Living at home with family members can often mean limited space, especially when you want to start working out! Quite often the only space available to us is the room we sleep in – such as our bedroom! So can we really perform an effective workout in such a limited space?
The truth is yes, we can but only with certain factors included; one of the most important of which is the equipment we are using. The other thing we need to bear in mind is, is it safe? We need to have a bit of spacial awareness when we are lifting weights. If you have read the Lift At Home ‘about’ page you will be familiar with my own personal experiences of trying to lift weights in my room, which lets just say, could have ended very badly!
Lets start by looking at the most appropriate tools for the job. If we have limited space to work out in then we need to be careful about what weightlifting equipment we are using, we also have to take into consideration where this equipment will be stored when we are not using it. A bedroom, for example, tends to be pretty limited for space already; a bed, closet and drawers tend to take priority in these living quarters!
Typical weightlifting equipment consists of; dumbells, barbells, a stack of various weight plates (to attach to the aforementioned ‘bars’) and some kind of bench that you can perform your lifts on, typically barbell bench press, seated dumbbell bicep curls etc. You may also include multi gyms when you think of ‘typical’ weightlifting equipment.
A multigym can offer lots of options when performing your workouts; you can normally train; chest, back, shoulders, legs and arms all on one machine and not have to move any bars or weight plates around to accomplish a full workout, as they have adjustable weights built in. You simply push a pin into your desired weight or simply flick a switch.
This can be can be extremely convenient, both in saving time (goofing around with bars and plates) and also saving on space, everything you could ever need for your workout is located all in one place! However, multigyms are not small pieces of equipment, especially if you want an all singing, all dancing model, kitted out with most available functions.
Neither are they cheap, a fully equipped model will be a considerable investment. If you have the space then by all means this can be a great choice but for your average room in the house – in particular an average bedroom, this may be too much.
Barbells are a bit of a staple in the world of weightlifting, being used for popular lifts such as the benchpress, squat and deadlift. If asked many lifters would consider this to be their favourite piece of weightlifting equipment and that’s understandable; it’s effective, satisfying to use and you can do a lot with a barbell – although I wouldn’t advise trying to lift what this dude has on the bar!
The issue here however is space and using a barbell in a room with limited space is not easy, nor is it safe – trust me I’ve tried! First off, they’re long – an average length of 6 feet for most bars and a standard olympic barbell measures 7 feet long. They’re also a bit cumbersome in a confined area due to their weight; the latter weighing 45lbs.
Add to that the fact that you have to attach the appropriate sized weight plates to the bar for each of your lifts and it doesn’t make them particularly convenient. You’re also going to have to find space for the plates and be careful not to drop them, especially if your room is upstairs!!
Basically, using a barbell for an exercise such as the bench press is only recommendable in an area with plenty of space and with a spotter (someone to watch and help you reset the bar if required) so, better to save this piece of kit for the gym.
Dumbbells on the other hand are a lot more suitable for lifting weights in your bedroom and for training in a confined area. They’re small – an average set being about 14 inches long, so much more easily stored than a barbell. They’re also effective – infact there’s evidence to suggest that using two weights in each hand as opposed to a single bar across both is more beneficial to muscle development.
You can also perform pretty much all the same lifts with these that you can do with a barbell; benchpress, squats and even deadlifts can be achieved and executed effectively with a pair of dumbbells. The plates you will be attaching to your dumbbell handles are also going to be much smaller and more easily managed than the larger ones you attach to a barbell, meaning they will be easier to store in your room.
Pair a decent set of dumbbells with a bench and you’ll be unstoppable, you can get everything you need from these two basic and extremely affordable pieces of equipment and you wont be taking up much space doing it.
You just need to get your technique down, you need to know the most suitable and effective exercises you can perform with two dumbbells and a bench. After your workout you can simply collapse the bench and put the dumbbells away in the closet.
The bench doesn’t need to be anything special either, a simple fold-away one with no added bits of kits is more than sufficient.
So, there we go, keep it simple. Have the bare amount of equipment you need to get the job done and find out how to use that equipment effectively. Don’t fill your room with and waste your money on extra bits of kit that you don’t necessarily need. Keep it minimal and keep it tidy, it will be much easier, not to mention safer to perform your workouts if you don’t have kit laying around your feet.
Remember – you’re pushed for space, so use that space wisely. It does get better though and believe it or not there is a way that you can save EVEN MORE SPACE, a way that you can make your workouts even more time efficient and convenient!
Allow me to introduce – the adjustable dumbbell, an awesome invention that removes the hassle out of changing weight plates, making weight selection as simple as flicking a switch and of course, saving you lots of space because you don’t need to stack your plates up, or find somewhere to place a rack.
When it comes to home workouts, this is definitely one of the best investments you can make and as I keep mentioning here at Lift At Home, the more convenient and accessible you can make a workout, the more likely you are to make a habit of it!