How to Crush Your At-Home Workouts

by Kristen Troy

For the next couple of weeks, many of us will be at home, but we shouldn’t let that stop us from working towards our health and fitness goals. Working out at home may not be ideal, but it does allow us to get creative, relieve stress, help combat any boredom from being stuck in the house, help you keep a schedule, help us make use of the items in our homes to their full potential, and we may even get a new workout buddy. 

When we are at the gym, we have access to many weights and machines. At home, you may not have access to dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells, but you can use some items you may have around the house as weights. Here are some suggestions: 

  • Jug of water: Jugs with a handle can be used as dumbbells, or they can be used as a kettlebell. 
  • Bottles of wine or canned goods: Wine bottles can be used like dumbbells. If you are using two at the same time try to pick bottles that are about the same weight.  
  • Boxes of seltzer or beer: these can be used for dumbbells or like a medicine ball. Just be careful not to shake up the cans too much!  
  • Paint cans, be careful with the handles.  
  • Books. 
  • Bags of apples, oranges, potatoes, or carrots. 
  • Bags of pet food.
  • A large bottle of laundry detergent. 
  • Buckets filled with water, dirt, tiny rocks, or yard waste 
  • Water Bottles 
  • Backpacks filled with books, canned goods, etc. 
  • Chairs 

Workouts you can do at home

Here are some exercises from our trainers. Some of these workouts use equipment you may not have access to at home, but that’s okay! Modifications for each are listed below the links.

For this workout, you’ll need a workout buddy and something like a medicine ball. If you don’t have a medicine ball try using a pillow, bag of clothes, rolled blanket, basketball, soccer ball, volleyball, or any other round object.

Charmaine’s two routines involve a couple pieces of equipment you’ll need to get creative with at home. In the first couplet, there are box jumps – while you may not have the box, you can use steps, a curb, or a step stool (make sure it is sturdy, we don’t want people to get hurt). In the second couplet, there is a barbell deadlift and pull-ups. Probably a good number of us do not have barbells at home, but you can do a bodyweight deadlift or use suitcase deadlift form and lift some of the items listed above. There aren’t as many alternatives for pull-ups at home if you don’t have a bar. Some parks are still open that have outdoor jungle gyms or you may have a swing set or playground in your neighborhood.

Dina’s workout is a high-intensity workout consisting of 4-5 exercises. In her video, she goes over the form and how to modify it for your ability level. Some of the exercises use dumbbells and for these, you can use any of the above-listed items if you don’t own dumbbells. If you don’t have a kettlebell and would like to do a kettlebell swing, try a jug of water, laundry detergent bottle, or fill a small backpack or drawstring bag with some objects to add weight.

Here is a completely equipment-free workout you can do at home!

This workout will change up your typical workout. It consists of 4 exercises that are done with just your bodyweight!

Here’s another “pairs” workout you can try. Instead of using a dumbbell for the core leg raises you could use a water bottle, shaker bottle, Clorox wipes container (if you were lucky enough to get any!), a bottle of wine, beer bottle, a boot, or any number of objects! The medicine ball for the core rotations and squat throw could be replaced with a pillow, bag of clothes, rolled blanket, basketball, soccer ball, volleyball, or any other round object. Step-ups could be done on the stairs, with a curb, or with a step stool.

This total-body workout uses dumbbells in every exercise but you can switch those out with any number of the suggestions from the list of weight substitutes.

Becky shows 5 exercises that can be done anywhere. For the decline push-up, you could put your legs on the couch, a coffee table, a chair seat, or create a pile of books. The tricep dips can be done with a firm chair, don’t use a soft seat because it will alter your form and could hurt your wrists.

Deb has three Tabata workouts that you can try. The first one doesn’t require any equipment. The second workout uses gliders but if you have tile or laminate floors you could wear socks and have a similar effect as the gliders. On carpeted floors you could use furniture gliders if you have them or using paper plates. The third workout uses weights so look for substitutes from the list above.

3 of 5 of these moves don’t require any equipment. The “press and raise” uses a resistance band, but can be done by doing the same motion while holding a can or other substitute weight. You can choose to do the plank row with just bodyweight or add some cans or other substitute weights.

Have you always wanted to try kickboxing? This article explains some basic positions and movements and then puts them together to show combinations. You can do these combinations without a punching bag so it becomes a no-equipment workout!

We have more workout videos from our trainers coming your way. Keep an eye out over the next couple of days for these videos to add variety to your home workouts.


Hockessin Athletic Club opened its doors on June 10 2007. Boasting over 100,000 sq. ft., a 5-pool aquatics complex, and over 200+ weekly group and aqua fitness classes, it is Delaware's premier fitness destination. 100 Fitness Way, Hockessin, DE ·

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