You don’t have to buy a lot of expensive new equipment to get a great workout at home. Body weight training (including the calisthenics you might remember from gym class at school) uses the weight of your own body for strength training. Coupled with gravity, your body provides the necessary resistance for workouts that will result in strong, lean muscles and improved muscle mass.
However, you can quickly reach a plateau if the only resistance is your body weight. In order to boost the intensity of your workouts, your first thought may be to consider purchasing free weights. However, before you run off and spend a lot of money on new fitness equipment, consider this: you may already have everything you need!
The following five common household items can be used, instead of specialized fitness equipment, to boost the effectiveness of your workouts and to help you create a fitness habit that you want to stick with and that provides results.
#1 – Milk Jugs and Beverage Containers
When we say “milk jug” we’re talking about the plastic milk container with a built-in handle. You can fill two empty gallon-sized jugs with water and can perform bicep curls and other exercises where you would traditionally use a dumbbell. Water weighs a little over 8 pounds per gallon, so these milk jugs can add some much-needed resistance to your exercises.
You can also use a laundry detergent container. A 72-ounce container will weigh about 5 pounds when filled with water.
#2 – A Pair of Sturdy Chairs
A pair of wooden dining room chairs is perfect for performing tricep dips. Simply place one chair on either side of your body, with your palms down on the seats of the chairs. Then lower yourself down, pulling your feet off the ground and bending your knees.
#3 – A Basketball
Aside from playing basketball and getting your exercise that way, you can also use a basketball when you perform push-ups. Instead of placing the palms of your hands on the floor, bring them together and hold a basketball on the floor in front of your face. (If you’re extra graceful like me, be careful or you can face plant on the ball or the floor!)
#4 – Stairs
If you don’t feel like spending $1,000 or more on a StairMaster, why not use the stairs in your home? You can spend five minutes at a time, several times a day (or more), going up and down the steps to get some good aerobic stimulation. Be sure to go at a pace that’s safe for your current fitness level. When going up stairs make sure to push off your top foot. Keep your foot flat, rather than going up on the ball of your foot, and watch how your knee tracks over your foot. It should stay directly over your foot rather than caving in or pushing to the outside of it.)
#5 – Your Kitchen or Bathroom Counter
Dips! These work your triceps, the muscles on the back of your upper arms. Stand in front of your kitchen or bathroom counter, with your back to it. Reach back and place your hands palm down on the counter, with your fingers curled over the ledge. Slowly move your body weight from your feet to your hands by bending your knees. Lower yourself, and return to the starting position, keeping your bodyweight on your arms and shoulders instead of your legs. Bye bye bingo flap!
You can also stand about two feet in front of the counter, lean forward, and place your hands on the counter ledge. Lean forward, performing incline push-ups.
You don’t have to spend a ton of money to take your workouts to the next level. There are simple things that you can do at home, or on vacation, to increase your strength and fitness.
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