Best Compact Home Gyms for Small Spaces

in 2021

Not that long ago, having a home gym was considered a luxury. It required a lot of space and a big investment.

That mindset changed when countless gyms and fitness centers shut down in 2020 due to COVID-19. Out of necessity, people realized you could get an amazing workout at home without expensive equipment and an entire spare bedroom.

Today, it’s becoming common knowledge that space and budget are nearly irrelevant when it comes to having a compact home gym that checks all the boxes. The pandemic increased competition and innovation to give us all effective, space-saving home gym options that we never imagined possible.

No matter what your goals and current fitness levels are, there is a compact home gym for you.

We'll show you our picks for the best compact home gym for those with limited space. Choosing the right type and size equipment can be confusing if you're new to home workouts. Plus, the multiple options available can be overwhelming. Which builds muscle and burns fat, and which are little more than gimmicks?

We'll start by going over our picks in detail, taking a close look at features, prices, and other benefits for each compact home gym. After you get a sense of what's out there we'll talk about how to get the most out of a home gym and how to choose one that will meet your unique goals.

X3 Bar product image

Price: $549 #

X3 Bar #

The X3 Bar , also called the X3 System, is the best compact home gym on our list. It comes with a 12-week workout program created by biomedical engineer Dr. John Jaquish. When it comes to the best compact home gyms, you want maximum gains in a minimal workout space.

The X3 Bar system outperforms other compact home gyms in all the areas that count most.

X3 Bar uses heavy-duty elastic bands and a 21.5-inch long steel bar which allows you to perform various exercises designed to increase muscle mass, strength, and bone density.

While researching bone density for his first invention, OsteoStrong, Dr. Jaquish realized there’s a sevenfold difference in strength between the body’s strongest and weakest ranges when performing weightlifting movements.

Max lifts are limited by an athlete’s strength in their weakest range. The same weight you struggle to get off the floor is the max weight you’re able to lift in your strongest, impact-ready position.

Dr. Jaquish’s engineer mind went to work on a solution that would protect joints in the weakest ranges of movement while maximizing power in the strongest ranges. The result was X3 Bar, a device that trains strength using variable resistance. Unlike traditional weight-lifting, with variable resistance, the weight changes as you move, mimicking the natural, variable power curve of the body and allowing you access to seven times greater strength.

John set out to invent home gym equipment to help people build muscle faster and easier than conventional free weights, fitness equipment, or resistance bands. The X3 Bar enables you to hit all your fitness goals no matter how much space you have to work with.

Doctor Jaquish doing bicep curls with X3 Bar

With X3, you train with greater
force
to trigger Greater Gains

What We Like #

    • Great for building both muscle and strength across all muscle groups
    • Easy-to-follow videos teach you how to use the system
    • The X3 12-week training program provides advanced workouts, diet and food prep tips, advice for better sleep, and more
    • Portable full-body workout at home or on the road
    • Resistance bands are provided for various fitness levels, with an additional X3 Elite Band for more intense training available
    • Allows for maximum resistance while protecting joints
    • No tools are required for assembly
    • Can easily be stored under a bed or in a drawer

What to Consider Before Buying #

    • X3 workouts are not easy. If you can’t commit to an intense, 10-minute muscle-building workout, then X3 is probably not the best choice.
    • You must follow directions. If you want to achieve the best results, you must follow the X3 12-Week Program.
    • X3 is a weight-free system. If you enjoy throwing iron plates around the garage, X3 is not the best choice.

Bowflex PR3000 product image

Price: $1,000 #

Bowflex PR3000 #

The PR3000 is a full-body home gym that stands out among its competition. You can do as many as 50 different exercises with the Bowflex PR3000.

One of the coolest features is the power rod resistance system which provides as little as 5 pounds and as much as 210 pounds of resistance. Both beginners and veterans can benefit from the wide range of resistance levels.

Instructional placards are a nice addition for beginners who are unsure about using the machine correctly. The hand grips and ankle cuffs make workouts more dynamic and varied.

The home gym comes with roller cushions that allow users to perform comfortable leg curls and extensions. The heavy-duty steel construction should last for years without issues.

