household items that double as gym equipment

Common Household Items That Double As Dumbbells

If you’re trying to maintain your exercise routine at home, you’re probably finding you miss a lot of the fancy equipment at the gym. While treadmills and strength training equipment are great, the truth is you don’t need much more than a little space and some extra weight to get in a good workout. Squats, pushups, lunges, and overhead presses are all classic moves that build muscle and burn calories. Don’t have dumbbells? No problem! Here are suggestions for common household items you can use instead.

A Gallon Of Water Or Milk


A gallon of liquid equals about eight pounds. If you can find a container with handles, try bicep curls and overhead presses. If not, a mason jar or other large container will do. Hold the jar in front of you at about chest level while you squat or lunge. Having to hold the weight provides the added benefit of working your upper body as well as lower.

Large Laundry Detergent


Laundry detergent containers work great as weights since they already come equipped with handles. You can hold these at your side while you do lower body exercises, or even use them for kettlebell swings! A typical laundry detergent of 1.5 to 2 litres will weigh around 10-12 lbs.

Bag Of Pet Food


Pet food bags can be large and a bit clumsy to hold, but the extra resistance they provide comes in handy for lunges (balance the bag on one shoulder) or while doing weighted pushups. If you are looking for an extra challenge while doing pushups, simply place a bag of pet food across your back. You’ll definitely feel the burn!

Backpack Filled With Books Or Canned Food


If you have a sturdy backpack lying around, fill it with books or other heavy objects and strap it on. This is a great way to create a more challenging cardio workout. Try squat walks, jumping jacks, or even burpees with a weighted backpack. The convenience of having a hands-free weight can’t be beat!

Cans Of Soup


A can of soup not only conveniently fits in your hand, but is a great low weight for high repetition upper-body workouts. If you are accustomed to low rep, high weight exercises, try switching out your weights but adding more repetitions. Arm circles, scarecrows, and reverse flys are all good options to tone your back and shoulders.

If you’ve been missing the gym, we hope these at-home replacements for dumbbells let you feel the burn again! Remember, even without dumbbells, many body weight exercises are still a great workout. Even a little bit of exercise is better than none at all. Thanks for reading and remember to follow along on the Caliber blog for more lifestyle ideas.