Living Room Workouts for Even the Tiniest of Apartments

Living Room Workouts

Getty/Design by Cristina Cianci

At this point, you’re no stranger to exercising outside the gym. But it can be difficult to figure out how to get a solid workout in a space that’s designed for everything but exercising: your home. That’s why we talked to trainers to gather their favorite living room workouts that you can try no matter how small your space is, many of them with no equipment necessary.

Though you might be accustomed to a spacious gym or even the great outdoors as your typical workout setting, tiny spaces can actually be the perfect place to get your sweat on. “Having a tighter space can actually be a positive,” says Robin Palmer, a [solidcore] coach on Equinox+. “It reinforces control and strong, focused movement patterns.”

So if you’re ready to make your living room double as a home gym, look no further. Below, browse 11 trainer-approved workouts that you can try in even cramped living quarters. Who knows, maybe you’ll never feel the need to go back to the gym again.

Meet the Expert

01 of 11

Furniture Burner

If you’re working out in your living room, why not make the most of it? This strength-building workout from Alo Moves instructor Naya Rappaport transforms your living room furniture into gym equipment to take your drills up a notch.

  • 10 Bulgarian split squats on each side, with your foot on an ottoman, couch, or chair
  • 10 step-ups on each side. Step onto your ottoman, couch, chair, or a bench. Step back down to the ground and repeat on the other side.
  • 10 burpees with a pouf, beanbag chair, or large pillow. Start in an elevated pushup position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the pouf. Do a pushup, then jump forward to a squat position. Grab the pouf and press it overhead as you stand up. Then return to your starting position and repeat.
  • Repeat this circuit three times or until you feel tired.
02 of 11

Full-Body Circuits

If you’re ready to work up a full-body sweat, Rumble instructor Dale Santiago’s sculpting circuits will challenge all your muscles. Stick to bodyweight only, or grab your favorite pair of dumbbells to take your workout to the next level. Either way, you’ll be feeling the burn before long.

Start by warming up your core with this plank series.

  • 30-second world’s greatest stretch
  • 30-second side plank (per side)
  • 1-minute forearm plank
  • Repeat two times

Finish as many rounds as possible (AMRAPs) of the below exercises in five minutes to rev your muscles throughout your body.

  • 10 sumo squats
  • 10 sumo deadlifts
  • 10 gorilla rows
  • 10 pushups

Grab a light or medium set of dumbbells if you have them for this upper-body block.

  • 30 seconds of front raises
  • 30 seconds of flys
  • 30 seconds of renegade rows
  • 30 seconds of biceps curls
  • 30 seconds triceps kickbacks
  • Repeat two times

Finish strong with this cardio-heavy lower-body circuit that’ll get your heart pumping.

  • 45 seconds of swings
  • 30 seconds of speed squats
  • Repeat four times.
03 of 11

Bodyweight HIIT

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great bang for your workout buck, says Palmer. Alternate bursts of maximum-effort exercise with short periods of rest to drive up your heart rate and challenge your muscles in no time at all. The best part? You don’t need equipment or a lot of space to make it happen. Kick off this workout with three to five minutes of warm-up exercises like jumping jacks, planks, or air squats to prime your muscles for the hard work to come.

Do these exercises for 40 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat two times.

  • Lateral lunge to knee drive (with an optional hop at the top)
  • Diamond pushups
  • Hamstring walkouts

Do these exercises for 30 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat two times.

  • Side plank on each side
  • Toe reaches. Lie on your back and crunch upward like you’re trying to grab your toes.

Do these exercises for 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest. Repeat two times.

  • Crab reaches
  • Single-leg glute bridge on each side
  • Alternating reverse lunge with a twist

Do these exercises for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat eight times.

  • High to low planks
  • Squat to calf raise (with an optional jump at the top)
04 of 11

Resistance Band HIIT

If you loved Palmer’s bodyweight HIIT circuits, dust off your resistance bands and dive into this band-focused sculpting session that won’t take up much more space than the bands themselves. Start with another three- to five-minute warm-up to get your body ready to resistance train.

Do these exercises for 40 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat two times. 

  • Banded triceps kickback on each side
  • Banded step-out on each side
  • Plank jacks

Do these exercises for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat eight times.

