Skip to main content

Improvising Your Home Workouts With Common Household Objects

With the COVID-19 pandemic still wrecking havoc throughout the world, and with most commercial gyms and fitness facilities operating with severe capacity limitations and restrictions, more and more people are now turning to in-home workouts to meet their fitness needs.

In fact, home workouts have become so popular in recent times that many stores carrying home-based fitness equipment have reported soaring sales, with even some having sold-out many of their most popular home fitness items! 

For those of us who could not get our hands on any commercial home fitness equipment - either due to the current insane demand, or because of one's own budgetary constraints - fret not. 

In this post, we're going to look at various common household objects found right within our homes that could easily be used to substitute traditional fitness tools, or even used as standalone fitness props by themselves.

Without further ado, the following are some great alternatives and substitutes that you may consider using for your home training needs without spending a cent:

A. Dining Chair


Image of a dining chair used for exercise

A dining-room chair is a fantastic piece of furniture that can easily serve as a workout bench for key bodyweight exercises such as bench dips, incline push-ups, knee tucks, supported squats, chair planks etc. Just make sure that you choose one that is solid and sturdy enough to support your body weight.

B. Laundry Baskets

Image of a laundry basket used for exercise
Your humble laundry basket - when fully-filled with dirty clothes or other improvised items to weigh it down - make a great fitness tool too! You can perform traditional strength-and-conditioning exercises such as: sumo deadlifts, bent-over rows, loaded carries or even improvised sled pushes and prowler drags with it!

C. Bath Towel

Image of a bath towel used for exercising

Practically everyone has a bath towel at home. When folded and placed on a smooth flooring, you can easily use it as an exercise glider for movements such as: plank slides, hamstring curls, reverse lunges etc. On top of it, you can also roll it up length-wise, anchor it around a solid piece of furniture or home structure and use it for towel rows, arm curls, chest flyes and other bodyweight suspension exercises.

D. Soup Cans / Mineral Water Bottles

Image of mineral water bottles used in exercise

Even if you don't have a single dumbbell at home, you can always count on using common household items such as: water bottles, canned goods, cylindrical food containers etc. as dumbbell replacements for your strength and resistance training needs. When used as improvised dumbbells, these items allow you to basically do any and every exercise that a dumbbell can do - from overhead presses to upright rows, from bicep curls to lateral raises.

E. Backpacks

Image of a backpack used in exercises

An empty backpack may not weigh much, but when filled with heavy items such as a pile of books or soup cans, can be easily transformed into a formidable workout tool! Just like a weighted vest, a filled backpack can be used as an external resistance to exercises such as: squats, traveling lunges, step-ups, chin-ups and even bear crawls.

F. Steps / Stairs

Image of a home stairway that can be used for workouts

Any flight of steps or stairs right within your home compound can be used for your cardio workouts as well as for a variety of conditioning work. From stair climbs to stair lunges, from stair hops to stair crawls, stair exercises provide plenty of options and variety to one's workout routine even if you can no longer venture outdoors for your long runs or bike rides due to the ongoing pandemic or simply because of bad weather.

G. Detergent Bottles / Milk Jugs

Image of a milk jug used for exercising

Single-handle containers such as detergent bottles and milk jugs are excellent for replicating the moves of a commercial-grade kettlebell. With them, you can virtually perform all types of kettlebell exercises and moves such as: swings, cleans, snatches, presses and rows - all within the confines of your home!

H. Walls

Image of a blank wall that can be used for home workouts.

Who says walls have no practical use in an exercise program? Being one of the most accessible items at home, any unobstructed wall in the home can be used for tried-and-tested movements such as: wall push-ups, wall-sits, wall bridges, wall hand-stands and even wall reverse crawls. Game for a wall workout, anyone?

I. Couch


Image of a home couch used for exercising.

Rather than laze on the couch, binge endlessly on Netflix and see your waistline grow, learn to use the couch constructively as an exercise tool to burn calories and to tone-up your entire body. Once you clear your couch of the soft cushions, pillows and other unnecessary fluff, you'll have a solid training platform to perform a whole array of exercises ranging from dips to side planks, from decline push-ups to Bulgarian split squats and more!

J. Broomstick

Image of a broomstick used for exercise workouts.

That broomstick resting in the corner of your storeroom is another inexpensive and versatile tool that can be easily adapted for exercise use. Remove the head of the broom, and you'll have a wooden pole that can be used for specialized core training (replete with all the necessary rotation, twisting and bending moves) as well as a variety of other conditioning and mobility drills.

