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Home Gym Apartment Equipment That Won't PISS OFF YOUR LANDLORD! Personal Trainer Tokyo Titan

Building a budget home gym in your apartment but not sure what to buy? In this article, I go back over the list of training equipment I reviewed and recommended for home gyms and refine that list for an apartment so you know the best equipment to buy that won't piss of your landlord!


  • Introduction

  • Flooring

  • Bench

  • Weights

  • Cable Exercises

  • Pull-up Bar

  • Additional Equipment


Over the last six months, I reviewed all the training equipment I’ve purchased over the years to build this tiny home gym in a small house in the middle of Tokyo. In these reviews, I told you which products to buy, which products to consider, and which products to avoid when building your own home gym.

But I am lucky enough that even though I live in Tokyo, I live in a house and I own that house. The majority of people living in Tokyo live in apartments, and usually those apartments are rented. Could you imagine your landlord’s face when they found out you bolted a pull up bar into the wall?

In this article, we're going to revisit the list of products I reviewed and we're going to refine that list for apartments so that even if you live in a tiny apartment, you can build the ultimate home gym.


One of the first products we reviewed was these gym floor mats. Check out the full review in the video below.

Yes, these mats are expensive, but unless you're okay with damaging your floor, they are a necessary evil. If you live in an apartment, especially a rented one, I would argue that these mats are even more essential. They will protect the floor from impacts and reduce the sound generated by any impacts, the anti-slip bumps underneath stop the mats from moving around underneath you, especially when joined together with these links, and the mats also provide a sturdy surface to train on.

Some of you are probably considering using something like a mattress to train on. Do not do that. A mattress will cushion impacts to the floor, but because it's not a solid surface, it disperses the force. Not only does this prevent you from lifting as much weight, making your training less effective, but it also puts you at a higher risk of injury, even more so because it's extremely difficult to balance on a mattress. Plus, the mattress might stop some of the damage, but with a large enough impact, some of that force will still go through the mattress and damage the floor.

But even though I recommend buying these mats for both a house and an apartment, you won't need to buy as many for an apartment. Six mats is all you need to buy. This is just enough to cover the area around a bench. Which brings us to the next item on our list.


This is a great bench. Check out the video below for the full review.

This bench is sturdy, very comfortable, and can be set to several different angles, even a decline. And when you're done training or need more space, just stand the bench up vertically, ideally leaning against something else so that it doesn't fall over in an earthquake. Yes, for those of us living in Tokyo, that is something that happens frequently and which needs to be considered when designing your home gym.

Of course, you are going to need some weights to use with this bench.


This is where my recommendations for houses and apartments start to differ. In a house, you'll probably want to have a rack, bar and plates to do some really effective barbell training. In an apartment, that's just not possible, even with a quarter rack like mine, which can be adjusted to fit in narrow spaces and even under low ceilings. The problem is the weight.

In an apartment, unless you live on the ground floor, there’ll be a room underneath your training room. This space below the floor makes the floor less resistant to heavy weight, so even just storing heavy plates creates a risk of the floor collapsing. That is terrifying. Obviously, a rack, bar and plates are out of the question, but I still do recommend using power blocks. Watch the video below for the full review.

In terms of cost, power blocks are one of the more expensive home gym purchases, but they also have the most value. Just swap the pin position and now that four kilogram block is 40 kilograms. Power blocks allow you to save space while still allowing you to do very effective freeweight training, which has been scientifically proven to be the most effective for building muscle. And it's actually cheaper to buy a pair of power blocks than it is to buy a pair of dumbbells at each of the same weight increments.

Cable Exercises

Obviously, without plates, there's no point buying this cable pulley system for an apartment. But that doesn't mean you can't do cable exercises. Combining a set of resistance bands with an anchor and handles allows you to replicate any cable exercise for a fraction of the price. Here are videos to the full reviews of both of these products.

For maximum muscle growth, it's best to provide additional types of stimulus besides just free weight training, and using bands with an anchor and cables is going to be the best way to do this in an apartment. They're cheap, compact and have an extremely low risk of causing injury or damage.

Pull-up Bar

Another piece of non-freeweight equipment that is going to be really effective for building muscle is a pull up bar. Obviously, in a rented apartment, you can't bolt a pull up bar into the wall. Although strictly speaking, I guess you could, but that is going to be one angry landlord. Instead, I recommend buying a freestanding pull up bar. Some of them even come with resistance band attachments, which might be worth considering.

Keep in mind I have never purchased or used any of these products, so I cannot guarantee their quality or how good they are. But if I lived in a rented apartment, this is what I would buy.

Additional Equipment

Other additional equipment I recommend for a home gym in an apartment is an ab wheel roller and a foam roller. Here are videos for the full reviews of these products.

Granted, both of these products only do one thing, but they are cheap, compact, and really good at what they do. Ab wheel rolls are one of the most effective ab exercises, and foam rollers, which are often called the “Poor man’s massage,” are really good at loosening up tight muscles and speeding up muscle recovery. Both of these products make great additions to home gyms, especially in an apartment.

Tokyo Titan Provides Effective Personal Training, Fully Customized for Each Client

I am Tokyo Titan, an International Sports Science Association certified bodybuilding specialist fitness trainer and nutritionist. By utilizing advanced bodybuilding techniques, together, we will create your dream body. I provide fitness and dieting coaching at my private gym located in Ota-ku, Tokyo, just 4 minutes walk from Omori-machi Station on the Keikyu Line, and also online. The online sessions allow effective training, even with the busiest of schedules.

I am a native English speaker and am bilingual in Japanese, and can provide lessons in either English or Japanese. Lessons can also be designed to help English learners build up their English skills while training as a more efficient way to learn English. Please inquire for more details.


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