These days, at-home workouts are the name of the game. But if you haven’t had time to stock up on a full-blown home gym, don’t worry—there are plenty of items you’ve already got lying around that can double as equipment. Without even realizing it, you’ve likely been collecting all sorts of free weights at the grocery store that can help add some oomph to your bodyweight exercises—there are plenty of household items to use as exercise equipment, as long as you use your imagination.
Really, anything that weighs anything and can fit in your hands can double as a dumbbell, so feel free to get creative. But to help spark some inspiration, we’ve put together a list of the common goods that have made their way into our workouts recently… and prevented us from panic-shopping for an entire home gym on Amazon Prime, or using our puppies and babies as free weights.
Household items to use instead of weights
Milk jugs or laundry detergent: A gallon of milk weighs approximately 8.5 pounds. Grab one in each hand, and get those bicep curls going, or treat it as a kettlebell and do some swings.
Water bottles and soup cans: An eight-ounce water bottle weighs approximately one-and-a-half pounds, so you can use one in each hand for some lighter weight arm workouts. Cans are slightly lighter, but can make great light weights, too. You can also use steel water bottles or cans under your hands during a plank for an added instability challenge.
A sack of flour or sugar: Take a break from bread baking and bring your sugar and flour into your “home gym,” where you can easily use it to get some weight lifting in.
A laundry basket: All that laundry that’s been piling up? Put it to good use by treating the basket as a heavy weight, and use it for dead lifts.
Household items to use instead of a resistance band
A towel: A towel can do more than just mop up your post workout sweat: Just pull it taught between your hands for a DIY resistance band.
A sweatshirt or t-shirt: In the same way you would use a towel, you can also use a T-shirt or sweatshirt pulled taught to create resistance for arm workouts.
A rope: If you’ve got a random rope lying around, now’s the time to actually put it to use. Use it as a loop, the same way you would a resistance band, and cycle through this abs and back workout.
Household items to be used instead of gliders
Towels: Another use for towels? Instability training. From a plank pose, place a towel underneath your feet, and slowly move your hips into the air while gliding your feet towards your hands for a (challenging!) plank-to-pike.
Paper plates: You can do the same thing with paper plates, and you’ll swear you were working with the real deal. Try this makeshift reformer workout for proof.
Thick, slippery socks: All you really need to glide around on a wood floor is some super slippery socks. Just make sure they’re thick enough to avoid splinters (or double up with two pairs).
Other household items to get creative with
Stairs: To get some cardio in while still staying indoors, run up and down the stairs in your home or apartment building. You’ll feel the burn in no time.
The wall: Remember those wall-sits you had to do in gym class back in the day? There’s never been a better time than now to bring them back into action. Challenge yourself to hold it for a minute, then work up for 30 more seconds every day.
Vacuum cleaner: Pile some weight on top of your hoover (by way of the weight subs listed above) and move it across the to get some at-home sled pushes in.
A backpack: To add some extra poundage to your bodyweight moves, fill a backpack with cans and bottles. Wear it for squats, lunges, pushups, or when you’re running up and down the stairs.
A broom: Need to work that back? A broom can help. Place it on top of two chairs to create an at-home pull-up bar. But, obviously, make sure it’s stable so you don’t hurt yourself.
If you do want to order some equipment online to compliment these household items to use as exercise equipment, here’s what we’d recommend. Plus, you can now get free online workouts from all of your favorite studios to make social isolation slightly more bearable.