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College dorm room workouts: Four ways to stay in shape with limited space

When class is in session, it can be tough to get to the gym.
When class is in session, it can be tough to get to the gym.
Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

With classes, late night study sessions, and football games crowding college students' schedules, it's hard to find time to get into the gym to fight the mythical "Freshman 15."

In reality, the average college freshman only gains a few pounds over the course of a year, but it never hurts to get a few workouts in to look and feel your best for your never-ending first impressions.

To help students maintain healthy habits throughout college, the experts at Sport Chalet have compiled a list of exercises that can be done with compact gym equipment for a well-rounded workout - even in cramped living quarters!

Just in time for "Move-in Day 2014," read on to find dorm-friendly workout ideas and gear that can help keep you in shape this year!

Doorway workout accessory
Doorway workout accessory Perfect Fitness

Doorway workout accessory

Using a doorway workout accessory, you can build and strengthen your back and upper body muscles with pull-ups, chin-ups, and believe it or not, just hanging around. If you've ever been interested in trying a fitness DVD program like P90x, an accessory like this is a must for your total body transformation.

If you're still building upper body strength, you can use a desk chair or band to help you get your first pull-up. Also, some doorway accessories can be flipped and used for ab work, push-ups, sit-ups. dips, and more.

Resistance bands or tubes
Resistance bands or tubes GoFit

Resistance bands or tubes

If you have a set of weights at home, chances are you or your parents vetoed carrying them in your luggage or on your family road trip to college.

To get your pump on any time without taking up a lot of space or upsetting your neighbors living below you, give resistance tubes a try.

Some tubes let you use several levels of resistance simply by using different combinations of tube strengths. Don't let their small size fool you; resistance bands or tubes can give you a full body workout.

To improve your overall fitness, don't get caught up with one particular body part ("Arm day" and "Leg day" is so 2004); get creative and take on multi-joint exercises to get your whole body in shape.

Medicine ball
Medicine ball Century Vinyl

Medicine ball

Not only do they look fun, but a weighted medicine ball can be a great way to build your core and give you a deceptively great workout.

For an ab workout, lay on the floor face up with your knees bent and feet on the ground while holding the medicine ball above your head. With your arms locked out, curl forward to work on your core strength.

Better yet, for an ambitious cardio and strength workout that will never be too easy, take your ball outside and take on CrossFit's benchmark workout "Karen" - 150 wall balls for time (try and finish in under 10 minutes!).

Yoga mat
Yoga mat Zenga

Yoga mat

Doubling as a sleeping mat for a spontaneous camping trip with your dorm friends, pick up a yoga mat and find a routine that you can stick with to increase your balance, flexibility, and core strength.

Don't have time (or money) to make it to a class? Buy a yoga kit with a DVD and accessories so you can create your own practice in the comfort of your own room.