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You love to work out every chance you get.
But, your tiny abode doesn’t leave much room for stretching – let alone squeezing an entire home gym.
Well, good news: These 5 best compact home gyms are specially designed to fit small apartments like yours. #ItsLiftingTime
The Best Compact Home Gym, my POV
If I had to choose just one home gym to fit into my tiny apartment, I’d pick the Body Boss Home Gym 2.0 in a heartbeat.
The unit revolutionizes resistance training as it sports an efficient design that swaps kettlebells for resistance bands and handles for dumbbells.
Thanks to its other add-ons (door anchor, pull-up bar), it can also help you train different parts of your body, such as your back without using any extra equipment.
And the best part?
It requires no skills to assemble and next to zero time to fold and store.
Other names on my list are:
- Wieder Ultimate Body Works
- Bowflex X-Treme Home Gym
- Total Gym 1400 Deluxe Home Equipment
- Marcy Multi-Function Steel Home Gym MWM-988
What to Look for in the Best Compact Home Gym
Types of Compact Home Gym
Fun fact, but compact home gyms come in all shapes and sizes.
After all, there’s no one correct way to minimize a machine’s footprint without reducing its functionality.
That said, you’ll find three different types of compact multis, that range anywhere from the traditional to the extreme.
Conventional home gyms usually sport the typical pulley system.
Some models also feature a removable bench or folding rail, which helps reduce its footprint even more.
Modern home gyms, on the other hand, often take more space as they feature sliding seats or rails.
This way, they enable you to use your body weight as a means of resistance.
Most of the time, they are foldable, so despite their bulky-ish size, you can tuck them away pretty easily.
Another design that is also worth mentioning is the so-called “Gym in a Box.”
Even though they are a breeze to move around and store, they are certainly more limiting than the other two types as they are the smallest in size.
Another thing you should keep in mind when shopping for the best compact home gym is the goals you want to achieve with the specific gym equipment.
If your goal is to build muscle mass and grow strong, then you need to look for something sturdy and durable that could accommodate a set of dumbbells or a squat rack in the future.
Compact models that work your entire body are also a reliable option.
However, if your goal is to tone your muscles or maintain your current strength, then stick to models with a basic pulley system, which is more than you’ll ever need.
Everyone knows that the resistance of a multi depends significantly on the goals you want to achieve.
But, goals aside, you should note that there are four types of resistance in compact home gyms, and those include power rods, a classic weight stack, Olympic plates, and your body’s weight.
But, let’s see what each type brings to the table.
First, we have power rods.
These tools are basically composite rods that bend as you pull.
The trait screams Bowflex at this point, but more and more companies embrace the type as it’s super simple and effective.
Many units also opt for the classic formation, which is the weight stack.
It’s convenient, it’s easy to use, and it gets the job done.
Then, there are those units that allow you to stack up your own Olympic plates.
This is perfect for those who want to build some serious muscle as it enables you to go as high as you wish.
The only problem with this type of resistance is that you have to buy your own plates, which can easily add up.
And last (but not least), we have the Total Gym-style machines that let your body do all the work.
The only thing you have to do in this case is to adjust the machine’s angle, so the steeper the incline, the more the resistance.
Compared to normal-sized multis, compact home gyms are often a steal.
And that makes sense as they’re usually smaller than the commercial models and come with fewer, high-end features.
That said, don’t expect them to cost a fortune (even though prices still range among most models), but don’t expect them to feel like the machines you use at the gym.
I’m not saying this to discourage you from buying one, but I just want you to be realistic with your expectations.
The 5 Best Compact Home Gyms, Reviewed
Wieder Ultimate Body Works
So, before I started looking for multis to match my apartment’s small size, my idea of the best compact home gym was a lot like this Wieder model, which is narrow and foldable.
The machine features a pulley system, which means it relies solely on your bodyweight to get the job done.
Before you start dubbing it “weak,” note that it comes with a set of bands which could add 50lbs of added resistance to your total weight.
The device also comes with seven different incline settings, a feat that allows you to target all muscle groups, from shoulders and arms to back and legs.
The frame is also made of durable steel tubing, which is synonymous with durability.
