A new season has arrived, and with it, the anxiety of a return to possibly higher rates of Covid-19 infections. Combine that with regularly changing rules that vary from province to province, and you may not feel comfortable heading back to the gym just yet.
A home gym might seem like the perfect compromise, except traditional exercise equipment can be bulky and take up a lot of space. If you live in a smaller space, such as an apartment, or you share your home with others, dedicating a whole room to working out may not be realistic.
Instead, check out these space-saving and multipurpose workout machines that will give you a great workout without compromising on the look and flow of your home. We’ve selected awesome hardworking, multitasking equipment and slimline machines with a narrow footprint that slide or fold away when not in use.
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells ($499; bowflex.ca)
Get your pump on without having to renovate your spare room by investing in a set of SelectTech dumbbells from fitness experts Bowflex. With a quick turn of the dial, you can choose a weight from five to 52.5 pounds in increments of 2.5 pounds. They’re perfect for small spaces and replace a whole rack of weights, as well as offering the perfect solution for couples or family members who have different lifting needs.
Bowflex 840 SelectTech Kettlebell ($199; amazon.ca)
The same technology that makes Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells has been utilized in this clever adjustable kettlebell. Simply turn the dial and change the weight from 8 all the way up to 40 pounds. Replace up to six different size kettlebells with this space-saving design that can fit just about anywhere for easy storage.
Gaiam Restore Mini Band Kit, Set of 3 ($15.26; amazon.ca)
Resistance bands are possibly the smallest exercise equipment you can buy. No bigger than a thin scarf, they allow you to add resistance to your workout, stretch more deeply and isolate target muscles in the legs, hips and glutes. With this set, you’ll receive three levels of loop band resistance in light, medium and heavy.
Xerball Medicine Ball (starting at $36.69; spri.com)
Roll this ball away when not in use or easily stow in a closet or under your bed. When it’s time to work out, use it to add weight to squats and encourage core stability and joint integrity while improving your endurance. It’s available in a variety of weights from 2 to 25 pounds.
The DB Method The Basics ($289.94; thedbmethod.com)
This wildly popular machine beloved by celebrities like the Kardashians perfects the squat to properly target your glute muscles. Hold on to the handles and dip to maintain great form throughout the movement. It’s easy to collapse, store it in a closet or up against the wall, and there’s also an app to access a range of workouts. Upgrade from the basic machine to the deluxe package, which includes The DB Method machine, the dreammat, dreambands and other added extras. Your stronger buns will thank you!
Escape Fitness Multi Purpose All-in-1 Challenging Deck ($168.99; amazon.ca)
This multitasker has 16 different configurations and can be used as a step for aerobic workouts, a plyometric box, as well as a weight bench. The legs can be stowed independently, transforming it into a step with either a decline or an incline. It also has a storage compartment to keep your resistance bands or weights organized.
The Lit Strength Machine ($2,215; litmethod.com)
The Lit Strength Machine looks like a traditional rowing machine, but it’s so much more. Not only does it give you a great rowing workout for your core, back, arms, and shoulders, it’s also a resistance machine and a reformer for a full-body workout. Simply attach the power bands to target your muscles in a low-impact workout that gets results. To save space, the machine can be stored upright when not in use.
Gymax Folding Treadmill ($459.99; amazon.ca)
Walking or running on a treadmill is a great cardiovascular activity to raise your heart rate and increase your endurance. Unfortunately, treadmills typically take up a lot of space. This option is a foldable design that is easy to store and slides right under a couch or bed. Walk without the frame installed or quickly change it up to run up to 7.5 mph.
FitDesk Desk Exercise Bike ($379.99; amazon.ca)
Perfect for remote workers, this exercise bike makes your workday a workout. Replace your desk and instead cycle while you type. There’s a storage compartment for your tablet and the non-slip surface keeps your laptop safe while you exercise. The high velocity flywheel provides a quiet operation that won’t interrupt meetings.
Xiaomi WalkingPad A1 Pro Smart Under Desk Folding Treadmill ($417.95; amazon.ca)
This flat, low-profile treadmill slides under your standing desk to help you log your steps while you work. For storage, it can be folded in half to become even smaller, perfect for small apartment living. Complete with a remote control, you can easily change the speed at the touch of a button without breaking your concentration.
Gaiam Balance Ball Chairs ($114.82; amazon.ca)
Make your entire workday an opportunity to perfect your balance and improve your posture on this balance ball chair. Choose from seven different colours to coordinate with your home office decor. When the working day is done, you can remove the exercise ball to stretch out or complete a yoga routine.
FitDesk Under Desk Cycle ($189.99; amazon.ca)
This cycle slides under your desk and is barely visible while you work. It helps to avoid aches and pains in the legs and feet from sitting idle for too long. The foot shifter allows you to change the resistance setting without having to stop typing for maximum productivity.
Yoga and balance
SPRI 6 Balance Pods ($54.99; amazon.ca)
Use these tiny but mighty balance pods to improve your dynamic movement, stamina and speed. Arrange an obstacle course with the pods either facing up or down to challenge your muscles to a full-body workout and then stow them away, ready for next time.
Reversible Metallic Sun & Moon Yoga Mat ($44.26; gaiam.com)
All you need is a quality yoga mat like this one from Gaiam, which rolls up for easy storage, and you’ve got everything you need for a full-body workout. Use it for a yoga or pilates session or for strength moves and a comfortable place to lie for your post exercise meditation practice.
Sportneer Wooden Balance Board Wobble Exercise Platform ($29.99; amazon.ca)
Use this balancing board with a standing desk to engage your abs and challenge your balance skills. The non-skid surface provides good grip and helps to stabilize the movement. It can also be used for workouts with free weights or resistance bands and is a small piece of equipment that can easily be stored after your sweat session.
Apps and on-demand workouts
JRNY Digital Fitness Platform ($199.99/year; bowflex.ca)
The JRNY platform from Bowflex offers tailored workouts and on-demand classes with talented fitness professionals in conjunction with Bowflex machines like the treadmill, Max Trainer or Velocore bike. Or you can choose to stream shows from Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ to inspire you to push through one more mile.
FitOn App (Free; app.fitonapp.com)
Although you can upgrade to FitOn Pro for a cost of $125 per year for access to personalized meal plans, recipes and premium music, amazingly, the majority of content on FitOn is totally free. That includes workouts featuring dance, strength, cardio, circuits, pilates, kickboxing and more. They even have a collection of workouts specially designed for those who live in small spaces.
Freeletics App ($94.80/year; freeletics.com)
The Freeletics app is an AI-based coach that can adapt to your unique circumstances, including the size of your workout space, to design customized workouts. Mix cardio and strength moves in their hybrid workouts that fit easily into your busy life and be completed anywhere.