| How To’s | Renter’s Tips

How to Make the Most of Your Building’s Gym II

Most Hollyburn rental apartment buildings come equipped with amenities, like resident gyms. These can inspire healthy living, since there’s no excuses if you don’t even have to go outside to work out. Not a gym person? Don’t worry! Integrated Fitness is back to help get you started.

In Part I of this two-part blog series we looked at how to use a rowing machine for strength-training work. But did you know that a treadmill can also be used for more than just walking and running?

Treadmill Exercises

Work Out in Your Apartment Building

Decline Push-ups on the Treadmill

Decline push-ups modify the traditional push-up to increase the emphasis on your biceps and shoulders, which can be one of the most visible ways to improve your upper body physique.

How to Guide:

  1. Assume regular push-up position
  2. Instead of resting your feet on the floor, put them on the treadmill
  3. Proceed with the regular push-up motion.

Tip: Push-ups are a great two-in-one exercise as they actively engage the core throughout the range of motion!

Check out this exercise in motion here.

Treadmill Mountain Climbers

Mountain Climbers work your back, core and shoulders, while also getting your heart rate up quickly. This simple movement is a secret power move that boosts both strength and cardio.

How to Guide:

  1. Begin in a push up position on the hands and toes, with hands resting on the end of the treadmill.
  2. Bring the right knee in towards the chest and run the knees in and out without touching your toes to the floor at the top.
  3. Continue alternating the feet as fast as you safely can for 1 to 2 minutes, or count 30-60 reps.

Check out this exercise in motion here.

Treadmill Walking Lunges

Walking lunges are a highly functional multi-joint exercise that everyone with sound knees should be doing! If your gym doesn’t have enough open space to lap back and forth, the treadmill can be used.

How to Guide:

  1. Set the treadmill speed to 0.5 to 1.0 mph
  2. Use the bars to hold on gently for stability, keeping your head up and posture erect.
  3. Slowly begin to walk, with each step, bend both knees until your back knee is slightly above the treadmill

Tip: Walking lunges (on a treadmill or not) are especially good for runners!

Check out this exercise in motion here.

Cable Exercises

Apartments for Rent with Building Gym

If you are lucky enough to have a cable machine in your building’s gym, there is no end to the creative and challenging exercises that you can do! Cable machines let you change the load from heavy to medium to light with nothing more than the switch of a push-pin. The additional ability to quickly adjust angles and grips makes the cable machine one of the most versatile pieces of gym equipment around. Another benefit of cables: if you are working out without a spotter, you can more safely push yourself to the maximum (more so than with the free weights)!

Here are our favourite cable exercises that offer the most “bang for your buck!”

Alternating Cable Lunge

How to Guide:

  1. Set the bar at chest level.
  2. Standing in the rack facing out, take the bar and extend your arms straight out in front of you.
  3. Brace your core (tighten, slightly exhale) step forward lean into the bar.
  4. Once you’ve connected firm foot placement, descend into the lunge.
  5. Slowly bring yourself back up without the arms bending and use your core to prevent yourself from being pushed back unintentionally as the weights come down.
  6. Return to standing position and repeat on the opposite leg. Start with 12 reps in total (6 per leg).

Check out this exercise in motion here.

Cable Wood Chop

Who’s ready to practice their wood chopping skills to get a strong back, arms and core?

How to Guide:

  1. Position a rope or straight bar on the cable machine above shoulder height.
  2. Hold onto the rope or bar with both hands, arms fully extended, with your upper body facing the machine and your lower body perpendicular.
  3. Pull on the cable and rotate through the torso, keeping a slight bend at the elbows.
  4. Bring your arms across your body at a downward angle.
  5. Keep your core strong and your hip position as steady as possible, slightly crunching through the lower end of the motion as you bring the rope or bar to the opposite side of your starting position and to thigh level.
  6. With control, reverse the motion back at an upward angle to your starting position. Arms continue to be fully extended.

Check out this exercise in motion here.

Reverse Rowing Lunge

How to Guide:

  1. Use any single-hand grip and stand facing the rack.
  2. Step backwards, get a firm foot placement and begin descending into the lunge.
  3. With the weight-bearing arm, pull through the shoulder and then the bicep, keeping your elbow close to your body.
  4. Allow the arm to begin extending before ascending out of the lunge and returning to your starting position.
  5. Repeat for 10 reps, then switch sides.

Tip: Your lunge end point should time to meet your row end point.

Check out this exercise in motion here.

Ball Exercises

Apartment Rentals With Building Gym

There’s usually a sad looking exercise ball in the corner of the gym just waiting to be used! Like cables, there are a multitude of creative exercises you can do with these bright and bouncy friends. Below are our favourite ball exercises that pack a punch for strength training!