What We Like #

    • Provides 50 different exercises
    • A good full-body workout
    • Heavy-duty steel construction
    • The Quick Change Power Rod system
    • Allows for variable resistance training

What to Consider Before Buying #

    • No upgrade options beyond 210 pounds of resistance
    • High price point
    • Not portable
    • Doesn’t store easily

Weider Ultimate Body Works product image

Price: $300 #

Weider Ultimate Body Works #

The Weider home gym does a great job without taking up much space.

The exercise bench can both expand and collapse and has a telescopic design to accommodate users of all heights. The machine comes with four different resistance bands, which provide an additional 50 pounds of resistance.

The Weider Ultimate Body Works is compact and storable. It’s a great home gym for those living in small apartments who want to maintain a clutter-free living space. You can easily slide it under your bed or hang it in a closet out of sight.

With this compact home gym, you can do seated chest press, squats, v-crunches, lateral pull-downs, and a lot more.

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Trusted by Professional
Athletes Worldwide

What We Like #

    • Durable construction
    • Foam cushion material
    • 50 pounds of additional resistance
    • Adjustable inclined training
    • Easy to assemble

What to Consider Before Buying #

    • Warranty period is extremely limited
    • The glide space is short
    • You’ll need help moving it after assembly
    • No accompanying exercise chart

Marcy Multifunction Steel Home Gym product image

Price: $600 #

Marcy Multifunction Steel Home Gym #

If you’re looking for a compact home gym with various attachment options, take a serious look at this home gym setup.

The machine comes with a 150-pound weight stack that provides suitable resistance for most beginners. The arms function can be used for both presses and butterfly exercises by simply switching a knob.

A lat bar can be pulled down to simulate pull-ups and other upper body workouts. The lower pulley provides a wide range of rowing workouts and even leg extension options. The heavy-duty 14-gauge steel construction ensures the machine will survive years of even the most demanding workouts.

For those looking to build their biceps, the preacher curl pad is a highlight feature for this home gym. It can be easily adjusted and used for hammer curls, barbell curls, and lower pulley exercises while seated.

What We Like #

    • Durable 14-gauge steel construction
    • 150 pounds of resistance plates
    • Preacher curl pads
    • Instructional workout chart
    • Easy to switch between exercises

What to Consider Before Buying #

    • Assembly can be a challenge
    • The seat doesn’t adjust
    • Weight stack can’t be upgraded
    • Tools for assembly not included

Body Boss 2.0 product image

Price: $180 #

Body Boss 2.0 #

This is a great portable compact home gym. This gym comes with no weights or steel construction yet delivers a solid full-body workout for most people.

The Body Boss 2.0 comes packaged with a variety of accessories. You’ll get a grip base and floor padding, a pull-up bar, resistance bands, a door anchor, straps, and handles.

The equipment is extremely lightweight and compact. Using just your body weight, you can perform hundreds of different exercises. Exercise difficulty can be adjusted by adding more resistance bands. The Body Boss 2.0 is one of the most portable home gym options on our list.

Man doing bicep curls in black and white

The Ultimate Solution for Maximizing
Muscle and Minimizing Body Fat

What We Like #

    • Highly portable
    • Lightweight and compact
    • Perform hundreds of exercises with just your body weight
    • Comes with workout guides

What to Consider Before Buying #

    • Additional bands required to increase resistance
    • Two separate carrying cases make portability awkward
    • Users complain the base could be more stable

Total Gym XLS product image

Price: $1099 #

Total Gym XLS #

The compact home gym by Total Gym comes with several features typically found in higher-priced gym equipment.

Total Gym XLS features a glide board and attachments designed to target a variety of muscle groups in your body. The wall chart gives both beginners and advanced users 35 different exercises to choose from.

Nylon strap handles combined with the pulley and cable system allow users to work on both cardio and strength training. The user-friendly machine requires no assembly and can be easily folded in half for convenient storage.

What We Like #

    • Good value for the price
    • Exercise wall chart
    • No assembly necessary
    • Easy storage

What to Consider Before Buying #

    • The pulley system may be too low for some exercises
    • The price point is high for some
    • The bottom round foot-plate isn’t too solid

Power Press Push Up Board product image

Price: $70 #

Power Press Push Up Board #

The Power Press Push Up Board allows for a surprising variety of exercises that strengthen both your upper and lower body. To help you get familiar with the workouts, you get access to a 10-week YouTube program that covers both upper and lower body exercises.

