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How to Use Household Items as Exercise Equipment

man doing push ups while looking forward

No access to gym equipment? You can get in a full workout right in the comfort of your own home. And you don’t need to invest in fancy machines to get the job done. There are plenty of items in your house right now that can do double-duty as exercise equipment. You just have to get a little creative.

10 Household Items to Help You Get Fit

1. A one-gallon jug

One full gallon container of water or milk weighs about 8 pounds. The handles on the jug make it easy to grab, much in the same way as you’d grab a dumbbell. Use the jugs for bicep curls or any other exercise you would do at the gym with a dumbbell.

2. A bottle of laundry detergent

If 8 pounds is too heavy, grab a full 72-ounce bottle of laundry detergent and you’ve got a convenient 5-pound weight to do arm exercises. Hold one in each hand for overhead presses.

3. Canned food

If you’re new to lifting weights and can’t use something as heavy as a milk jug or detergent bottle, grab a couple of cans in the pantry and use them as light weights to do bicep curls, overhead presses and just about any other type of arm exercise you would do with lightweight dumbbells.

4. A duffel bag

You can fill the bag with as much weight as is comfortable but challenging to you and then lift the bag with both hands, with your arms extended toward the floor.

5. A heavy book

Find a heavy book (like a dictionary) and hold it in front of your body as you would a weight plate or medicine ball when doing oblique twists or sit-ups.

6. Couch cushions

This soft but squishy item is perfect for challenging your balance. Use it as you would a stability ball and do squats or a yoga tree pose on top of the cushion. Close your eyes to make it more challenging.

7. Stairs

Get your cardio in by walking or running up and down your stairs! You can also use the bottom stair for doing heel raises.

8. Chairs

There are a number of exercises you can do using a chair but one to try is a tricep dip. You can do this by placing your arms behind you and holding on to the edge of the chair with your legs out at a 90-degree angle in front of you. Then raise and lower your body using your arms.

9. The kitchen counter

Use the edge of the counter to grab onto as you do standing push-ups. To do this, stand with your feet several feet from the counter, keep your hands shoulder-width apart and lower your chest towards the counter while keeping your body in a straight line.

10. Paper plates

Place a plate under your front foot when doing lunges so you can slide your foot forwards and backwards instead of stepping into the pose. This move is more challenging than it seems.
Don’t forget—one of the best workouts you can get is actually just with your own body. As fun as it may be to convert household items to creative weightlifting opportunities, body weight exercises are sufficient all on their own. Try push-ups, jumping jackets, planks, squats, lunges, sit-ups, donkey kicks, and many others.

To make your own bodyweight work-out, choose 6-8 different moves from a list like this one, do 10 reps of each of your chosen exercises, and then repeat that circuit 1 or 2 more times.

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