K. Paper Plates

Image of paper plates used for exercising.
Who ever thought that the disposable paper plates leftover from your previous BBQ or birthday party could be used as sliders and gliders on your home flooring? In fact, for sliding and gliding exercises such as sliding lunges, sliding walk-outs, sliding burpees etc. few items, if any, work better than the lowly paper plates!

L. Crate / Stool 

Image of a low stool used for exercise

A sturdy low stool or a discarded wooden crate in your backyard can also be easily converted into a useful exercise tool for movements such as: step-ups, step-downs, seated knee tucks, bench dips, supported pistol squats etc. Again, please make sure that the stool or crate can support your body weight before attempting any of the above moves!

M. Socks

Image of a pair of old socks used for exercising.

Most people have more socks than they ever need at home. Often tucked away somewhere in the drawers or carelessly strewn around on the floor, socks are omnipresent in almost every home. Rather than discard your unwanted socks into the bin, use them for a variety of sliding and gliding exercises like curtsy lunges, plank jacks, mountain climbers and more!

N. Travel Suitcase / Luggage

Image of a travel suitcase suitable for exercise use.
With the current pandemic, overseas travel and vacations abroad are practically off limits for most people. As such, it makes sense to dust off the cobwebs from your travel suitcase and put it to good use! For an effective and functional workout, load your suitcase with books, magazines and other weighted objects and use it for exercises like: elevated hip thrusts, hop-overs, thrusters, and its very own name-sake - the suitcase carry!

Well, there you have it. A whole list of household objects that could function as alternative fitness gear or exercise tools without costing you a single dime.

In fact, with further imagination, creativity and resourcefulness , the above list could be expanded almost indefinitely.

However, rather than just limit yourself to working-out at home with these improvised household implements, do also feel free to explore other training options and modalities, including: training with just your own body weight, or even venturing outdoors to public parks, beaches, playgrounds etc. to get some outdoor training done!

Some words of caution though. 

Whichever option you choose, make sure that you listen to your body, know your limits, and always exercise in good form and with the correct technique.

When in doubt, do seek the advice of a medical doctor, a trained physiotherapist or a certified personal trainer

Last, but not least, don't forget to ENJOY yourself and have FUN!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Home Workout Tips For Stay-At-Home Mums

Speak to most stay-at-home mums and you're bound to get the idea that MANY (if not most) have already given up on their dream of being able to fit in a regular exercise program into their weekly schedule, let alone attain a figure that is Lean, Toned and Attractive !  Indeed, having had the privilege and opportunity to work with many such home-based mums here in Singapore over the years (in my capacity as a Private Home Personal Trainer) , and having observed - first-hand - my wife's own stay-at-home child-care experience in the early formative years of my 2 kids, I can attest to the fact that it can indeed be a real challenge for many stay-home mums to even THINK of exercise, let alone DO it, when faced with the myriad of tasks they confront on a daily basis. Challenges Facing A Housewife Just think about this - the chores that every stay-at-home mum inevitably faces one day or another include: doing up the laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, vacuuming the house, was

Non-Running Cardio Drills For Older Adults And Seniors

Running has been around for a long time and is a popular cardiovascular exercise for many. However, for some mid-life, older adults and seniors in our midst, running may NOT actually be a suitable exercise nor a viable option for them. Common reasons cited by those who could not incorporate running into their exercise routines include: "running hurts my knees", "it's too vigorous", "it's so jarring on all my joints" to "it's too boring and monotonous" or perhaps even "my doctor says I should NEVER run at all because of my XYZ medical conditions" etc ... As valid as many of these reasons are, it does not remove the fact that such individuals are at risk of missing out on an important component of fitness - cardiovascular training - if they shy away from jogging/running and lack any substitute form of cardiovascular exercise for their bodies. As such, as a senior/older adult exercise specialist , I would usually recommen

Essential Fitness Movement Patterns For Older Adults And Seniors

As we age, most of us would like to continue staying healthy , active and useful for as long as we live. In order to do so, and to get the most benefits from our respective exercise programs - regardless whether we're in our 50s, 60s, 70s or even more - it is essential that we include the various foundational movement patterns in our exercise regimes. These movement patterns are not only essential for our daily physical functions and for healthy living, they are also imperative to our quality of life, and possibly having a major impact on our eventual longevity as well. The following are the basic movement patterns that the Human Body is capable of doing and which we - regardless of age - should all be actively training for: 1) Squat This is the move that we use every time we transit from a sit to a stand position, and back from a stand to a sit position. It is one of the most basic and common movements that we do every day, from getting in and out of a chair to lif

