you’d like.
If you have trouble holding the pose or want more movement, tuck a leg up to your torso. Bring that foot back and bend your other leg up to your chest. Do five reps of alternating your legs, take several seconds to breathe and go for two additional sets. Make sure you do this small space exercise with a flat, sturdy surface. Wear clean shoes or go barefoot to avoid damaging your wall or slipping.
14. Wall Pushups
Challenge yourself and get more work for your core with sets of wall pushups. Get in the same position you would for wall planks, but lower and raise yourself at your arms as you would for a pushup. Press your feet into the wall as you do your pushups to keep yourself steady. Try for five, take a breather and repeat two times.
As you would for wall planks, remember to wear clean shoes and use a sturdy surface. If you have trouble with wall pushups, move your feet lower, try standard pushups instead or try the next exercise.
15. Standing Wall Pushups
This modified pushup works your chest muscles and arms. Stand and face the wall, arm-length away with your feet spread apart slightly. Put your hands flat on the wall straight out and shoulder-width apart. Then all you have to do is bend your arms to lean in, hold for a second and extend yourself back to your original position.
Standing wall pushups might feel simple, but if you move slowly and focus on using your arm and chest muscles, you’ll feel it working. Hold your lean for longer than a second if you want a bit more burn in your arms.
Get the Perfect Exercise Space in a New Home
Home workouts get you moving without any need to head to the gym. Before you try the best workouts for small spaces, you need a place to call home. We’d be happy to help you explore your options with Triple Crown Corporation. Our rental communities throughout Central Pennsylvania create the perfect place for you to live, unwind and workout. Many of our communities feature on-site gyms, which are perfect for days when you want a bit more from your workout.
Browse our rental communities throughout Central Pennsylvania and contact us today for more information.