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No Weights For Working Out? These Household Objects Should Do The Trick


By Brad Shaw, Fitness Editor | UPDATED: 08:28, 27 May 2020

As we all adjust to the new normal of quarantine, many of our workout routines have seriously changed.

If you’re the kind of person who always went to the gym, you’ve probably had to seriously reconsider your routine to stay fit at home – and even if you weren’t an exercise-lover before, doing some in lockdown will help keep spirits up.

It seems, like flour and eggs, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get hold of weights and other exercise equipment online. But the good news is, you don’t actually need a proper pair of dumbbells to stay fit – here are some items you’ll already have around the house that can be repurposed as weights.

Water bottles

Fill up two water bottles and you’ve got some ready-made dumbbells to use for bicep curls and shoulder work. It goes without saying, but make sure you get two bottles of the same size.

Cans of beans or veg are another good alternative for dumbbells, although they can be more slippery to hold.

Bags of flour or rice

For heavier exercises – like squats or deadlifts – use a big bag of rice or flour to load the weight up. To avoid any messy disasters, it’s worth checking your flour is properly sealed – or better yet, transfer it into a ziplock bag just in case.

Bags of oranges

The annoying thing about a lot of improvised weights is they don’t have any handles. This can make gripping them a bit tricky, particularly as you start to sweat. A bag of oranges – the kind which come with a handle – solves this problem perfectly, and can be used for exercises like clean and presses or swings.

Stacks of books

Holding a stack of books will add plenty of weight to exercises like goblet squats, or you could place them on your knees when doing a wall sit. This one is simple to customise to how much weight you want, as you can level up with more books or just as easily lighten the load.

As an added bonus, if you succumb to the temptation of posting your workout on social media, you’ll look both fit and well-read.

A tea towel

If you normally love going to a barre class, a tea towel will be all the equipment you need. Use it as you would a resistance band, working your arms and shoulders with various pulses and exercises. It might not have quite the give you’re used to, but it will still definitely work up a sweat.

A child or pet

They might be a bit more wriggly than your normal weights, but a baby could be the perfect weight to squat with, or a toddler on your back will make planks that bit harder (just be careful).

Celebrities are also keen on this trend – in a video for Vanity Fair in January, Blake Lively said she would “work out with my girls, I would sort of use them as weights. Instead of wearing a weight vest, I get to wear my children”.

If you don’t have any kids around, why not see if your pet will be a willing workout buddy?

Bottles of detergent

These are the perfect dumbbell replacements, particularly if they have a handle you can grab onto. Make sure both bottles have the same amount of liquid in them and you can really use detergent for a full body workout – just like Chris Hemsworth.