8 Items That Double as Homemade Workout Equipment for Your Home Gym

No dumbbells? No problem. Try these fitness equipment alternatives at home.

Working out at home has plenty of perks: no commute, a bevy of online workouts to choose from, and a couch to throw yourself onto after sweating it out. Of course, there are some notable drawbacks, especially when dealing with a makeshift home gym situation. Specifically, losing access to smaller-scale gym accessories that can take your workout to the next level. Not all hope is lost, though. Consider these household items as easy workout equipment swaps the next time you're in a pinch, according to trainers.

01 of 08

Weighted Vest: A Filled Backpack

A weighted vest adds extra weight to your body, which can increase your heart rate faster, better engage muscles, make you work harder, and generally maximize your workout. An easy at-home swap is a filled backpack worn on your back or your front.

"You can keep this on during your regular workouts as long as there is no pain or discomfort," says elite trainer Jen Selter. "If you have stairs in your house or apartment building, I would also recommend using the backpack to work out the glutes and quads on the stairs. That way you're also getting in a bit of cardio, as well." Filling suggestions: water bottles or books.

02 of 08

Dumbbells: Bags of Rice/Beans or Water Bottles

If you've got a couple of bags of dry rice or beans on hand, they make a great alternative to lighter-weight dumbbells. Another option is filled water bottles, says celebrity trainer Phil Catudal. "Instead of one second up, one second down—which are in line with regular tempo reps—try three seconds on each part of the movement, making each rep much slower and concentrated," Catudal advises. This makes up for the lighter weight and creates more impact per movement. Cans work as dumbbell replacements, too, but can sometimes feel a bit bulky or awkward during certain moves.

03 of 08

Resistance Bands: Tied Pantyhose

Tied pantyhose provide just enough flexibility to create a bit of tension during certain movements. For example: You can place the loop just above your knees while doing hip thrusts, or you can hold either end of the loop straight out in front of you and tug outward during high knees or butt kicks.

04 of 08

Medicine Ball: Larger Sports Ball

For a lighter-weight medicine ball, pretty much any large sports ball you have on hand will fit the bill, including a volleyball, soccer ball, or basketball. "These aren't going to be the heaviest but will still get the job done whether you're working out your abs, legs, arms, or simply focusing on balance," says Selter.

05 of 08

Heavier Medicine Ball: Jug of Laundry Detergent

If you need a bit more weight, a hefty jug of laundry detergent can save the day. "You can use it for movements like Russian twists or overhead sit-ups," says Lauren McAlister, a fitness expert for Mindbody and co-owner of McAlister Training." Another idea is to use it in a side-plank to work both your core and shoulders at the same time. To do this, set the jug to one side of your body, reach through with the opposite arm and pull it across to the other side. Just make sure the lid is on tight." A jug of laundry detergent also makes a good kettlebell swap.

06 of 08

Bench Press: Large Bags of Pet Food

"If you are looking to do barbell curls, a bench press, overhead extensions, or any other barbell exercise including deadlifts and squats, use a big, heavy bag of pet food or grains and complete your reps," says Catudal. "Make sure you try to evenly distribute the weight. If it's stubbornly lopsided, switch sides halfway through your reps."

07 of 08

Gliders: Paper Plates

Fitness gliders are flat plastic discs often used to help engage the core during floor exercises. "I personally like to use gliders on the floor for my leg and ab workouts. If you don't have access to them, paper or plastic plates are a great household alternative," says Selter.

08 of 08

Pistol or Sit-Squats: Your Couch

Your couch can be a real treasure during all sorts of workouts. One of Catudal's favorite ways to utilize the couch is for pistol (single leg) squats or sit-squats. "If you feel like you need some leg burn, try doing sit-squats and pistol squats (single leg) onto and off of your couch," Catudal suggests. "Touching the cushion each time forces you to go low enough to get a full repetition and provides padding in case you fall." Your couch also comes in handy for tricep dips, incline/decline pushups, and incline/decline running planks.

RELATED: You Can Do This Stairs Workout in 15 Minutes—at Home

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