While living in a college dorm, it can be easy to get caught up in a blend of studying and socializing and neglect your fitness goals. Most colleges have gyms on campus. However, it’s super helpful to also keep basic fitness equipment in your room. It’ll come in handy on those days when you want to cram in a quick workout before class, or need a break from the books. Plus, having exercise tools on hand can prevent you from slipping into a workout rut.
Since dorms are usually cozy, it’s important to have equipment that’s easy to store and useful for a variety of workouts, says Aaptiv Trainer Michael Septh. “The goal is to have as few tools as possible to assist as many workouts and exercise routines that you can do within your room,” Septh explains. Keeping space, convenience, functionality, and a roommate who may not appreciate you turning your dorm into a fitness center in mind, Septh shared his four must-have pieces of fitness equipment that every college student should store in their room.
Spending hours hunched over a laptop may be good for your GPA, but it isn’t great for your back. Regularly using a foam roller not only improves your posture and helps loosen tight back muscles, but it helps with stress, too. “Kids are at desks all day sitting down for most of the time. So being able to get some soft tissue work done would be really beneficial for them,” Septh says.
Set of Superbands or Resistance Bands
When personal space is limited, you need to get creative with your workouts. Septh says that superbands or resistance bands are great for a plethora of workouts. Plus, since they’re easily attached to bed frames or door handles, you can use them virtually anywhere.
“There’s a lot of compound moves [that] you can do with resistance bands,” Septh says. “You can get a lot of different exercises in, whether that’s chest presses, rows, or overhead presses. You can even do abdominal work with the band. It covers a multitude of things.”
Set of Dumbbells
When you don’t have time to make it to the gym to use weight machines, dumbbells will get the job done. Septh says that you can create a lot of great external resistance with superbands. But, a moderate-to-heavy set of dumbbells will cover what bands can’t. “You can get a lot of your bigger compound movements done with the one set of dumbbells—like deadlifts, squats, and lunges—that you might not be able to perform with the superbands,” he says.
The weight of your dumbbells will depend on your fitness level. But Septh says that if you’ve been working out for a while and are comfortable lifting weights, a set anywhere between 40 to 60 pounds is good. For people who lift lighter weights, a set of 10- to 30-pound dumbbells will do the trick. The important thing is that you have a set that is relatively challenging. This way you can work on movements that require some external force.
Workout mats or yoga mats are useful for many exercises, whether it’s core work, yoga, stretching, or glute work. Plus, mats are easy to roll up and store in a closet or tuck neatly under your bed. “You can get a lot of your floor work done, whether that’s work from your backside or work out of your push-up position [on your mat],” Septh says.
Bonus Tool: Towel
If you have particularly bothersome neck issues, using a towel while doing mat work can help alleviate tension. Septh suggests propping a towel behind your neck while laying down so that your posture isn’t compromised.
“What I readily do with clients … is have them do core work from their back first,” Septh says. “With the towel, I roll it up and put it behind their neck so [that] their neck is supported and they’re able to focus on the integrity of the work that’s happening at their stomach and not from their neck.”
With these easy and affordable pieces of equipment, there’s no excuse to not get a sweat sesh in while away at college. Keeping a fitness routine helps maintain your physical health. Plus, it will also help with your mental health. This is incredibly important when you’re busy and stressed. The only thing that dorm exercise won’t help you with? Your roommate’s snoring.