Fitness Tips For Seniors And Older Adults

With the aging population here in Singapore and in many developed countries growing rapidly, staying healthy , active and vibrant as we age have become more crucial than ever before. Over the years, much has been said and proven about the benefits of daily physical activity and regular exercise to the physical, mental and even emotional well-being of our seniors and older adult population. Many of these benefits include, but are not limited, to the following:   increased energy levels ,   enhanced sleep ,   reduced stress levels ,   better weight management ,   reduced risk of chronic diseases ,  improved blood circulation , and decreased risk of falls . With these benefits in mind, coupled with governmental policies and campaigns, more and more seniors and older adults in our midst are now actively pursuing age-specific fitness programs and initiatives. Even those who have always been inactive have also begun seriously contemplating incorporating fitness into th

Fitness Mistakes Commonly Made By Mid-Life And Senior Adults

Most middle-aged and older adults are more than aware of the many health benefits that come with regular exercise and active living. These benefits include:  stronger muscles, ligaments and tendons,  better heart-&-lung health,  improved bone density,  enhanced balance, coordination and mobility, as well as  reduced risk of developing chronic diseases and ailments -including maladies like heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke and various types of cancer. Thus, it is no wonder that more and more mature and senior adults are now actively pursuing age-specific fitness programs  more than ever before in our human history! As good as this may seem on the surface, unfortunately, there are also many in this population group who may actually be doing more harm than good to themselves by unknowingly committing various types of mistakes and errors in their own home exercise programs or outdoor fitness routines . The following will explore some of these commonly-seen fitness mistake

Hard Truths About Personal Trainers And The Fitness Industry

As a practising personal trainer and owner of a personal training business here in Singapore, I've been asked many times what it means and how it feels being part of the fitness community at large. Well, I can't speak on behalf of every single trainer or coach here in the country - as there are simply so many different trainers, contrasting training approaches, varied fitness niches, and diversification of fitness services across the industry today. More importantly, I'm sure every single trainer/coach out there would have his/her own personal and unique views regarding the profession too. Thus, for the purpose of this blog post, I would rather focus on what I - or rather, WE, of the personal training industry - are NOT . The following represents some of the most commonly-held myths and misconceptions about us - trainers and coaches - and my personal take on these issues, as well as the "hard truths" behind many of these assumptions: 1) We Are NOT &

The Greatest Fitness Lies Of All Time

Despite the massive slew of health & fitness information available to us in this Modern Era, many, unfortunately, are still falling prey to the same, old, myths, fallacies & lies surrounding fitness, training, exercise and nutrition. Sadly, these myths and misconceptions don't seem to be going away, and not only have greatly distorted people's notions of fitness and exercise, but have also led many to ineffective, harmful and potentially dangerous practices and lifestyles - all supposedly in the name of fitness. To address these concerns, I have listed some of the most persistent fitness lies and myths that I have encountered in my work as a fitness coach and personal trainer through all these years; and the TRUTHS behind them: 1) MYTH: I Need To Push Myself To the MAX Each & Every Single Workout Session In Order To Achieve My Fitness Goals. TRUTH: There is indeed a place and time for hard and intense workouts like HIIT , Tabatas, Plyometrics etc. Howeve

Outdoor Locations For Body-Weight Resistance Training

Call me bias - but when it comes to gym-free fitness training here in Singapore - I'm all for an OUTDOORS approach !!! Why? Well, firstly, Singapore has a pleasant all-year-round tropical climate that supports not only outdoor fitness training , but also all other outdoor physical and recreational activities. And also, with the slew of outdoor public parks, playgrounds and fitness corners scattered all over the island, I feel that it's an absolute waste not to utilize these facilities to the max. And finally, I personally feel that nothing comes quite close to the feeling of sheer joy and freedom of working-out in the Great Outdoors while basking in the bright sunshine and breathing in the crisp, fresh air! Frankly, over the years, though I've trained clients in almost any imaginable place: from home gyms to living-rooms, from garages to basements, and even attics and store closets (seriously!!!), NOTHING ever comes close to that feeling of pure exhilaration

Post Natal Fitness Training: Myths, Thoughts & Concerns

As a personal trainer and pre-post natal exercise specialist , a large part of my job scope involves  working with postpartum clients here in Singapore - helping them to re-gain their pre-pregnancy figures, re-condition their Core and to re-build their fitness levels. Journeying along with my female clients through this process, I can honestly say that it is both a rewarding and heartening experience for all involved, especially when we get to see - first-hand - the physical transformation of our clients gradually taking place right before our eyes. At the same time, via my interaction with the postpartum population through the years, it is also apparent that many myths and concerns that women have with regards to a Post Natal Fitness Programme still exist. Some of the more common ones are as follow: 1) I Must Wait At Least A MONTH Before I Can Do Any Sort Of Exercise! This is absolutely NOT true! And the sad thing is that there are still pockets of medical professional