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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!


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