Improve your stay-at-home workouts with these household objects


Senior Harper Zondlak does Russian twists with the gallon jug.

Harper Zondlak, Staff Writer

Kettlebell swings with the gallon jug

With our current situation, whether you’re training for an upcoming season, trying to get fit for the summer, or prevent that “Quarantine 15,” working out at home is the only option. However, working out at home can raise some challenges. At the gym, there is an endless variety of equipment, machines, and free weights. Without weights at home, a good workout doesn’t feel as rewarding. Bodyweight exercises are great, but they often can’t take someone to his/her fitness goal alone.

No weights at home? No problem! There is exercise equipment all around you. Keep working to your goal and incorporate some household items as weights into your routine. A milk jug, a chair, and some paper plates can level up your workout game. There are endless workout opportunities with three common items you can find in your kitchen!

Fill a gallon jug full of water or sand for your at-home weight. A full bottle of laundry detergent or a bag of heavy books works too. The gallon jug is perfect for kettlebell swings and weighted lunges. It also does wonders for the upper body; fitness YouTuber V-fit advises using the gallon jug for curls, tricep kickbacks and lateral raises. For those working toward their summer six-pack, the gallon jug can be used for Russian twists and weighted side bends.

Dips with the chair

Another multifunctional household item to incorporate into your workout routine is a chair! A folding chair or kitchen chair can be used to strengthen that core! Junior athlete and fitness guru Luke Ballard recommends V-sit crunches and pike holds for ab exercises using a chair. The balance aspect on a chair engages the core and challenges one’s kinesthetic intelligence. A regular old chair can also be a tool for building the upper body; dips and elevated push ups are two chair exercises certain to get those arms burning! For the lower body, single leg seated squats and elevated glute bridges are an effective option with the chair.

Captain of Carnegie Mellon University’s women’s soccer team, Maddy Lui, has innovated the at-home workout game by incorporating paper plates. On carpet, paper plates work as sliders; on hard flooring, towels, T-shirts, or thick socks slide wonderfully too.

Lui uses paper plates for core exercises, such as sliding mountain climbers, wide mountain climbers, and frogs. These at-home sliders can also be used for lateral and reverse lunges to target the lower body. Plus, paper plates can make one’s push-up game strong with sliding push-ups and arm circles, which is recommended by URBN Fit.

Sliding push-ups with the paper plates

A gallon jug, a chair, and two paper plates are fantastic for building and toning muscle. For cardio, it is a bit more difficult to do at home. Running on local trails (six feet apart from anyone), and doing sprints or hill runs in your yard are all great options for cardio. Jumping cardio at home is relatively easy: line hops, standing knee-to-elbows, jumping jacks and ice skaters. Walking, running, or jumping up and down stairs is a gratifying option for cardio and coordination.

YouTube has thousands of workout videos to follow along to as well. V-fit has at-home workout videos including the gallon jug. There are more at at-home workouts on Critical Bench’s channel, and slider workouts that can be substituted with paper plates. The channel Mad-fit also has wonderful cardio ab workouts and bodyweight routines. Pretty much any type of workout you are looking for will be somewhere on YouTube. It is the perfect way to workout if you are unaware of what exercises to do or if you prefer having a coach or trainer.

The aspect of going to the gym, talking with your workout buddies, and being encouraged by the people around you seems hard to replicate. In our day and age, your gym buddies are just one Zoom call away. Arranging a time for a team or group workout keeps you fit and happy!

Working out at home doesn’t have to be challenging! Overcoming a little functional fixedness can go a long way. Utilizing a few household items, using the internet as a resource, and connecting with your workout buddies can elevate your home exercise! Keep working toward your fitness goals. Quarantine can’t stop the grind!


Workout Plan:

Upperbody Lowerbody Core
Gallon Jug Curls

Tricep Kickback

Weighted Lunges

Kettlebell Swings

Russian Twists

Weighted Side Bend

Chair Dips

Elevated Push-ups

Hip Thrust

Single Leg Seated Squats

Pike Hold

V-Sit Crunches

Paper Plates Arm Circles

Sliding Push-ups

Sliding Lateral Lunges

Sliding Reverse Lunges

Mountain Climbers

Wide Mountain Climbers