7 Clever Ways to Use Everyday Household Items as Fitness Equipment

Yes, you can use that bottle of red to get your upper body sweat in.

By: Emily Freeman

If you’re normally a gym-rat or class-junkie, working out at home can be uninspiring, especially if you don’t have any equipment. However, hope is not lost for getting in a killer, super-effective workout from your living room. With a little creativity, you can easily turn everyday household items into fitness equipment. 

7 Ways to Use Household Items as Fitness Equipment

#1 For Arm Workouts Grab Wine Bottles, Canned Goods or a Heavy Book

Roughly three pounds each, wine bottles can be used to add a little resistance to shoulder presses, arm raises, biceps curls, and so forth. Since they’re lighter, increase your reps and/or sets to make sure you get to fatigue on the last two to three reps of each set. 

Also, make sure you grip tightly! Small hands? Hold on to the neck of the bottle for a sturdier grip. 

The average can is about 1.5 pounds, probably lighter than what you’re used to. But, when used with high reps, they’ll really help you feel the burn with exercises like upward rows, bent over flies, and give you a little extra resistance for your lower body exercises.

#2 For a Kettlebell Substitute Use a One Gallon Bottle

Nearly 10 pounds each, gallon water jugs, milk or laundry detergent, is perfect for kettlebell swings, turkish get-ups, windmills, or your other favorite kettlebell exercises. Though this may not be quite as heavy as what you’re used to, they mimic the same off-set center of gravity as a kettlebell, making them a good runner up. 

#3 Fill Up That Empty Backpack and Create a “Barbell”

Fill up a backpack with as many heavy items (books, sand, cans, sandbags) as possible until you get your desired weight. Add resistance to exercises you’d normally use a barbell for. 

Here are just a handful of ways to use a backpack as a “barbell.” 

  • Wear it on your back for back squats, lunges (to target your glutes more), Bulgarian split squats, and good mornings. 
  • Hold in in front of you for front squats and lunges (to target your quadriceps more). 
  • For chest press, lay on your back and grab the backpack with both hands on the outer edges. With elbows wide, press your arms straight up as you would a normal chest press. 
  • You can also use it for bent-over rows, biceps curls, shoulder presses, farmer’s walks, and squats to press.

#4 Use Chair, Coffee Table, or Ottoman as a Bench

Need somewhere to do your triceps dips, 45-degree push-ups, step-ups, v-ups, or glute bridges? Look no further than your living room furniture! A chair, coffee table, or ottoman makes the perfect replacement for a gym bench. 

#5 For Gliders Try Socks or Towels

Want to do gliding mountain climbers, plank tucks, plank pikes, alternating lunges, side lunges, or your other favorites? If you have hardwood floors, simply wearing a pair of socks is the perfect substitute for gliders.

If you’re on carpet or a stickier/uneven surface, it may be easier to substitute your gliders with pot holders or small hand towels. 

#6 Use Couch Cushions As Stability Pads

Couch cushions can be used to activate your stabilizing muscles during single-leg deadlifts, squats, or lunges. If you want to train your upper body while also working on your balance, you can stand on a cushion while you perform your arm raises, shoulder press, biceps curls, overhead triceps extensions.

#7 Try The Wall or Stairs to Amp it Up

Nothing makes your legs shake quite like wall sits. Are we right? Challenge yourself to hold a wall sit for one to two minutes or until your legs are shaking. Want to amp up the intensity? Put a book(s) or gallon jug on your lap.

If you have stairs in or outside your home, don’t let them go to waste! You can get in a killer cardio workout by sprinting up them or skipping every other step to really feel it in your booty. Make it harder by putting on your weighted backpack! 

Let’s Get Sweaty at Home! 

Don’t let all the hard work you put in at the gym or in live classes go to waste if you have to work out from home. These easy and effective exercise equipment swaps will help you stay on track with your fitness routine, and hopefully, help you have some fun and a couple of laughs during your home sweat seshes.