Skip to main content
Workout at Home with these Household Items

Workout at Home with these Household Items

by Emily Putney ATC, LAT, ITATLeave a Comment

So you’re stuck at home and can’t get to the gym to workout, now what? Not everyone has access to gym equipment, but this doesn’t have to mean you can’t get in a good workout. Many everyday items can be used as exercise equipment, you just have to be creative!


  • Milk or Water jugs: are a great alternative for dumbbells or kettle bells. One full gallon-sized jug weighs about 8.5 pounds. If this is too heavy, fill it less, a half-full jug will weigh about 4 pounds. If it is too light, have a jug in each hand, then you are up to about 17 pounds. If you have sand, rocks, or other material to fill your jug with you can make it even heavier.
  •  Laundry detergent bottles: can be used as an alternative to milk jugs. They come in a variety of sizes and you can also fill them to different levels with different materials to make them heavier.
  • Canned goods: make great light weight dumbbells to do low-weight, high-repetition exercises. Cans come in multiple sizes, so change the difficulty level by increasing or decreasing the size of the can.
  • Backpack or duffel bag: are versatile alternatives to weighted vests or other heavy weights. Load them up as heavy or light as you want and then do sets of squats, lunges, push-ups, planks or even just walking around with the extra weight. Hold the backpack by the straps and do curls or other kettlebell exercises.
  • Pots and Pans: can be used to make arm exercises more challenging. Use them to make tricep extensions more difficult or use them as an uneven weight to get in a good forearm workout.
  • Laundry baskets: aren’t just for dirty clothes! Add as much weight as you want to them and use for deadlifts or front squats.
  • Books: are a great way to pass the time and also make good workout equipment. Use a heavy book to add difficulty to your core workout by holding it overhead.
  • Pets: are getting lots of extra attention while you are at home, so why not include them in your workout too! If they are cooperative, you can hold them in your arms for added weight for squats or lunges.

If you are using Internet Explorer, click here to download.


Stairs are often avoided in the workplace, but are a great form of cardio at home. If you have access to a staircase, you can go up and down the stairs to get in a good cardio workout.

  • Make it slightly harder by carrying those milk jugs or backpack up and down the stairs with you.
  • Incorporate other exercises into the stair workout like doing push-ups, sit-ups, burpees, squats, calf raises or other similar exercises at the top or bottom of the staircase. Do calf raises or single leg squats on your way back down the stairs.


  • Paper plates or towels: can be used as a replacement for glider discs. Use them to increase the difficulty of bridges, lunges, single leg reaches or planks.
  • Couch cushions or pillows: aren’t just for comfort while binge watching your favorite shows. Use these in place of balance tools like air ex pads. Stand on one or both legs on the cushion or pillow to introduce instability to your exercises. You can do squats, lunges, bridges, push-ups, planks and many other exercises this way.
  • Chairs or couches: can be used for more than a place to sit while playing video games. Practice your squat form, do tricep dips, split squats, bridges or pushes more challenging by putting your feet up on the chair.
  • Basketball: season may be on hold right now, but that ball can be put to good use in your workout. They can make push-ups or planks harder by placing one or both hands on the ball while performing the exercises. You can also make bridges hard by placing one foot on the ball and doing a single leg bridge.
  • Tennis balls, baseballs, softballs, golf balls, or lacrosse balls: are a good way to work on tight muscles. Place the ball between a wall and your shoulder to work out those knots. Or use it to roll out a sore leg muscle.
  • Rolling Pin, baseball/softball bat, or PVC pipe: can also be used to roll out before or after a workout. The rolling pin can also double as ab wheel to do roll outs with!
  • Siri, Alexa, and Google: can make our everyday lives easier, so why not our workouts? Ask them to set a timer for you or start your workout playlist.

Fancy gym equipment doesn’t mean you get better results. Use what you have around your home – as long as you put in the effort, it won’t matter what you used to achieve your goals!

If you experience pain when working out, schedule a free assessment with one our movement experts. Free Assessments are available in-clinic and virtually through our Telehealth platform.

Request a Free Assessment

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *