At Home Exercise Equipment Substitutions for Gym Equipment

A frequent question I get asked is about exercise equipment.

Questions such as what equipment I would buy if I was going to buy one particular type, or what’s my favorite exercise equipment.

These types of questions are so hard for me to answer.

Mostly because I like to have variety in my workouts to keep it fun but also because I like to focus on overall wellness and body strength and feel that by using different types of equipment it gives me those options.

Sometimes I’ll respond by asking what the persons’ goals are and what they want the purpose of the exercise equipment to be, because depending on these things, certain equipment may be better than others.

Also, when considering exercise equipment, you should consider what type of exercise you will enjoy or maybe not enjoy, along with any prior injuries or limited mobility.

I typically end up answering questions around equipment recommendations with ‘dumbbells’ as my equipment choice.

Dumbbells are relatively versatile and other house hold items can easily be substituted for other equipment needs. But even dumbbells can be substituted with items you have around the house!

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To be honest though, you could go without purchasing equipment, and by using a little imagination, you could use your household items. Saving that money completely and using it for something else, like one of the Hint of Happy programs, which you can check out HERE!

While specific exercise equipment is convenient, just because you don’t have everything, doesn’t mean you can’t exercise or do the strength workout you want.

To help you with finding household items that you can use as exercise equipment, I’m going to cover a few basic exercises, that also typically make up many of my workouts.

Substituting Household Items for Exercise Equipment

Substitute a Cooler for a Step

  • Hop over cooler, this is simply holding on to the short end of the cooler and then jumping over the cooler to land on the opposite side. This is a great cardio blast exercise.
  • Step ups, these can be done 2 ways, side step or front step. If you are doing the side step, stand with your hip to the long side of the cooler and step up and to the side, completing this the same number of repetitions on each leg. To do the front step, you face the coolers long side and step up and down, you can rotate legs or you can complete this for one leg and then the other. For both of these, I like to add bringing my knee up or kicking my leg out to up the core work.
  • 1 leg split squat is a little more of an advance exercise, requiring balance. You will put one leg out in front of the long side of the cooler and then the other legs toe on the long side of the cooler. You will want your front leg to be out in front of the cooler far enough so that you can squat down with your knee creating a 90 degree angle and not going over your toe. Similar to a squat you will want to look up and out as you squat down and then stand up for one repetition. Repeat the exercise with the other leg.

Substitute Different Sized Canned Food for Dumbbells

  • Bicep curls to shoulder press, place a can of food in each hand, with your palms out and arms down at your sides. From here slowly bend your elbows bringing the cans of food up to your shoulders. Once the cans of food are at your shoulders, turn your palms out and push them up over your head for the shoulder press. Come back to starting position by reversing the order of the steps you just completed. That is one repetition.
  • Triceps kickback, begins by placing one can of food in each hand. Bend over at about 45 degrees with your arms at your side and elbows bent at about 90 degrees and palms facing back. To begin the exercise, only move at the elbow, pushing the canned food back behind you, keeping your elbows in place. After you have extended the arms out and back, return to the starting position, this is one repetition.
  • Front and Lateral Raises, can be completed by holding the cans in each hand, standing upright with arms down to your side and palms facing behind you. Begin the move by raising your arms up to 90 degrees straight out from your sides. Return your arms to starting position and then raise your arms out to 90 degrees out in front of you. Return your arms back to starting position. This is one repetition.

Substitute Tupperware Lids for Sliding Disks or Exercise Ball

  • Abs Pike starts in a plank with lids under each of the toes. Start the movement by sliding the toes up towards the hands on the lids, then slide back to the starting position.
  • Hip abductor plank begins similar to the Abs Pike, a plank position with the lids under each of the toes. To begin the movement, you will slide out one foot to the side and then bring it back to start, this is one repetition. You can rotate each leg through the movement or you can complete all sets on one side and then do the other.
  • Hamstring curls can be done with laying on your back and putting the lids under your feet. Then bring your heals towards your glutes and lift your hips, return to starting position with your legs out. This is repetition.

So go raid your kitchen and quit with the excuses! A great workout is one Tupperware lid away!

Use this 3 Exercises Workout that only uses household equipment!

About On Posts by Kylie Livingston

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