But, what I like the most about this model is the slide-away technology which helps to fold the thing in no time, and store it wherever you want, from under the bed to inside the closet.
Body Boss Home Gym 2.0
I get it!
This compact home gym may look like a weak, somewhat twisted gimmick, but trust me, it takes the whole “Gym in a Box” concept to a whole new level.
Designed to simulate the heavy-duty machines that you use at the gym (think the squat rack and the Smith machine), the Home Gym 2.0 is the world’s first portable gym.
Due to its compact design, you can store it anywhere, as it takes almost zero space. The tool consists of:
- A foldable, non-slip base;
- A collapsible, padded pull-up bar;
- Handles that simulate dumbbells;
- Wrist/ankle straps;
- A door anchor for doing chest flies and tricep extensions and;
- A set of bands that provide you with 30lbs of extra resistance.
So, you have everything you need to work both your lower and upper body, and even improve your cardio with a few boxing moves (if you feel like it).
Your only task is to shorten or lengthen the straps based on the desired difficulty.
And if you think it may not be a good fit for you because you’re too tall, think again because it can accommodate guys as tall as 6’6”.
The one thing I found to be a drawback on this model is the stability of the base as it doesn’t always feel sturdy.
But, I guess that’s to be expected because it’s not attached to the floor.
Bowflex X-Treme Home Gym
This model can easily fold and be tucked away in a corner.
First off, the home gym features four different pulley positions (in the form of power rods), which allow you to adjust the resistance of each workout.
And speaking of strength, the machine boasts a total of 210lbs resistance, which is just enough to complement a casual exercise routine at home.
Thanks to its design, it can also focus on your chest, traps, shoulders, legs, arms, back, and core in one go.
So, talk about getting your money’s worth!
The seat also comes with flat and incline adjustments, which means you can also squeeze some rowing into the mix.
That’s helpful for those of you who don’t have any aerobic equipment at home.
What I didn’t like, though, is the limited warranty on behalf of the company.
The frame is covered for one year while the rods for five.
Total Gym 1400 Deluxe Home Equipment
As the name implies, this compact home gym is specially designed to strengthen and tone major muscle groups at the same time.
In fact, the manufacturer claims that the machine can train your entire body in 20 minutes tops.
I actually noticed that it could accommodate more than 30-40 exercises, including bicep curls, chest press, and lat pull-downs.
Like the Weider model from above, this one boasts a sliding bench that uses your body’s weight to add resistance to the cable and pulley system.
It also comes with a DVD and an exercise chart that can guide you through the first couple of weeks when you still learn your way around the machine.
The model also folds, making storage a breeze.
And yes, I know, it looks small.
But, the weight limit on this thing is 295lbs.
So, don’t worry if you’re a big guy; it can still do the trick.
Oh, and one last thing: It doesn’t come with attached resistance bands, so you may need to buy a set of dumbbells in the future. #NotCool
Marcy Multi-Function Steel Home Gym MWM-988
OK, this doesn’t exactly scream compact, but if you can afford the little extra space, it’s well worth the shot.
You see, unlike the other items on this list, this medium-sized unit features both a weight stack and a pulley system.
That means you can perform almost every exercise you do at the gym, from chest presses to lat pull-downs.
The home gym is also made of heavy-duty 14-gauge steel tube frame and is coated with vinyl, which guarantees a long-lasting result.
The unit also boasts a padded leg developer with an attached foot wrap, both of which allow you to work your lower body as comfortably as possible.
Its pivot point is also designed to align the knee joints when in motion, preventing any kind of leg injury during use.
It also has an adjustable preacher pad, which is perfect for minimizing the strain on your arm and shoulder joints when you’re doing exercises like bicep curls.
The only thing I found to be a problem on this unit is that it is hard to get a full range of motion during pull-downs as the pull-up bar isn’t as high as it should be.
The editor’s choice
A person can be driven by a number of reasons to look for a compact home gym. The obvious reasons would be space availability and the ability to workout on your on time and pace.
But then, obviously, when choosing one of these units, a lot of factors should come into consideration, goals, resistance, budgeting.
My top recomendation for the best compact home gym for someone looking to make or maintain a little level of gains is the Body Boss Home Gym 2.0.
How would you describe the best compact home gym?
Let me know in the comments below!