It's becoming increasingly clear that all people fall into one of two groups: the have-a-home-gyms, and the have-not-a-home-gyms. If you're one of the lucky former, feel free to stop reading right here—you already have all you need! We'll see you and your toned self come summer. And, if you're not, a piece of good news: you probably have all you need for a bicep burning, arm shaking weight workout, too. You'll just need to get a little creative in the pantry. Whether you're looking for a little boost for your digital workout or to take this time to bulk up, there's a household object that just so happens to be a perfect readymade weight. Here's your new workout equipment:
Good for: Aerobic exercises that need a little more punch.
The equipment: Any 6-ounce tomato paste (or chipotle peppers) can you have lying around weighs approximately half a pound; canned black beans weigh about 1 pound each, and an unlit candle clocks in at around a pound and a half.
These baby weights speak to two diametrically opposed groups of people: those who’d rather not work out at all and workout overachievers. For the former group the jig is simple: do whatever weight-lifting exercise you’d normally (somehow, someway) will yourself to do and stop there. Bicep curls and step-ups will never be easier. Alternatively, overachievers can use these small weights to up the ante on their cardio. Grab a can or two and dial up jumping jacks, boxing jabs, and planks. And if you’re using candles, may we suggest that you burn them in between sessions? Your place will smell better and your workouts will get progressively easier—a win-win scenario if there ever was one.
About 2 pounds
Good for: Exercises where you need to raise your arms, like shoulder presses or tricep extensions.
The equipment: You know those huge 24-ounce tomato cans? (And if you don’t you should get familiar; it’s a requirement for Marcella Hazan’s super-clutch tomato sauce.) Each weighs close to 2 pounds, as does a bottle of wine or canola oil, if either of those are easier for you to get your hands on. A big bottle of dish soap, on the other hand, weighs just under 3 pounds.
In the 2-pound range you’re going to get a workout that’s challenging but not overwhelming. Use these bottles for chest or shoulder presses, or tricep extensions—they’re weighty enough to make you feel the burn, but not so heavy that you’ll waste all your energy trying to find a comfortable grip. You can also fill the dish soap bottle with water after you’ve depleted it of soap. You’re probably using more dish soap these days anyway...
3 - 4 pounds
Good for: Core-focused workouts like crunches, or lower body moves a la weighted squats or lunges.
The equipment: A full bottle of orange juice! One weighs close to 4 pounds, or you can split the difference with two water-filled Nalgene bottles, which amount to a pound and a half each.
You know those extra credit crunches, where mid-crunch you swing your upper body left to right? Grabbing a juice bottle and holding it right above your chest will force your core to activate even more—call it the extra extra credit crunch. And when you’re done with that move, get up! With two water bottles in your hand, hold your arms long and lunge forward. Look at you! You’re practically a gym rat now.
Good for: Bulking up, obviously! If you’re not deadlift-averse, this one’s for you.
The equipment: It really depends on how much liquid you’re working with, but a full bottle of laundry detergent comes in at around 7.5 pounds. Or you can lighten your load just a tad with a big bag of rice for around 5 pounds.
Rice! Good for bulking up in a few ways. There’s the oral route and then there’s the exercise method. Speaking to the latter, use a big bag of it to perform a deadlift. Or nix the rice altogether and go for a bottle of laundry detergent—it’s a kettlebell now! Hold it while you work out a few reps of squats or go straight to the kettlebell good stuff—the kettlebell swing, ooh la la.
Photo via ITG.