How many times have you stared out the window, looked at your gym bag, and decided “no, not today”? Whether scary thunderstorms or blazing summer heat is the adversary you have to face in order to get your sweat session in, there is a solution. Most of us will admit to skipping at least one gym date due to the weather, especially during the summertime.
While one would think that the sunshine screams “time to workout”, too much sun is a recipe for staying where the air conditioning can reach you. No one wants to leave the house when the weather is hotter than the oven that cooks our frozen french fries! We get it, girl. We don’t want to leave the house either.
Unfortunately, the sweat session is a must for most of us. If you want to keep building your gains, but don’t want to brave the walk through fire to get to the gym, look no further than this list. We’ve compiled the 20 best household items to give you a workout that will rival your best gym circuit. The best part? You only need to walk from the living room to the kitchen to get your reward ice cream after.
20 Two Paper Plates Is All It Takes
Remember that birthday party you threw for your roommate three months ago? Remember when you decided to put out paper plates for snack carrying, but nobody used them? Time to pull out those untouched plates.
Very Well Fit released an excellent guide on household workout objects. They suggest sliding a paper plate under each foot and using them to add some slide and glide to your lunges (or mountain climbers).
Be careful, though, as paper plates can slide out from under you.
This trick actually makes lunges and mountain climbers easier to do when you’re on a carpeted surface, but it does work best on a wood or tile floor.
19 The Kitchen Table
Everyone seems to have a kitchen table workout routine, but it really is the best object for a beginner to work with. If you don’t have a kitchen table, you can also try using your kitchen counter or island. A desk would also work, but make sure it’s able to hold your body weight!
Men’s Journal suggests two exercises to utilize your table or counter. You can use the edge of it to support you while you do push-ups, or you can use it to perform some “table dips”. Wait a second. “Table dips”? Sounds like a great idea! We’ll bring the chips and bread.
18 Toilet Paper (Yes, Seriously)
This is such a weird one but trust us: you’ll feel the burn. While many workout guides suggest objects to lift, squat, or curl, this is one that’s only going to be stacked.
Easy, right? Think again.
Men’s Journal directs their readers to utilize toilet paper in order to get some extra sweat out of their planks. They suggest that you stack 3 or 4 toilet paper rolls on the floor. Drop into a plank beside them, and during your plank re-stack them on the opposite side of your body. Do this a couple times and you’ll find that your muscles will never want to lift toilet paper ever… EVER again.
17 Instead Of Sitting On The Couch, Try Working Out On It
If it’s too hot to go to the gym, it’s probably too hot to do anything but lie on the couch in front of the fan, right? Before you stop, flop, and chill, squeeze in a quick session utilizing all that your couch has to offer.
Men’s Journal suggests a couple different exercises for this home object, but basically, any exercise that requires a squat down is improved by your couch. You’ll know when to stop the squat, and will be able to focus on improving your form. This will not only help your short-term sweat session but will improve your overall form and quality of exercise in the long run.
16 Or Just Use One Of The Cushions
Balance boards are a thing of the past. Just kidding; many people still love them and would recommend that everyone has one to supplement their home workouts. Our opinion? Don’t waste your money unless you’ve got the money to waste.
While you might get some use out of one, couch cushions are remarkably similar (and work well).
Very Well Fit recommends them, and we do too. While you might need to research a few suggested exercises (and be careful as you get used to the squishy surface) we know that you’ll enjoy the wobbly impact it has on your home workout.
15 Grab Your Textbook(s)
Very Well Fit has a few words of wisdom to pass on regarding the usage of heavy books. While you might have been cursing the fact that you had to spend $150 on that sociology text (which you opened maybe twice), there is another use for it.
Very Well Fit says that “any exercise you do while holding a medicine ball or a weight plate can be done with a heavy book.” Think of adding a book to your oblique twists to give them some extra oomph! This is good news for the students out there who can’t use their college or university gym between semesters. And the best part? You can add as many books as you want.
14 That Big Spaghetti Pot Rocks
Who needs a kettlebell when you’ve got spaghetti? Most of us have one of these in our kitchens; a large pot that basically doubles as the resident “anytime we need something with handles that can carry a lot” pot. Washing the car? Spaghetti pot. Hot water’s out, but need to wash your hair? Boil the spaghetti pot.
Introduce this glorious kitchen object into your workout routine by using it instead of a kettlebell.
Fitness Magazine suggests doing arm swings using a bucket (or pot) in place of a kettlebell. You can weigh it down with some books or rocks as well if you want to up the challenge.
13 Squat A Full Laundry Basket
This is a personal trick some of us use. While laundry day and working out sometimes are tied for the most ugh-worthy chore, they’re made much better when you combine them.
Not only are you able to get two things knocked off the to-do list at once, but you’re also able to double up on your time. Why not do some squats while you wait for the dryer to be free?
In the same way that using your textbooks to add some extra weight works, so does squatting your laundry basket. If you’re not up for that, though, any heavy household object will do.
12 Or Your Dog
Yes, a household object like your dog! This popular fitness trend popped up on different social media video-sharing sites, and we absolutely love it. It’s exactly what you think it is: grab your workout gear, get out the dog treats, and pick up Fido in a big old hug.
You might need to offer him some snuggles and cookies afterward, but many dogs actually seem to enjoy it.
Make sure to give the pup and yourself some rest between sets. Nobody wants to squat a squirmer. And if you don’t have a dog, this might just be the excuse you need to start calling up some shelters!
11 Glass Bottles Of Cola
...Or any refreshing beverage that comes in a glass bottle. Very Well Fit suggests a more adult consumable, while Cosmopolitan suggests using bottles of salad dressing. The point isn’t what’s inside the glass. The point is offering a household alternative for those 1 and 2 pound walking weights.
While it might look a little strange to speed-walk down the street double-fisting salad dressing, you can reap the benefits at home as well by doing arm pulses and arm circles. They might not look like much in the fridge, but these babies will certainly burn. Luckily you can crack one open as soon as you’re done!
10 Grab A Solid Chair
Chairs are the classic home workout object, but we’re bringing them to you in a whole new way. They’ve been a staple in our own personal workouts for ages now, and feature in everything from squat routines to tricep dips (as Very Well Fit suggests) to modified barre exercises.
You can hold onto the back for stability as you plié your way to toner thighs, or you can use it as a placeholder for your deep, deep squats. Chairs offer something for everyone in the world of home workouts.
Be careful to not use a rolling chair, though.
Those can be helpful (which we’ll touch on later), but they do have a tendency to get away from you...
9 Your Trusty Pillow
What to do with a pillow? Many, many things. Outside of nap time and pillow fights, pillows actually have some other practical uses. Men’s Journal offers a ton of great exercises using household objects, but we particularly love the fact that they integrate a pillow as a form enhancer.
They suggest lying on the ground and putting a pillow in between your feet. Then, using the V-up exercise to pass it up to your hands. Ensure you keep your lower back on the floor... and no cheating! The best part about this is that if you drop the pillow on your stomach, it doesn’t hurt the same way a yoga block does.
8 The Swiffer Or Broom
If it’s your rest day on your lifting plan, look no further than this awesome exercise to keep your form fresh. Rest days feel best when we’re a little bit active. Not only do we want to enjoy the outdoors, but activity on a rest days means we’re keeping our muscles moving and working.
If you’re fresh out of salad dressing and glass cola bottles, try detaching your broom or mop’s head.
You can practice your lifting form with it (as it’s similar in size and shape to a barbell’s handle) or you can use it to add some shape to your arm pulses. Whatever you fancy, we would recommend keeping this cleaning product close at hand.
7 Rice, Flour, Pet Food, Etc
Cosmopolitan released a whole article talking about the benefits of different foodstuffs. The kitchen is one of the best places to get things to work out with. While we might love the idea of books and couches, kitchen tables and chairs are quintessential to the home workout.
Bags of rice, flour, pet food, or any other heavy material is also quintessential to the home workout. Cosmopolitan suggests keeping a variety of these goods around so you can get a variety of weights into your workout. They’re great for bicep curls, or anything you’d normally use handheld weights for. Make sure the handles don’t hurt your hands, though!
6 Work Out With Your Bed Before Napping On It
Did you like to jump on the bed as a kid? Luckily home fitness routines have brought this back. Men’s Journal recommends you integrate this household object into your workout to increase your leg game. They offer a couple examples of exercises which we won’t describe, but it’s worth looking up.
We particularly enjoy the fact that it’s easy to integrate utilizing your bed as a workout item as part of your nightly routine.
Brush your teeth, jump on the bed, and go to sleep feeling good about the fact that you got your exercise in. The best part? No parents around to tell you you’ll ruin the mattress.
5 Try A Towel
This classic household item is something none of us want to live without. Nearly every fitness write up we read featured a towel somewhere during the workout, and for good reason. Towels are slightly forgiving, sturdy, and able to be pulled in many different directions. You can fold them up or roll them up, and there’s almost zero chance of them breaking.
Very Well Fit also mentions that you can use towels as a yoga mat that will stick to the carpet. They also work in a similar way to paper plates on the hardwood. Plus, they’ll probably polish the floor! While that might not be your main goal, it’s certainly hard to find an item that’s better than this everyday article.
4 Kettle Bell? Try A Backpack With Books
There have been a few iterations of kettlebells on this list. Not only do people love that classic home fitness item, but they love the fact that you can get them for so cheap. Even dollar stores sell replicas of kettlebells!
For the days you don’t even want to walk out the door, just grab your backpack!
Fitness Magazine tells us that it’s easy to swing a backpack like a kettlebell due to its top handle. They also recommend adding different weights to it, depending on how much of a workout you want. Hmmm… We thought we saw some textbooks around here.
3 Rolling Chairs Help Achieve Your Leg Looks
This is another personal tip that we just had to throw in. There’s been many a social media video that shows health and fitness fanatics working out in offices and hotel rooms. They’re the real inspiration for this article, which is focusing on making a good workout accessible to everyone (gym or not).
Using a rolling chair as a lower ab workout might seem silly, but it definitely works. Lie on the ground, put your feet up on the chair, and practice rolling it away from and towards you. You’ll find that the burn starts quickly once you get the hang of it.
2 Laundry Detergent Lifts Really Work
There’s a reason everyone suggests that you buy the huge size of laundry detergent. It’s not just the fact that you save in the long run; you also get the added benefit of getting toned arms.
You can workout any time of the day or night with a supersize laundry detergent.
The weight is just enough that you can lift and lower it slowly, with just a little bit of difficulty. Fitness Magazine suggests using it in place of hand-held weights for single-arm rows. We think it would also work for some tricep dips or bicep curls, but make sure the lid is fully screwed on.
1 Just Use The Wall
No matter what you’re doing or where you are, we guarantee that you’ve got a wall. If not a wall, then at least a sturdy tree. If not a tree, then maybe a pillar or door. Whatever you’ve got, you can use. As there are classic exercises that we all know, like wall squats and wall push-ups, the wall has become a symbol of possibilities.
There’s nothing really standing in your way. You might be facing a wall, but you’re really deciding for yourself the fact that you’ll overcome. Obstacles are no match for you. Now get on those leggings, grab a spaghetti pot and bathroom towel, and get sweating!