The assembly is quick and easy, thanks to the minimalist design of the board.

The defining feature of the push-up board is the hand grips, which can be arranged in a variety of angles. The board is also color-coded to help you easily identify where to place the hand grips to best work targeted muscle groups.

Dr. Jaquish chest press and X3 descriptive list

Why Is X3 More Powerful Than Weights?

  • More Resistance Where Your Body is Stronger
  • Less Risk of Injury Than Traditional Weights
  • Easier On the Joints, Harder on the Muscle

What We Like #

    • Functions as a full-body workout
    • Access to a 10-week exercise program
    • Easy assembly and storage
    • Non-slip hand grips
    • Color-coded angles for easy identification

What to Consider Before Buying #

    • The plastic construction puts durability into question
    • Not suited for advanced training
    • Targets a limited group of muscles

Gorilla Bow Portable Home Gym product image

Price: $200 #

Gorilla Bow Portable Home Gym #

Shaped like a bow, the Gorilla Bow is one of the most unique resistance band trainers available. The bow shape is designed to prevent you from “cheating” by using momentum to complete a rep. The bow weighs only 3 pounds yet can provide up to 120 pounds of tension.

The lightweight construction makes it easy to take it with you on the go, however, the 47" length can make it awkward to stow during travel. The resistance bands are adjustable, making it accessible for both beginners and more advanced users.

What We Like #

    • Lightweight
    • Includes 3 resistance bands
    • Safe to use
    • Easy out-of-sight home storage

What to Consider Before Buying #

    • No instruction guide for exercises is included
    • Hard to travel with
    • Bands don’t show tensile strength

Fusion Motion Portable Gym product image

Price: $140 #

Fusion Motion Portable Gym #

The Fusion Motion Portable Gym is one of the easiest compact home gyms to use. It comes with push-up handles, a bar, elastic bands, a wheel, and a door anchor so you can train every muscle in your body at home.

The resistance bands provide enough resistance for beginner and intermediate users, but may not challenge those who are stronger. The wheel option is great for toning abs and core muscles.

This compact home gym comes with an instructional guide with 200+ exercises. The exercises range in difficulty from beginner to advanced, covering all levels of experience.

X3 bar with bands

X3: All-In-One Home Gym

Free Workout Program

What We Like #

    • Comes with an exercise guide
    • Easy assembly and storage
    • Offers a total body workout
    • Solid steel construction
    • Highly ergonomic design

What to Consider Before Buying #

    • More expensive than similar home gyms
    • Limited resistance levels
    • The long term durability of the platform is questionable

OYO Personal Gym product image

Price: $150 #

OYO Personal Gym #

The OYO Personal Gym makes use of the same technology used by astronauts to stay fit while on the International Space Station, which makes it a top runner for compact home gyms.

The Spiraflex technology allows you to ditch the weight plates as it provides varying levels of resistance for beginners and seasoned users alike.

The compact home gym features DoubleFlex activation, which provides resistance to opposing muscle groups. It’s recommended to snap on FlexPacks in 5 and 10-pound increments. This simulates the experience of free weights, according to OYO.

The compact home gym allows users to work on a variety of muscle groups such as the back, chest, arms, core, legs, and abs.

The resistance cables are made of nylon-coated stainless steel, while the body of the equipment is made from heavy-duty polymer, which should ensure a long lifespan.

What We Like #

    • Well constructed
    • Easy to store and assemble
    • Highly portable
    • Ergonomic hand grips

What to Consider Before Buying #

    • Maximum 25-pound resistance is too low for most people
    • Some parts can slip during use
    • OYO exercises are challenging for beginners to learn

Bullworker Steel Bow product image

Price: $250 #

Bullworker Steel Bow #

The Bullworker Steel Bow is a versatile home gym that can sculpt muscles and burn fat. Bullworker says it can increase strength and engage muscle fibers up to 66% faster than traditional weights.

This compact home gym offers five different string resistances to choose from, each providing varying levels of challenge for beginners and experienced weightlifters. It can comfortably be used at home or in the office and is easy to travel with.

