Workouts You Can Do at Home to Avoid Gym Fees

Don't waste money on gym memberships. Try these exercises that work even in the tiniest apartments.

Father and sons doing push-ups in living room
Getty Images
By Niccole Schreck

More than two-thirds of Americans with a gym membership never use them, according to Club Industry, a fitness industry source. With the average cost of a gym membership at a whopping $55 per month, that's a lot of money going down the drain.

Exercising at home is much more affordable than paying for a gym membership, but finding the space in a small rental can be difficult. Fortunately, you don't need a state-of-the-art home gym to get active. Here's how you can workout at home -- even in the smallest of apartments:

Choose a multifunctional space. You may not have room for a permanent home gym in your small apartment, but you probably have an area that can be transformed with relative ease. Pick a space in your apartment where the furniture is light and easy to move. For example, a lightweight coffee table and chair set can be lifted and moved to the perimeter of the room during your exercise time, but you don't want to have to move your sofa every time you exercise. Moving large or heavy items everyday will begin to feel tedious, and you're less likely to do your workout. When you're not working out in your multifunctional space, you can easily store equipment like weights in an ottoman.

Buy the right equipment. Large pieces of equipment like a treadmill or a cable machine are great for home gyms, but they take up far too much space in a small apartment. Instead, purchase a few small pieces such as a yoga mat, resistance bands, hand weights and a stability ball.
These pieces offer a lot of exercise options at a very low cost. If you tend to get bored during your workouts, try a unique workout piece like a Bodyblade, which improves muscle tone and core strength in short amount of time. Plus, it can easily be stored in a corner, under the bed or behind the couch.

While there are many small space-friendly pieces of strength training equipment on the market, cardio equipment can be a bit more challenging. You should probably avoid jumping rope in your apartment, unless you don't mind risking the safety of your porcelain tea pot collection or your relationship with your downstairs neighbor. If you have a spare corner, a small stationary bike is a perfect solution. However, if you don't have the space or a stationary bike is out of your price range, try something as simple as a hula hoop. This childhood favorite will get your heart rate up and tone your midsection. As you progress, you can upgrade to a weighted hula hoop for a more challenging workout.

If you're really on a tight budget and can't afford to invest in any new fitness equipment, get creative and use what you already have in your apartment. Try using one of your dining table chairs to do triceps dips, or do bicep curls with laundry detergent bottles.

Take advantage of free workouts. You have the space and equipment, but where do you start? You can easily find free workouts on websites including YouTube and Pinterest, but if you're looking for more guidance, join a free fitness website such as TheDailyHiit or FitnessBlender. In addition to exercises and full-length workouts, you'll find fitness programs and healthy recipes, as well as a community of people to help you stay motivated. Other free workout sites include and

Get an online personal trainer. If you're having trouble working out on your own, consider hiring an online personal trainer. Sites including FitOrbit offer virtual personal training for as little as $50 a month, which is much more affordable than in-person personal training at your local gym.

Niccole Schreck is the rental experience expert for, a free rental site that helps you find an affordable apartment and provides tips on how to move.

More from U.S. News

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Managing your Portfolio

Keeping your portfolio and financial life fit!

View Course »

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores matter -- learn how to improve your score.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

We were lucky enough to take a "one-time" offer when a new owner took over our local gym - $1000 lifetime. It may sit idle for the April - November months but it gets almost daily use during the winter when outdoor activities are nonexistant.
An added benefit is that the gym makes one actually get up and out of the house and, maybe, socialise with others as well.

January 28 2014 at 7:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

For years I paid monthly fees to gyms that I often didn't use. I then dropped the gym and bought a treadmill. When it broke it finally occurred to me I didn't need any large piece of expensive equipment or ongoing gym fees to get good workouts. I found many different types of exercise programs on reasonably priced DVDs. Walking programs, aerobics, yoga, pilates are all available. If you'd rather not purchase outright, there are plenty of varities of exercise programs on YouTube for free. For strength training there are simple body weight exercises requiring no equipment at all. Push ups for the upper body, leg squats and toe raises for the lower body. If the standard push up is too tough, there are modifications that you can do. Finally, you could purchase, again, very reasonably, a small dumbell set. I discovered that with proper planning a dumbell set can accomplish just about every strength exercise without the long bar of a complete barbell set. Everything I've mentioned takes up almost negligible storage space and can be done with a minimum of floor space. And none of these items will break your budget.

January 27 2014 at 8:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You can do every routine there is with a weight bench and set of weights, about $300.00 total investment. If you work the muscle groups instead of focusing on one type of muscle you can do your entire routine in minutes. Working muscle groups is safer too because it puts less strain on your joints. I've had enough gym training to qualify as a personal trainer myself. Before you begin any of this get checked by your doctor. Avoid over-doing it which can cause injury. You want to be a little sore the next day which tells you it's working. Take two aspirins if this bothers you. It wont happen in one day. Getting in shape takes time but the beauty of it is you get better and better. Most weight sets come with a suggested routing pamphlet which tells you how to work your muscle groups. Have fun.

January 17 2014 at 10:35 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply