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No Gym? How to Setup an Easy No-Cost At-Home Fitness Center with Exercise Ideas

With many of us having to exercise safe distancing without compromising our health, we, at SportPort, are taking our work and our gyms home. We thought we’d give you some ideas on how to get the full benefits for creating an easy, comprehensive, at-home workout routine -- no cost, no gym membership needed -- so that we can all stay safe and healthy during these unprecedented times. Here are common household objects, and exercises you can do with them, to get an effective “sweat sesh” (sweat session) right in your own living room!

10 Easy Exercise Objects Already in Your Home

Fortunately, staying healthy and active doesn’t require a gym membership. Believe it or not, your home is probably filled with free exercise machines and objects -- you just need to know what to look for!  While you may already have some exercise equipment at home such as stretch bands, a yoga mat, free weights or even a treadmill, the following objects can also double as useful pieces of fitness equipment for a customized at-home workout.

  1. A Countertop
  2. A Chair
  3. A Broom or Mop
  4. Container/Jug/Bottle/Can
  5. Steps & Stairs
  6. A Wall
  7. A Towel
  8. A Heavy Book
  9. A Backpack
  10. A Couch Cushion

At-Home Exercise Ideas That Don’t Require Big, Expensive Gym Machines

  1. Counter Push Ups: Strengthen your chest and arms by engaging in countertop push-ups. Bend your elbows and lower your straight body closer to the counter, being at a 45-degree angle, stopping when your elbows are by your ribs. These are fantastic exercises to sneak in while you’re waiting for the oven to preheat or water to boil.
  1. Chair Exercises: Whether you’re practicing leg raises or trying to perfect your squats, a sturdy chair -- without wheels -- is an excellent addition to your routine. Practice tricep dips. For a greater challenge, place your heels on the edge of another chair. Raise and lower yourself until your elbows are bent between 45 and 90 degrees. You can also use a chair for decline push-ups by keeping your feet on the chair and your hands on the floor.
  1. Broom Stick Tricks: Aside from sweeping, a broom can also work your glutes, hips, and core as well as your legs, buttocks, shoulders, and arms. You can use a staff, bat, cane or long stick too. Using a stick, you can shake things up by adding oblique twists, holding the broom above your shoulder and twisting your core from side to side. Try holding your stick in both hands, arms straight above your head, as you lower your buttocks toward the ground.
  1. Container Weights: Household items such as milk jugs, laundry detergent containers, water bottles, and soup cans can be used like dumbbells or hand weights. Try to incorporate some kettle-bell swings, overhead presses, tricep kickbacks, or front raises -- all exercises that strengthen your upper back, shoulders, and arms. Put rocks in empty paint cans and use them for squats. Carry jugs of water up and down the stairs. Need less weight? Use a smaller container.
at-home stair exercises
  1. Stair Steps: Who needs a treadmill or a StairMaster when you have a staircase to use instead? Running or walking up and down the stairs is a fantastic way to exercise your glutes and get your heart pumping -- right in the comfort of your own home. Add weight resistance by carrying a heavy object while you do.
  1. Wall Exercises: Not only do walls provide stability when you’re stretching, but they are also useful for doing wall push-ups and wall-sits. To work your glutes and quads, keep your back against the wall, assume a squatting position, and push your weight back into the wall as you lower your body, creating a 90-degree angle between your thighs and calves.
  1. Towel Stretches: Don’t have a stability ball or resistance band? Use a towel for a killer arm workout or to help with stretching. Wanting to work your legs? Lie on a smooth (non-carpeted!) floor in a plank position with a towel placed under each foot. Try to glide your legs apart and back together again. You can also take your workout outside by tossing the towel over a sturdy tree, holding onto each end, and doing some pull-ups.
  1. Book Weights & Balances: Almost any exercise you do while holding a weight or a medicine ball can be done with a heavy book. Try holding a book when doing weighted sit-ups or weighted oblique twists. You can also sit on a chair with your legs together and outstretched, balance a book on your shins, and slowly raise and lower your legs.
  1. Backpack Weights: Fill a backpack with canned foods or books, strap it on your back, and wear it around the house while doing chores (bonus points if it’s equipped with a cross-chest strap for extra support!). You can also wear it while doing exercises such as pushups, lunges, and squats or take it off and use the straps to perform shoulder presses, curls, or makeshift kettle-bell swings.
  1. Cushion Balance Exercises: If you are looking to work on your balance, couch cushions are a great alternative to expensive balance tools, mainly because your body must work harder to stand and stay stable on top of the soft stuffing-filled or foam surface. You can also try doing pushups on them or split squats by placing one foot on the floor and one foot on the cushion.

If you are looking to take your work and gym home with you and you don’t have access to traditional exercise equipment, don’t worry! You can still get your sweat on. As long as you have a few common household objects on-hand (check your garage -- there are many unexpected workout tools in there!), you can piece together a full-body workout to match nearly any gym-based fitness routine. As is the case with any exercise routine -- at the gym or at home -- remember to work at your own pace and fitness level.

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