10 Household Items You Can Use as Workout Equipment at Home

by Melody Bay
FITNESS  |  May 26, 2020
  • These items in your house can double up as exercise equipment
    1 / 11 These items in your house can double up as exercise equipment

    While no-equipment bodyweight exercises are good enough for solid workouts at home, there’s no harm adding some props or equipment to spice up your workout.

    Can’t get your hands on those hot-selling Decathlon home workout equipment? Turn to these common items in your house. You’ll save some dollars and storage space too!

    Photo: 123rf.com

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  • Use A Broom Or Pole As A Weight Bar
    2 / 11 Use A Broom Or Pole As A Weight Bar

    A broom, dry mop, or bamboo pole (the old-school kind you use to hang out laundry) can replace the weight bar you usually hold in the gym – though we would recommend a bamboo pole for even weight distribution. These can be held overhead when doing squats, or for mobility work by lifting it over your head, behind and down towards the glutes.

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  • Use A Bench Or Folding Chair For Elevated Support
    3 / 11 Use A Bench Or Folding Chair For Elevated Support

    No workout bench? No problem. Even a regular dining bench, folding chair or the sofa can be used as a workout bench for triceps dips or glute bridges. If using a chair, choose a sturdy one that isn’t too light (or it will slip out at the most inopportune moment and likely cause injuries) or set it against a corner for stability.

    (Also read: Best Tricep Exercises to Tone Your Arms)

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  • Use Fixed Items Around The Home To Ensure Good Form
    4 / 11 Use Fixed Items Around The Home To Ensure Good Form

    When we’re working out on our own without the eye of a trainer on us, it’s easy to just go through the moves without focusing on form. The good news is, you can use fixtures around the home to help. When doing burpees, for example, use the top of the doorframe as a gauge to ensure you’re reaching high enough during the jump. You don’t have to hit the top, but having it there as a mental marker will spur you to make the extra effort.

    Likewise, even the toilet bowl can be called into use. Close the lid, then stand with your back to the toilet and do your squats, lowering yourself as though you’re about to sit and making sure your glutes tap the lid before rising again.

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  • Use A Laundry Detergent Bottle Or Milk Jug As A Kettle Bell
    5 / 11 Use A Laundry Detergent Bottle Or Milk Jug As A Kettle Bell

    You’ll need something with a large handle that you can get a firm grip on. If your bottle is nearly empty, fill it up with water for extra weight – first decanting the contents, of course.

    A makeshift kettlebell can be used for several exercises: weighted lunges, overhead presses, pistol squats, you name it. You can also do kettlebell swings.

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  • Use A Laundry Basket Or Large Wok For Deadlifts
    6 / 11 Use A Laundry Basket Or Large Wok For Deadlifts

    A large sturdy item with handles, such as a laundry basket or large wok, can be used for deadlifts that work out your core and hamstrings. Fill these up with dense items, such as cans of food, for extra weight. Just be careful not to drop it back down with a clatter when you’re done!

    (Also read: Best Butt Exercises That Aren’t Squats)

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  • Use Canned Food As Small Weights
    7 / 11 Use Canned Food As Small Weights

    For smaller muscle groups, try using cans of food. They’ll ideally be tall and slim enough that you can wrap your hand around them comfortably. These can be used as hand weights to do light exercise such as bicep curls, overheard presses, and chest flyes.

    (Also read: 7 Reasons Why You Need a Pair of Dumbbells at Home)

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  • Use A Towel As A Mat Or Slider
    8 / 11 Use A Towel As A Mat Or Slider

    Need a soft surface to do yoga on? A large beach towel can double up as a mat if it’s big enough. It might be a tad slippery, so make sure your movements are careful and controlled.

    Folded up, a towel can also work as a slider for exercises like mountain climbers and knee tucks.

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  • Use A Cushion As A BOSU Ball
    9 / 11 Use A Cushion As A BOSU Ball

    A BOSU ball, which resembles a ball sliced in half, is typically used for balance and core workouts. In a pinch, a cushion can be used the same way: it can take your planks or spiderman crunches to the next level. Since it might be slippery, we’d advise adding friction underneath in the form of a yoga mat and keeping your movements slow – that means no jumping on and off it – to avoid having the cushion slip out from beneath you.

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  • Use A Bag Of Flour Or Rice For An Easy Weight Add-On
    10 / 11 Use A Bag Of Flour Or Rice For An Easy Weight Add-On

    For a convenient option that’s already in your kitchen, look no further than the humble sack of rice or flour. These are usually a few kilograms at least, so you can use them for extra weight when doing squats and lunges. Just be sure they’re sealed off properly first – you wouldn’t want to end up dumping flour on your head.

    (Also read: A Guide to Basic Home Workout Equipment – And Where to Find Them)

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  • Use A Ball For Extra Core Work
    11 / 11 Use A Ball For Extra Core Work

    Want to make your push-ups harder? Use a basketball instead of a flat floor. It’ll train your core muscles, but for safety, first get used to doing a plank with both hands on the ball. When you’re comfortable, try doing a few push-ups in that position.

    A light ball can also be used in a variety of ways. One favourite is to do donkey kicks – place the ball (ideally about the size of a large orange to a small pomegranate) behind your knee and grip it firmly by squeezing your thigh and calf together, then get onto all fours. Lift the leg holding the ball so that the thigh is parallel to the floor, with the toes pointing up, squeezing your glutes as you do so. Return to all fours and repeat. Keeping the ball in position will ensure that you’re engaging your core and glutes.

    A version of this article first appeared in Home & Decor / March 2020.
    Additional reporting: Valerie Toh
    Images: Pexels, Pixabay

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