We’re all about making fitness easy and accessible (hence the creation of Get Healthy U TV), and while a lot of our workouts use just your bodyweight, every once in a while we like to use some equipment too. But, not everyone has a fully-stocked home gym, or a hotel gym if you’re on the road. That’s why we’ve come up with this list of fitness equipment substitutions, so you can get your workout in anytime, anywhere—no excuses! You likely have most of these items laying around the house, so why not re-purpose them and get a killer at-home workout, no gym necessary!
1. Hula Hoop
The hula-hoop may have been a childhood favorite, or maybe you have kids now that love them! Either way, you may not have known that this fun toy can make for a great piece of workout equipment! Ideally, you would use a weighted hoop for maximum calorie burn, but a regular kids hoop will do in a pinch. Even First Lady Michelle Obama is a fan of hooping! The hoop is more versatile than you think—depending on your stance and where you place the hoop, it can target different muscle groups. It’s a great way to whittle your middle and even get a cardio boost! Check out our Hula Hoop Workout for more tips.
2. Soup Cans or Milk Jugs
Depending on your fitness level, either a can of soup or a jug of milk can make a great substitution for dumbbells at home. Grab two cans of chicken noodle and you’re set for anything from bicep curls to overhead shoulder presses, right at home!
3. Soccer Ball/ Basketball
If you have kids, you no doubt have a spare soccer ball or basketball in the garage. But did you know that you can incorporate them into your home exercise routine? We love to use them as a substitution for a Pilates Sponge Ball or even a med ball and they can take your lower body routine to the next level! Squeeze the ball between your knees as you squat, or use them for glute bridges as you lay on the ground! Check out our simple steps for how to do a glute bridge, then once you’ve got the basic motion down, add the ball underneath your feet. Press your feet down flat on the ball and try to keep your elbows off the ground. Your core will feel the burn on this one too as you need to stabilize yourself as you lift and lower your hips.
4. Paper Plate or Towel
Have you ever tried out the ab gliding discs at the gym? It’s one of the toughest pieces of equipment you can use to challenge your core, but you can get the same benefit at home and you don’t even need the discs! Instead, grab a hand towel or a couple of paper plates, and stick them under your feet. You can do a sliding plank jack, mountain climbers, or even knee tucks. Check out our stability ball ab tuck, and mimic the movement but with your toes forward and imagine pulling your knees up to your chest.
You can even get a great leg workout in by trying out a sliding lunge or side lunge, sliding side squat, or a one-legged squat if you really want a challenge! Slide the towel or plate under one foot and place it out in front of you. As you squat with one leg, push the other leg out in front of you by sliding the disc.
5. Heavy Book
You’ve probably got a few heavy coffee table books laying around, but now they have a new purpose! Grab a few books and use them in place of a plated weight for anything from weighted Russian twists to squats or lunges. You could also use a milk jug, or even a pumpkin during the fall!
6. Bag of Dirt/Mulch/Fertilizer/Sand
Got a heavy bag lying around? Most of us have a bag of mulch, dirt, fertilizer or a sand bag in the garage. And depending on the size of each, they can be incorporated into a great workout! We would suggest beginners start with 10—15 pounds, intermediates can use 25-35 pounds, and advanced between 40 and 60 pounds.
Just make sure that whatever you are using and seal and secure, so it doesn’t rip open during your workout!
Grab a bag of dirt and try out twisting lunges, bear hug squats, or a forward facing row. One piece of DIY equipment has endless possibilities for a killer at-home workout!
We love a good ab tuck exercise to target your core. You may have seen the ab dolly at your local gym, but grab a skateboard and you’ve got your own at home ab dolly, for a fraction of the cost! Follow our step by step guide on how to do an ab rollout with a stability ball, and mimic the movement with your skateboard. This is a great way to challenge your rectus abdominus, also known as your front ab muscles that run up and down your body.