If you don’t have a lot of room to build a home gym, you may be able to use what you already have to help you get in a good workout every once in a while.
Household items can be easily converted to exercise equipment in a pinch for a fast and free muscle building and fat loss session. Even your furniture can come to help you build and tone in some unexpected ways.
All you need to do is learn to view your home and the things it contains with the mind of a pro lifter.
From there, all you need is the motivation to get fit.
Use Your Stairs
People spend tons of money on machines that are designed to emulate stair climbing. Stair climbing is some of the best cardio exercise you can get.
It’s more intense than walking, and it helps build muscles in the calf. If you have stairs in your house or on your front porch, jogging them up and down can burn hundreds of calories in a relatively short amount of time.
If you can’t commit to a long session of nothing but climbing the stairs, try using it to keep your heart rate up in transitional periods between anaerobic exercises, such as weight lifting.
Repurpose Empty Jugs
When you’re done with the contents of a plastic jug, you probably recycle it.
Instead, save a pair of each. Milk jugs, bleach jugs, and laundry detergent bottles can be refilled with water and closed, creating weights that are anywhere from five to nine pounds.
The handle makes them convenient to use, and you won’t have to worry about dropping any metal on your floor. Use them for bicep curls or overhead presses.
In some cases, a milk jug makes a great replacement for a kettlebell if the top is secured efficiently and the handle is large enough to accommodate two hands.
Work Out with Chairs
You may not have expected this, but a chair can actually provide you with a full body workout.
It’s a stable surface that you can use to help you keep your balance, and it’s heavy enough while remaining easy to grasp for many lifting exercises.
To use a chair for leg raises, alternate sides. Hold one side for balance, and lift the leg that’s furthest from the chair as high as you can, while keeping your other leg stiff and straight.
Repeat as many times as you want and switch to the other side of the chair to lift the other leg.
To get a great workout in your arms, you should try a chair dip.
It’s more challenging than you might expect, but the results are worth it. Start by sitting on the front edge of the chair. Keep your feet together, and put your hands on the seat of the chair beside your highs.
Without lifting your feet from the ground, put a 90 degree bend in your elbow as you lower your body to the ground.
Push your arms straight up to the original position, and repeat.
Incorporate a Towel
Towels provide adequate resistance for exercises that require it, such as intense pushups or bent over rows.
The towel serves the same purpose as a resistance band, but it does so at a more challenging level. Many weight lifters use their towels to add resistance to their workouts in the gym, because the emphasis of the effort is placed directly on the muscle.
The towel won’t stretch the same way a band will, so you’ll have to engage more with your target groups because you aren’t getting any slack.
Any isometric holding exercise can be performed with a towel simply by wrapping the towel up and stepping on it in the center, the same way you would with a band.
Add Intensity with a Basketball
If you’re past the point of basic lunges and planks feeling effective for you, try incorporating a basketball.
All you need to do is know how to dribble one.
The challenge is to perform planks and lunges while constantly dribbling the basketball, alternating arms. Since one arm is busy dribbling, the other arm takes on the majority of your weight while you’re executing your move.
It’s harder to maintain proper form while you’re focused on bouncing the basketball, and that’s part of the challenge.
It causes you to intensify your movements and the mastery you have over your muscles in order to correctly perform a plank or a lunge.
Tone with your Kitchen Counter
By using your counter as a support, you can do pushups that place the emphasis mainly on your triceps. It’s one of the easiest ways to target those muscles, and it requires a lot less effort than a traditional pushup
For counter pushups, place your toes a comfortable distance away from the counter. You need to be able to reach it, so the distance you choose is largely dependent on your height.
With your hands on the counter at approximately shoulder-width distance, get your chest as close to the counter as possible while keeping your body straight and your elbows close to the side.
Use your triceps to move yourself toward and away from the counter top.
Dirty Laundry Lifting
Everyone has dirty laundry.
Whether you do it at home or you take it somewhere else, you need to find a place to store it. Instead of using baskets, try a duffel bag or a laundry bag stuffed to max capacity.
Dirty clothes weigh a lot, and a duffel bag can help distribute the weight of your clothes. Holding the handle of the bag with both hands, you’ll find that it makes an excellent prop for bicep curls.
With your feet about shoulder-width apart, hold the duffel bag in front of your body with your palms down and your arms toward the floor.
Pull your hands up and toward your chest, keeping your elbows by your hips. Keep your feet still and your back straight.
If you’d like, you can hold the handles of the duffel bag with one arm and curl it with the other.
Anything can become workout equipment if you have the right mindset.
Even tasks like sweeping or mopping the floor can become opportunities to get a light workout in. Raking leaves in the yard or cleaning out the attic are also excellent ways to get fit.
You’ll find that there are plenty of ways to get active around your home if you’re imaginative enough, and many of them also happen to be productive tasks you can scratch off of your “honey do” list.