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Can’t find dumbbells? Train instead with these household items


You can do all sorts of exercises, such as kettlebell swings (pictured here), with a watering can and other household items.

Amanda Capritto / CNET

For the latest news and information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

If you have problems finding exercise equipment in stores and online, you are not alone. With gym is still closed Across the United States, people are buying home exercise equipment faster than businesses can. If you have not been able to buy what you need for your workouts, do not be afraid. In fact, you already have dumbbells, kettlebells, weight vests and medicine balls at home – yes, temporary anyway.

If your workouts need a little pizzazz or if you’ve just gotten too fucking strong for regular body weight squat, make sure yours pantry, your garage and the closet in the spare room that you have not entered since 2010.

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What you need


The “gym equipment” I used for these exercises.

Amanda Capritto / CNET

I used regular household items for these exercises – this is all you probably have at home as well. If you do not have any of these, replace with something similar in size and weight.

  • Two containers with sauce in bulk (or two articles of equal weight, such as two soup jars or two bags of sugar). These should be easy to grip.
  • A can of paint (does not have to be completely full).
  • Two unopened bottles of wine – or spirits. Your choice.
  • A whole liter of water.
  • A backpack full of books or other heavy objects.
  • A football or something similar in size and weight.

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Upper body exercises

The upper body is the toughest muscle group to target at home. Bodyweight leg exercises are basically endless, but it is difficult to think of previous push-ups for your upper body. And we have to find ways to get an arm pump – it’s almost tank season, you know.

BBQ sauce shoulder press


My family buys everything in bulk, including spices, so I used two large barbecue sauce containers to mimic the dumbbell shoulder press. You can use any sauce you want, or if you are not a sauce person, try half a liter of milk or cans of soup. Do not leave the milk out for too long.

Most importantly, make sure your items are equally important – you probably would not use a 15-pound dumbbell and a 10-pound dumbbell at the same time in the gym.

Read more: The best training shoes for all types of training, according to training trainers

Watering can bicep curls


Here we go with the arm pump: Even if you are socially distant and you can not show off your weapons in person, you can definitely flash them at your next virtual happy hour. To get into your bicep curls, you simply use a whole liter of water or something else with a handle.

Can paint lines


Many people inadvertently neglect their backs when exercising at home without equipment. First, there is the whole thing “out of sight, out of mind” – but it is also practically impossible to focus on these muscles without some kind of weights or cables.

One color can solve that problem: With an easy-to-grip handle, you can perform curved rows to target your latissimus dorsi (aka your lats, or your “pull-up muscles”), your rhomboids (mid-upper back) and your shoulder muscles on the backs of your shoulders.

Wine bottle shaft circuit

Use wine bottles to exercise, then open one. It’s a win-win in my book. If wine bottles are too light for you, you can use a small but heavy object that you can safely grip, such as stones, bricks or a frying pan. The options are endless.

This shoulder circuit contains three features: lateral raises, front raises and reverse fly. Perform three sets with 10 of each movement in a row for a proper shoulder burn.


Lateral raises: Raise until you feel a little pressure in the shoulders.


Elevations: Try to raise your arms to face level or higher.


The reverse fly. Press your muscles in the top position to get the most out of this exercise.

Lower body exercises

It is usually easier to think of exercises in the lower body too home training, so you can move your legs in all sorts of burning configurations: squats, step-ups, lungs, squats, high knees – the list goes on. However, if you want to add some weight, you can spice up the basics with household items.

The backpack drops


Fill a backpack with books or other heavy items, such as full water bottles or garbage cans. Then perform lungs as usual. Just be sure to keep your chest high – do not let the weight go ruin your shape.

Watering can squat


Cup squats are a harder version of air squats where you hold a weight, usually a kettlebell, at chest level. Your reliable gallon jug of water will come in handy again: Hold it instead of a kettlebell to put some weight on your squats.

Full body exercises

Not a fan of separating workouts by muscle group? Throw these whole body moves into your routine to work your legs, core, arms and shoulders at the same time.

Backpack squat and pressure


This move seems simple – it’s just a squat in a shoulder press – but it’s notoriously difficult. A few rounds with 10 reps make you puff and puff. I used a backpack full of books here, but feel free to use any items you can grab with both hands.

Water kettle Kettlebell swings


The kettlebell swing is one of my favorite exercises of all time. As a trainer, I love that it evokes both a cardiovascular and strength response and is aimed at all the major muscle groups: It is fantastic when you are short on time but still want a tough workout.

I use one hand in this demo, because the watering can was easier to hold that way, but you can definitely use both hands. You can also choose to swing the jug completely over your head, rather than to face level.

Core exercises

The beach season may be in the offing as the coronavirus situation develops, but that does not mean you should neglect your core: Keeping your core strong can help with posture and prevent back injuries, so it’s important to work your stomach year round.

I used a football for these core exercises, but feel free to use some other kind of ball or other object that you can hold with both hands. A book or a watering can would also work here.

Sit-ups for football


Sit-ups are sometimes brushed in favor of tougher ab exercises such as planks and v-ups. But I think that when performed correctly, sit-ups can have a strong place in all training routines – especially when you use an overhead press for an extra challenge.

Soccer ball russian twists


Work your skews with Russian twists. You can keep your feet in contact with the ground or lift them for more of a challenge. Try three sets of 30 reps with a 30 second rest between sets.

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The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health problem.

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