The Iso-motion design allows for full joint rotation while exercising. Bullworker says this helps strengthen, tone, and define muscles.

X3 bar with bands and descriptive list
  • Up to 600 lbs of Available Force
  • Full-Body Muscle-Building Workouts
  • Build Strength Faster

What We Like #

    • High versatility
    • Portability
    • Multiple resistance springs
    • Low impact training

What to Consider Before Buying #

    • Changing springs is difficult
    • The device is not necessarily one-size-fits-all

ICON Fitness Gold’s Gym XRS 50 product image

Price: $400 #

ICON Fitness Gold’s Gym XRS 50 #

The ICON is a fairly standard home gym that doesn’t stray too far from traditional design. If you prefer standard gym equipment at an affordable price point, the XRS 50 could be a good choice.

The high pulley works your back muscles, while the chest press and fly station works your upper body. The lat bar can be gripped in multiple ways to target different areas of your back.

The classic vinyl seats are comfortable and durable. This home gym is constructed from heavy-duty steel and made to last. The product comes in at 225 pounds, making it one of the least portable compact home gyms on our list.

What We Like #

    • Provides enough resistance for users at all levels
    • Durable steel construction
    • Comes with an exercise wall chart
    • Affordable total body home gym system

What to Consider Before Buying #

    • The setup takes time
    • Can’t be stored
    • Takes up more space than others on our list

Bodygym Portable Home Gym product image

Price: $120 #

Bodygym Portable Home Gym #

This simple resistance band is very lightweight, requires no installation, and is one of the most portable compact home gyms on our list.

The portable home gym takes every muscle group into account. It provides a pretty good all-in-one full-body workout for improving endurance, flexibility, and agility.

The compact home gym comes with instructional guides and DVDs to guide you through the workout program. The product also has a 30-day money-back satisfaction warranty.

Doctor Jaquish doing bicep curls with X3 Bar

With X3, you train with greater
force
to trigger Greater Gains

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee

What We Like #

    • Adjustable straps
    • Quick-adjust resistance
    • Workout guide and DVDs included
    • Highly portable design

What to Consider Before Buying #

    • Can feel a bit unstable
    • Construction is not solid
    • Not great for strength training

Bodyblade Classic Kit product image

Price: $100 #

Bodyblade Classic Kit #

The Bodyblade Classic was designed by a physical therapist with the intention of providing a smooth and variable-resistive workout. It’s supposed to automatically adjust to the fitness level of the user.

The Bodyblade is extremely lightweight and portable. It comes with an extensive instructional guide allowing you to work on a variety of muscle groups. As a “zero impact” trainer, it’s primarily used to improve balance, coordination, and flexibility.

What We Like #

    • Super portable
    • Lightweight
    • Great for regaining mobility
    • Adjusts to the needs of the user

What to Consider Before Buying #

    • Offers very little resistance
    • Not a good design for strength training
    • Price point is high for what you get

John Jaquish doing bicep curls outside with X3

Advantages of a Compact Home Gym #

The advantage of today’s compact home gyms is in the variety of choices available for all types of consumers. With more compact home gyms on the market every year, you can certainly find one that meets your goals. Whether your focus is on body-weight workouts, resistance-band workouts, or free weight workouts, you can find your own, space-saving home gym at an affordable price.

Compact home gyms make fitness accessible and attainable for everyone. There’s no longer a need to commit thousands of dollars and a large physical space to build an effective home gym. Affordable, space-saving home gyms have broken down barriers for those who can’t make it to the gym or just prefer working out at home.

When you make your workouts fun and repeatable, you’ll have success.

Weight stacks, cable and pulley systems, and free weights have long been the go-to for most gym-goers. But they’ve never been easy to incorporate into your home environment. Resistance band training is not only space-saving but offers superior muscle-building benefits in the comfort of your own home.

John with X3 athletes

Choosing the Right Compact Home Gym #

The best compact home gym is the one that suits your exercise goals and budget best.

Most compact home gyms are relatively inexpensive, with many brands offering monthly payment plans that are much lower than what you would pay for a gym membership.

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10 Minutes is All You Need
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Some of the best compact gyms can be tucked into the trunk of your car, brought on a plane as a carry-on, or thrown into your backpack and taken to the park for an outdoor workout. There are many possibilities when it comes to compact house gyms that are also portable.

