Compact Apartment Home Gym: Weightlifting & Cardio

How can you build a gym in an apartment where you can both do weightlifting and cardio exercise? It’s possible if you pick the right equipment. Here’s what you need. 

To lift weights and do cardio exercise in an apartment, you need: An exercise bike, a set of adjustable dumbbells and a bench. A good upgrade if your space and budget allows it are a rowing machine and a set of fixed dumbbells. 

Keep reading to find the exact recommended equipment below. 

Compact Apartment Home Gym Setup

Having a complete home gym in your apartment that’s also small might seem impossible. However, there is a setup that is compact yet still allows you to do weightlifting, build some muscle and also do cardio exercise. And the best part is that you just need three pieces of equipment. Here’s what you need. 

1. Exercise Bike

The most compact way to get a good cardio workout in a small space is with a stationary exercise bike. An exercise bike is the smallest piece of cardio equipment except for maybe a jump rope. Exercise bikes are also low impact because of the circular motion. That means no impacts on your joints but also not on the floor which could bother the neighbors. 

A spin bike is the most compact and pretty affordable. An Assault bike (amazon link) is not a bad option if you’re looking for a full body workout. Recumbent bikes are good for low intensity, long duration cardio but they do take up more space. 

YOSUDA has a few spin bikes that are all sturdy and affordable. There aren’t many features but those aren’t really necessary. I would go for the one with magnetic resistance if possible. You can find that one here on Amazon.

A good alternative to the exercise bike is a rowing machine. They are long but thin so it’s often not that difficult to find a spot to use them. If you pick the right one, they can easily be stored upright against the wall so they barely take up any space when not in use. 

2. Adjustable Dumbbells

For the weightlifting, get a set of adjustable dumbbells. Adjustable dumbbells have their pros and cons but the smaller size far outweighs the cons for this purpose. 

A good set of adjustable dumbbells is easy to use, lasts a long time and takes up much less space than a set of fixed dumbbells. They also cost less which is a nice bonus. Powerblock dumbbells are not the prettiest but work well, are durable and expandable to heavier weights.

If you want something that looks more like a traditional dumbbell, check out the Bowflex ST552 (amazon) and NUOBELL (Amazon)

If you want a set of fixed dumbbells like in a commercial gym, click here to find the best complete sets

3. Adjustable Weightlifting Bench

The dumbbells get a lot more useful when combined with a weightlifting bench. Preferably an adjustable bench. Adjustable benches have a backrest you can set to different angles to make it easy to target different muscles. 

A bench makes it possible to change the plane of motion you work in. That means you can keep your body horizontal/at an angle and push or pull the weight. This allows you to train many more muscles than if you can only stand up. 

The Fitness Reality 1000 Super Max (great name), does everything you need it to while being cheap and foldable. It is adjustable and can handle up to 800 lbs. which should be enough for the majority of people. Click here to find it on Amazon

If you’re looking for something sturdier, check out the Flybird Adjustable Bench (Amazon). That one isn’t foldable so it will take up more space but it looks nicer, is finished better, is sturdier (up to 1100 lbs. load) and comes with nicer padding on the seat and backrest. 

Apartment Gym Accessories

In an apartment you often have limited space and there will be neighbors to keep in mind. For those reasons there are a few accessories that can help you. 

1. Flooring

Gym flooring is easily the most important accessory in any gym but especially for an apartment. A good, thick rubber mat on the floor will reduce the noise transfer dramatically. You will be able to work out much better and enjoy your gym stress free when you don’t get complaints from the neighbors. 

Gym flooring also helps to keep your gym easily clean and protects your floor and equipment.

You can read more about the types of gym flooring and what you need exactly by clicking here.

2. Pull up bar

While you can train your back with a dumbbell and bench. The pull up is just an amazing exercise for complete muscle development and functional strength. A pull up bar that fits in a doorway is cheap but does the trick. Those are also easily removable so they’re not in the way/an eyesore when not using them. You can find a cheap one that works here on Amazon.


Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to After working out in many different gyms for almost 20 years and helping people build their own home gyms, i've learned a few things i'd like to share with you.

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