7 Weight Substitutions for Your Resistance Workouts

Krystal Clark

| 2 min read

2 women training at home
Exercise is often synonymous with the gym and bulky equipment. Yet, you don’t need dumbbells or weight machines to get an effective workout. Many household items can provide adequate resistance that generates visible results.
Here are seven weight substitutions to use for your next home workout.
  • Canned Goods: Beginners or people with certain limitations can use canned goods to set a baseline for their routine. Most weigh between 10 and 12 ounces and can be used for side extensions, overhead presses, lateral raises, and weighted lunges. These pantry staples easily help tone and strengthen the upper body.
  • Bag of Flour: Flour can be substituted with rice, beans, or any bag of dry goods currently in your kitchen. Depending on your goals, these items can weigh between one and 10 pounds each. They can be used for higher resistance moves such as the sumo squat, oblique twist, and wood chop.
  • Jug of Water: A gallon of water or milk is a simple substitute for any hand weight. One jug can weigh roughly eight pounds, which is great for intermediate or advanced training. Try some of the following exercises: chest press, squat, bicep curl, deadlift, and bent over row.
  • Laundry Detergent: Did you know a gallon or more of laundry detergent can mimic a kettlebell? Choose a container with a wide handle that you can easily grip and maneuver. This is critical for avoiding injuries and unexpected messes. Common exercises include goblet squats, double-arm high-pulls, single-arm rows, and two-handed swings.
  • Backpack: A backpack can be filled with books, bottles, or even sand. It’s a convenient option that allows the user to adjust the weight according to their fitness level. Backpacks can perform in the same way as a weighted vest to amplify certain workouts. This includes walking, running, pushups, planks, burpees, and crunches.
  • Paint Cans: Like laundry detergent, paint cans can be used for various kettlebell movements. A one-gallon container is great to start building a strength routine. It provides a full-body workout that targets the arms, legs, and core. Try front lateral raises, one-hand overhead presses, lunges, and paint-can curls.
  • Your Own Bodyweight: The most convenient and affordable form of resistance training is body weight exercises. They’re customizable, functional and more importantly, free. Try your hand at these workouts: calf-jumps, declined pushups, pull-ups, chair dips, back extensions, pistol squats, and mountain climbers.
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Photo credit: kumikomini

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