The key is determining if you want one that includes muscle-building exercises. The best compact home gym systems are designed for a whole-body workout using resistance bands. You don’t need a personal trainer, bench press, pulley systems, or a squat rack for massive gains in your own home.

John demonstrating three exercises with X3

The Best Compact Home Gym #

The X3 Bar Elite came in at the top of our list for overall best portable home gyms because it gives both the novice and strength training enthusiast the tools they need to build strength and lose weight at home or on the road.

The X3 Bar is the most advanced form of variable resistance training available. Traditional weights overload your joints and underload your muscles. The human body is seven times stronger at full extension in impact-ready positions compared to joint-compromised starting positions. Variable resistance maximizes this potential by offering greater resistance in the body’s strongest range.

X3 helps you:

    • Reduce the risk of injury compared to traditional weights
    • Lift heavy loads which increase in power as you do
    • Protect both joints and tendons
    • Recruit more muscle fibers for greater gains than weightlifting
X3 bar with carrying case and logo

All-In-One
Home Gym

What Comes with the X3 Bar System? #

The Steel Bar

The 21.5-inch steel bar features machined alloy steel. It’s designed to withstand over 600 pounds worth of force. Each side of the bar has ball bearings with a hook attached that allows the bar to rotate so the band’s orientation remains consistent, and the grip stays secure. In addition, the ball bearing feature ensures the bands never get twisted or kinked during a set.

The Resistance Bands

The quality and resistance level of the bands is one of the biggest things that sets the X3 Bar apart from other compact home gyms that use resistance bands. X3 comes with four resistance bands. The heavy-duty resistance bands are designed to provide greater resistance and last longer than bands you may have seen in the past.

Each resistance band is made specifically for the X3 system and features layered latex for superior strength. The four included resistance bands come in the following resistance ranges:

    • Super lightweight: 10 – 50+ pounds as a single loop, 100 pounds doubled over
    • Lightweight: 25 – 80+ pounds as a single loop, 160 pounds doubled over
    • Middleweight: 50 – 120+ pounds as a single loop, 240 pounds doubled over
    • Heavyweight: 60 – 150+ pounds as a single loop, 300 pounds doubled over

The X3 Elite resistance band is sold separately. It provides 110–300 pounds of resistance as a single, closed-loop and up to 600 pounds when doubled over.

The Ground Plate

When resistance bands are stronger and more powerful, anchoring them by standing on them becomes increasingly difficult. They dig into your feet and put an enormous amount of pressure on ankle joints. Not to mention, it’s unsafe; one slip and a band comes snapping back at you. The X3 system solves this common problem by providing a stabilizing ground plate.

The high-density polyethylene surface has a notched-out area on the bottom designed to keep the band in place. Using the ground plate makes any exercise safer and more comfortable, which also makes it more effective.

The ground plate is designed to withstand over 600 pounds of force, allowing it to keep up with the heavy-duty resistance bands.

The Exercises

A complimentary 12-week online training program helps you get the most out of every X3 workout.

At first, each week consists of a push day and a pull day, each performed twice per week for a total of 4 workouts. After completing week 4, users move to a 6-day workout schedule.

Each easy-to-follow workout consists of just four exercises. Users perform just one set per exercise. However, before you think it sounds easy, that one set is performed to failure. When you can no longer do the complete movement, you continue doing partial reps until you absolutely cannot move the bar.

This training method is designed with precision to maximize the recruitment of muscle fiber and trigger the perfect hormonal environment for muscle growth and fat burning. This is why with X3, you’ll see results sooner than you would with any other strength training method.

Push Day Exercises Include:

    • Chest Press
    • Tricep Press
    • Overhead Press
    • Front Squats

Push Day Exercises Include:

    • Deadlift
    • Bent Row
    • Bicep Curl
    • Calf Raise

Variation Exercises Include:

    • Pec Crossover
    • Split Squat

The online program also includes nutrition tips to help you lose weight and gain muscle. The tips vary from week to week and are designed to be progressive. Dr. Jaquish emphasizes eliminating sugar and increasing protein for the greatest changes to body composition.

See the X3 Bar System #

Dr. Jaquish doing bicep curls with X3 bar

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