If you prefer working out at home, you might be wondering which household items to use as exercise equipment.
In fact, some very effective home workouts only require your body weight and some furniture or other household items to use as exercise equipment.
There are many reasons why someone might prefer to use household items as exercise equipment and work out at home instead of going to the gym. If you are just starting out on your fitness journey, you might find the crowds or gym equipment intimidating and overwhelming.
Home workouts save money, and they also save time since you don’t have to commute to the gym. You might be considering a gym membership, but you’d rather start at home due to finding the gym intimidating, also known as ‘gymtimidation’. Don’t be discouraged – it takes time to build confidence to show up at the gym.
In the meantime, check out our list of the 7 most useful household items to use as exercise equipment.
1. Stairs are a great household fixture to use for home workouts
Get the benefits of a Stairmaster at home by using your own set of stairs for your workout. Stairs are incredibly versatile and one of the best household items to use as exercise equipment. You can walk or run up and down the stairs for a great cardio workout, or use the steps as leverage for a killer leg workout.
If you don’t have stairs in your home because you live in an apartment, perhaps your apartment building has stairs you could use. (Just be sure to get a stairway key from your building manager first, to ensure you don’t get locked in the stairway.)
Use caution if you want to use your stairs as exercise equipment to do other exercises such as leg raises or step-ups. To prevent the risk of falling and injuring yourself, always use the bottom steps, instead of working out near the top of the staircase.
Step-ups work your glutes and you can easily use your stairs to perform them. Place your foot on the second stair and your back foot on the ground. Step your back foot up to meet your front foot, focusing on engaging your glute to do all the work. You can hold a weight or full water bottles in each hand to add more resistance. If you can, start from a kneeling position, rather than standing.
Take the stairs two at a time, pulsing 2-3 times in between steps to work your glutes and adductors. Put your back foot on a stair and keep your working leg on the floor to perform Bulgarian split squats. Hold a heavy household item to make the movement more difficult, or raise your arms to engage your core. If climbing the stairs this way is too unsteady, simply perform split squat pulses. Use your hand on the wall for stability.
You can use your stairs to work your upper body too. Push-ups on your stairs are highly customizable. By using your stairs, you can position your body in the way that feels most effective for your exercise.
2. Your door frame is one of the best household items to use as exercise equipment
There are lots of ways you can use your door frame to both stretch and strengthen your body.
Since stretching is a crucial component of exercise and everyone should stretch their body before exercising, a door frame helping you stretch makes door frames one of the best household items to use as exercise equipment.
Door frame stretches warm up your upper body by stretching your shoulders, opening up your chest and your thoracic spine.
There are also lots of ways to use your door frame to build strength. A door frame can help you perform a proper pistol squat or build the muscles in your back by performing door frame rows.
Use the doorknob for some stability while squatting. You can perform a lunge, handstand and modified pull-up using your door frame as well.
If you want to explore the many ways your door frame can help you get a full-body workout at home, resistance bands and door mounts are inexpensive pieces of home equipment that can be used in various workouts.
3. Couch (or ottoman)
If you’re looking for household items to use as exercise equipment, your couch or ottoman are both perfect choices. This is because of their low height. Most couches and ottomans are an ideal height for performing split squats, sit-down squats, or even step-ups. Push-ups and dips can be done using your couch to strengthen your chest, back and triceps.
If you have an ottoman, this handy little piece of furniture can help you get a full-body workout. Use it just as you would a couch to strengthen your upper and lower body, or take advantage of its small size to work your core. Place it under your body to get more extension from your ab and back exercises or put it against a wall and use it as a base for performing glute bridges or pelvic thrusts. Add some weight from a water bottle or a backpack full of books to make the movement harder.
If you don’t have downstairs neighbours, you can use your ottoman to get some cardio in at the end of your workout by following this quick HIIT circuit.
While the floor isn’t technically a household item, it’s a useful piece of exercise equipment. If you want to build core strength, you don’t need any exercise equipment other than your own body weight and the floor.
Floor planks work your entire body at once and can be modified in many ways to isolate specific muscle groups. Side planks primarily work your obliques, and performing bird-dog planks will strengthen your posterior chain. There are dozens of ways to modify planks and these are just a couple of examples.
Other ab exercises to do on the floor include crunches, leg raises and around-the-worlds.
5. Broom handle
A good warm-up is an essential part of any exercise program, and a broom handle is a simple household time that you can use as exercise equipment for mobility drills before a workout. Simply unscrew the brush part and use the handle like you would use a dowel to limber up your shoulders, loosen your thoracic spine, and open up your chest.
You can use a broom handle as exercise equipment while stretching the lower body too, Additionally, you can use a broom handle for balance while performing stability exercises like lunges or single-leg squats.
6. Towels (or sheets)
Towels or sheets might not weigh much, but they are staple household items and can be used as exercise equipment in a variety of ways.
A rolled-up towel can support your neck or lower back while performing any floor exercises that require you to lie on your back. You can also use it to support your ankles or the back of your knees while lying in a corpse pose at the end of a yoga session.
You can also use a towel or sheet to stretch your shoulders, hamstrings, or hips. Strengthen the arms by pulling your sheet or towel shoulder-width apart as if you were trying to tear it in two. Maintain this tension to create the same type of resistance you would get with dumbbells.
7. Water jugs or flour bags
You don’t need a heavy, expensive dumbbell set to get the benefits of a strength training program at home. Heavy household items can easily be used as exercise equipment. Full water jugs and bags of flour, rice, or beans are heavy enough to provide you with some resistance while performing certain exercises.
Hold your bag in your arms close to your chest or put it in a backpack while performing steps ups, sit-down squats, Bulgarian split squats, jump squats, or lunges. You can even place it on your back while holding a plank to make the exercise more difficult.
Perform bicep curls by holding the bag or water jug in your hands with your arms bent at 90 degrees. Hold your weight at chest level and raise it above your head to target the shoulders.
Water jugs are especially useful household items to use as exercise equipment because they come in so many shapes and sizes. Some even have narrow centers, which makes it easier to hold them the same way you would a dumbbell. Get creative with what you put in your water bottle. Water is a good start, but as your strength builds, you can add sand, salt or even pebbles to make the weight heavier.
Home workouts can be just as effective as gym workouts if you’re doing the right exercises. A DNA test through CircleDNA can help you determine the optimal diet and exercise regimen for you, based on your genetic makeup. This can help you design the perfect exercise program at home and in the gym.