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7 Ways to Work Out in a Small Space

Whether you’re traveling or just can’t make it to the gym, you don’t need much room to get in an effective workout.

There’s so much that can make sticking to your exercise routine tricky, like travel, bad weather, or staying late at work. But just because you opted to sit in a lodge on your family ski trip—or are stuck in your own home, thanks to a storm—doesn’t mean you can’t break a sweat. These super-effective workouts can be done anywhere, from pint-size apartments to teeny-tiny hotel rooms, and some of them need no more equipment than a chair.

For: Ballet lovers
Try: An at-home barre class
What you’ll need: A chair
If your goal is seriously toned legs and glutes, you’re in luck: More and more barre studios now offer on-demand online memberships, so you can pulse and squeeze anywhere, anytime. Think of it as meeting with a personal trainer from the comfort of your hotel room. Your burning thighs will thank you later. Try

For: Zen-seekers
Try: Yoga
What you’ll need: A mat
Hotel carpet isn't an ideal surface for yoga practice, but who wants to stuff a bulky rolled-up mat into their luggage? No need with the advent of portable (and foldable!) lightweight travel yoga mats. No spare suitcase space? Call your hotel before you arrive; many now keep mats in-house for guests to borrow. If you prefer a guided practice, YouTube channels like Strala Yoga and Interval Yoga offer a calming experience wherever you are.

For: The easily bored
What you’ll need: Exercise cards
Looking to mix it up? FitDeck exercise cards may look like a game, but some of the moves—hello, burpees—are seriously hard-core. Each of the 50 exercise cards contains illustrations and is geared toward all workout levels. Bonus: no equipment required.

For: Cardio lovers
Try: Skipping rope
What you’ll need: A jump rope
Yes, jumping rope is old-school. It’s also shockingly effective. A few minutes of rapid jumping or double-unders (in which the rope passes under your feet twice before you land) will get your heart beating out of your chest, and a 160-pound person can burn over 200 calories in just 15 minutes. Plus, a jump rope takes up less space in your closet than a pair of shoes.

For: The time-crunched
Try: HIIT workouts
What you’ll need: A chair and a wall
You already know that high-intensity intervals are super-effective. Try the American College of Sports Medicine’s time-saving interval workout, which offers maximum results in 12 exercises, and includes aerobic challenges, strengthening exercises, and core stability moves. The workout alternates between 30-second bursts of all-out exercise and 10-second periods of rest, and is over in just seven minutes (though you can repeat two or three times). Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re getting off easy, though. The short sweat session engages all your major muscle groups and provides a steady dose of discomfort.


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