  • Tuck ups
  • Pushups with a shoulder tap

Do these exercises for 30 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat two times.

  • Runner's lunge to knee drive on each side
  • Banded clamshell on each side

Do these exercises for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat eight times. 

05 of 11

Sofa Sculpt

Loved using your couch as gym equipment? Your living room furniture can do double-duty again with this workout from trainer Brooke Burke.

  • 10–15 twisty kickbacks. Place your palms and one knee on the floor (or the sofa). Twist the lifted knee toward your opposite elbow to crunch. Then kick back the leg to a full leg extension.
  • 10–15 sofa step-ups.
  • 10–15 triceps dips with your hands on your sofa or a chair.
  • Repeat three times or until you’re tired.
06 of 11

10 to 1 Workout

If counting is your jam, then you’ll love this short and sweet (and sweaty) workout from Lindsay Vettleson, certified personal trainer and coach at One Drop. On your first round, you’ll do 10 burpees and one sit-up. The next round, you’ll do nine burpees and two sit-ups, and so on until you finish at one burpee and 10 sit-ups. Not feeling burpees today? No problem. Swap out either or both exercises for something else to keep this workout fresh and fun.

07 of 11

Shadowboxing

Burn off some stress in between Zoom meetings with this 20-minute, no-equipment shadowboxing session from Everlast trainer Jessica Joseph. You’ll do six two-minute rounds of boxing combos with one minute of active recovery in between, then polish it off with two minutes of speed rounds. Though boxing workouts pack a punch (literally), if you can extend your arm forward without hitting the next wall, then you have all the space you need.

  • Two minutes of jab, cross; 1-minute forearm plank
  • Two minutes of jab, jab, cross; 1 minute of sit-ups
  • Two minutes of cross, hook, cross; 1 minute of jump lunges
  • Two minutes of cross, hook, cross, double jab; 1 minute of burpees
  • Two minutes of front-hand uppercut, rear-hand uppercut, front-hand hook, cross; 1 minute of pushups
  • Two minutes of rear-hand uppercut, front-hand hook, cross, jab, jab; 1 minute of squats
  • Finisher: 20 seconds of jabs and crosses as fast as possible, then 20 seconds of rest. Repeat three times.
08 of 11

Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM)

EMOMs are a Crossfit favorite for a reason: They’re simple but tough. Vettleson says to do the following exercises at the start of each minute, and then rest for the remainder of the minute. You can choose the number of rounds that works for you: For instance, do the exercises five times through for a 20-minute sweat session.

  • Minute 1: 35 jumping jacks
  • Minute 2: 20 pulsing squats
  • Minute 3: 40 bicycle crunches
  • Minute 4: 20 lunges
09 of 11

Tabata

Tabata is a form of HIIT that’s traditionally 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest for a total of four minutes. It’s short but intense, says Vettleson, because you’re working your absolute hardest during those 20-second intervals. Do the below exercises to Tabata timing, four times through. Added bonus: You won’t need more space than a yoga mat to soak in all the benefits of this training style.

  • Mountain climbers
  • Triceps dips
  • Skaters
  • Plank
10 of 11

AMRAPs

Don’t be fooled by this workout’s simple as-many-rounds-as-possible formula: It’s challenging. Pick a time that works for you (Vettleson suggests 16 minutes, though you can go for longer or shorter depending on how much time you have), and do as many rounds of the below exercises in that time frame.

  • 60 air jump ropes
  • 15 pushups
  • 30 side lunges
  • 20 supermans
11 of 11

Mix-n-Match Foundational Strength Workout

Pick one exercise from each of the below categories, then do 10-12 repetitions of each exercise. Julia Dugas, certified personal trainer and coach at One Drop, recommends going through the list two or three times, with three minutes of rest in between rounds. You can stick with the same exercises each round or switch it up.

  • Squat: bodyweight squat, sumo squat, weighted squats
  • Hinge: deadlift with a stack of books, good mornings, hip thrusts
  • Push: pushups, kneeling pushups, elevated pushups (like with your hands on the kitchen table)
  • Pull: bent-over row (hold laundry detergent or soup cans), bodyweight rowing motion
  • Lunge: bodyweight walking lunges, bodyweight reverse lunges, step-ups
  • Core: Russian twists, sit-ups, leg lifts

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