5 Apartment-Friendly Pieces of Exercise Equipment

Part of the Whole9/Whole30 lifestyle is finding out what best serves our health—and getting rid of what keeps us from being your best. It starts with diet, of course, but it extends out to every aspect of your life and makes you want to do everything you can to feel good!

One thing that we learned early on is that eating right improved our energy levels, which toppled one of the biggest excuses we had for not exercising every day (I’m too tired!). With this newfound energy came the realization that we lacked the funds for a gym membership and the space for a home gym.

We asked around and did a lot (a lot!!) of legwork to find solutions that fit our budget and our tiny little bungalow. 


Few pieces of exercise equipment are as versatile, compact and sturdy as the trusty old kettlebell. Dating back to the 18th century, they’ve been used for strength and endurance training for centuries, so you know they’re effective! They fit easily under a side table or in the closet, so they take up virtually no space in your home.

The kettlebell offering the best bang for your buck is the Empower 3-in-1 Adjustable Kettlebell. It comes with three removable weights, which can slowly increase the weight from five to twelve pounds, which is great for beginners. It also has a comfortable grip and comes with an instructional DVD to get you started.

Another great option is the standard, no-fuss-no-muss CAP Barbell Cast Iron Kettlebell, a unibody model with no bells or whistles. It comes in weights ranging from 10 to 80 pounds and is virtually indestructible.

Foldable Exercise Bike

One of my favorite pieces of at-home workout equipment is my foldable exercise bike. It fits nicely in a large closet or behind the bedroom door, and it unfolds super fast for quick workouts. hundreds of models exist, but a couple are consistently rated well for quality and durability.

The Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike uses high torque, magnetic resistance to pump up your workout, as well as a heart rate monitor to reach your optimal level of performance. It folds down to half size, and can be wheeled beneath your bed (if it’s on risers). Users report that it is very easy to assemble and it is very quiet during use. The company also makes a recumbent model for those of us with back issues—the Exerpeutic 400XL. It folds up to almost exactly the same size as the upright model, although it does not include the heart rate monitor.

Weighted Hoop

Another favorite for many in our Whole9/Whole30 lifestyle kula is the weighted hoop, a grownup version of the beloved hula-hoop. They are compact and easy to store (heck, I hang mine on my office wall!), all while providing a killer ab workout.

One fantastic options for beginners and intermediate hoopists alike is the Empower Cardio Core Weighted Hoop. It comes with weighted and unweighted sections, which can be switched out to create three different workout intensities—which can burn up to 420 calories an hour! It comes with a workout DVD to help you ease into the practice.

Another awesome choice is the Dynamis Fat Burning Weighted Hula Hoop. It offers the same benefits as other weighted hoops, but it’s also collapsible so you can take it with you when you travel and workout in your hotel room.

Stair Stepper

Most stair stepper machines are big, bulky things that are too huge and expensive to have a place in most people’s homes. Not so with the compact mini-steppers available nowadays. They’re made for small spaces and for folks on a budget.

One of the most popular and highly rated models is the Sunny Health & Fitness Twister Stepper. Believe me when I say it really does give you a crazy-good workout. It offers adjustable step height, a resistance band to workout your arms, and an LCD screen to tell you how long you’ve been working out and how many calories you’ve burned.

Another small but mighty stair stepper is the Xiser Commercial Mini Stairmaster, which is more of a splurge than the budget-minded option above. Users report that its cast aluminum alloy construction (which is sourced and built in the USA) is amazingly sturdy and durable, which makes it worth the investment.

Doorway Pull-Up/Chin-Up Bar

Give your upper body some love with a doorway pull-up or chin-up bar. They are perhaps the most compact and easily stowed pieces of home workout equipment on the market.

Perhaps the best selling option is the ProSource Multi-Grip Chin-Up/Pull-Up Bar. Its steel construction is extremely heavy duty, and its padded grips make it comfortable to use. It’s multifunctional—featuring twelve grips that allow you to do wide, close-grip and hammer exercises, as well as sit ups, push-ups and leg raises!

Sunny Health & Fitness Doorway Chin-Up Bar sets up quickly and is more economical than the ProSource, but it is also less versatile. It’s better for someone who only wants to do pull-ups, and who wants an even smaller, more discreet piece of equipment. It fits doorframe from 24.5 to 36 inches across, so it’ll work in most home doorways.



One of my absolute favorite pieces of home exercise equipment is the peddler exerciser. It’s tiny and fits nicely under my desk, which is where I use it most of the time. I can peddle away while I’m working, which keeps my blood flowing nicely and keeps me from getting that heavy, stagnant feeling we all get toward the end of a long work day.

The model I use is the Drive Medical Pedal Exerciser, which is a best seller on Amazon. It’s not meant for hardcore workouts, just to increase your general level of activity during the day. You use it sitting down, and it transports easily from room to room, so you can get a little more movement into your day while watching a movie or reading your iPad.

Another highly rated model is the Pedal Exerciser by Vive, which features a digital LCD screen and adjustable resistance. It’s a little bulkier than the Drive Medical Pedal Exerciser, but is still small enough to fit in even the most modestly sized apartment.


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It Starts With 30 is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by The Whole30. It exists as a compendium of supporting information intended for informational purposes only.

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