Ball Hamstring Curl

It’s easy to forget about our hamstrings, but they play an important role in both pelvic and knee stability. And if they’re weak, it can set cause injuries such as an ACL tear, or lead to chronic lower back pain.

How to Guide:

  1. Lie flat on your back with your legs resting on the ball between the mid and lower calves. Keep your arms to your side to stabilize yourself.
  2. Slowly raise your hips off the mat, engaging the core to steady yourself and draw the legs in towards your chest, pulling the ball towards you.
  3. Keep your toes together, the ball should stop at the base of the foot before straightening the legs back out and returning the ball to the lower calf starting position.
  4. Keep the hips raised and repeat 6-8 times.


Deadbugs are a fun but challenging core strengthener. Like all core work, control is key in deadbugs.

How to Guide:

  1. Lay on your back on a mat with both knees and hands pressing and holding the ball above the core.
  2. Extend one leg out and down to the ground while at the same time extending the opposite arm backwards and down. The other knee and hand should be firmly pressed into the ball.
  3. Bring the extended leg and arm back to the start position and alternate with the opposite two.
  4. Repeat 8-12 times.

Ball Back Extension

Sometimes when we’re focusing on working the abs, we forget to work the opposing muscles in our lower back.

How to Guide:

  1. Lay down on top of the ball facing the floor. Position the ball so it supports your quads and pelvis, just below your stomach.
  2. With your arms crossed over your chest (or holding a plate as your back gets stronger), lift your upper body by engaging through the core and lower back.
  3. Lift your chest up and out.
  4. Lower yourself over the front of the ball and repeat the pull back motion for 8-10 reps.

Tip: The key to performing a good ball back extension is getting into the right position to start the move. Lean your feet against a wall for added stability!

Wall Exercises

fitness routine for building gym

Now, we’re really sure there are walls in your gym, but did you know they can be utilized in your workouts too? Find an equipment-free and signage-free stretch of wall and do 60 seconds of the following exercises, with a 30 second rest between each. This can be a great quick workout, or act as a nice warm-up.

Tip: These exercises are great for perfecting posture! So if you work in an office or sit for the majority of the day, we recommend working them into our fitness routine on the regular.

Wall Angels

Wall Angels are harder than they look…but they’re totally worth it ????

How to Guide:

  1. Start in a semi-squat position with the entire length of your spine, shoulders and back of your head touching the wall.
  2. Bend your arms up at the elbows so that you make a W with your arms, fingers pointing to the ceiling. This is your start position.
  3. Now, think of making a snow angel against the wall – move your arms up and down slowly and steadily, drawing your elbows into your sides and squeezing your shoulder blades down and together at the bottom of the move, and reaching with your fingertips towards the ceiling at the top of the move.
  4. The backs of your forearms, wrists and hands should be in contact with the wall throughout the entire exercise

Check out how to do this exercise here.

Band Wall Walks

This is a great exercise for rotator cuff strength and scapular stability, and in our opinion, just about everyone who owns a smartphone should be doing them!

How to Guide:

  1. Put a resistance band around both hands, looping your thumbs on the outside of the band. If you don’t own a resistance band, you could use a pair of tights, or anything else that is more than two feet long and has stretchy.
  2. Stand facing the wall with your forearms vertically against the wall, elbows just below shoulder height, arms parallel and palms facing each other.
  3. Keep your eyes on the wall straight in front of you, walk your forearms up the wall in tiny steps, one at a time.
  4. Stop when your elbows reach eye level, shrug your shoulders up and down, and walk them back down in tiny steps, pull your shoulder blades down and together at the bottom.

Check out how to do this exercise here.

Plyo Wall Push-Up with Claps

This exercise targets the chest, shoulders, arms, and core.

How to Guide:

  1. Stand facing the wall, approximately 3 to 4 feet away, with feet hip-width apart and arms parallel to the floor with your fingers spread wide.
  2. Fall forward, landing hands on the wall and bending your elbows to bring your face and chest close to the wall, in a standing push up position.
  3. Quickly push off the wall, come back to the standing and you clap your hands in front of your chest.
  4. Go right into your next push-up, falling towards the wall and pushing off quickly.
  5. This time, however, as you come back to upright, clap your hands behind your lower back.
  6. Repeat, alternating between front and back claps with each push-up.

Check out how to do this exercise here.

So, who’s ready to hit the gym?!

Brought to you by: Integrated Fitness

Did you know? Hollyburn is continuously developing relationships with corporate partners, like Integrated Fitness, to provide value-added services and discounts that are exclusive to residents. Check out all the deals here.

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