The idea for this article came to me while I was on the set of eightWest chatting with Rachel. I was there recording a 5 minute segment about my online training programs and in conversation, Rachel told me how she liked to work out at home. She added she doesn’t have weights at home so she uses one of her kids’ toys. It’s a ball and it works just as well!
That creativity and convenience is something I try to share with my clients. While I design workout programs incorporating resistance bands and dumbbells, you can always get a great workout in without it! Whether you’re traveling or just don’t have the space for equipment, at-home workouts can be completed with equipment you have already around!
I’ve compiled a list of common household items to be used instead of weights, bands or exercise balls when those items are not available.
- Cans of Soup
- Exercises that require a light weight such as tricep kickbacks, shoulder raises, shoulder circles, King Kong Bicep Curls, etc. would be perfect with cans of soup. The cans fit in your hand and are convenient. Be sure the cans you select are okay to shake and approximately the same weight in each hand.
- Chair or Coffee Table
- Instead of an exercise ball, most exercises can either be done on the floor or with a stable chair! Step Ups? Step on a chair instead. Toe Taps? Tap the seat of a chair. Tricep Dips? Place your hands on the chair for elevation from the ground.
- Please be sure to use a stable chair!
- Basketball (or Other Sport Ball)
- A ball can replace any weighted ball exercise, any lunge/ squat twists, russian twists, push up on ball, or weighted ab exercise. Naturally the size of the ball may change your range of motion but you are using your core, arms and legs – so that’s a win!
- Using your own body to do the exercise and omitting a weight is extremely effective. Please be sure to watch your form but body weight exercises can be: push ups, squats, lunges, jumps of any kind, planks (and all plank variations), crunches, superman’s, etc. You can easily achieve a total body workout without equipment. If you aren’t feeling the burn, do more reps or add in a complex movement. A burpee, for example is a complex movement. You work your upper, lower, core and heart rate at the same time.
- Water Jug
- Anything with weight will add a challenge. Much like the previous examples, using a heavy water jug is a great way to add weight to an exercise. When using this method, please be sure to watch how you hold the water. Keep your wrists straight so not to hurt them!
- Like to read as much as me? You should have plenty of heavy books lying around that will create the perfect weight addition to squats, twists, raise, etc.
Do you have other ideas or objects you’ve used? I’d love to hear!
Working out at home is a great option to fit our busy lives. This can sometimes leave us wondering: what can I use instead?! I hope this list helps you.
Have a healthy, happy and successful day,
Emily Langlois, CPT