Maybe you think you really ought to start weight training, or perhaps you’ve already been doing a little lifting but you’ve outgrown your starter set of super-light dumbbells and think you could use a bit more of a challenge. Either way, did you know you’ve probably already got access to a wide range of weights of all sizes, and you won’t have to set foot in a gym or spend a single dime to start lifting these weights right away?
All you’ve got to do is stroll over to your kitchen or hall closet and start assembling your DIY weight set out of stuff you’ve already got in the house. The following are just some suggestions to get you going. Feel free to improvise, after all, since nearly everything has weight and can be lifted. Though you maybe shouldn’t try lifting any priceless antiques, delicate electronics, or easily-angered pets (or family members).
Look for these lighter weights around the house
If you just want some very light weights to lift, AOL In the Know offers the info that five pieces of cutlery weigh about 11.5 ounces. If this is so, then seven pieces of cutlery would equal about one pound. If you secure these with a rubber band or hair tie, you’ve got yourself a one-pound hand weight. Know what else weighs one pound? A lot of stuff in cans, like a can of beans or a can of soup. Even a pint-sized can of beer (although it’s only at this weight before you start chugging).
Want something just a little heavier? A 32-ounce bag of oats or flour or sugar = 2 pounds (one pound weighing 16 ounces, for anyone who attended elementary school in Canada and learned that mystifying metric system instead). An average bag of apples may weigh about three pounds, while a half-gallon carton of milk weighs four pounds.
Household items you can use as medium weights
A sack of potatoes tends to weigh five pounds, at least if you haven’t used up too many of the potatoes. It might also have a handy little strap that will help you lift it. You know what’s really handy, though? Stuff with handles. IronTribe Fitness suggests that a 72-ounce bottle of laundry detergent (4.5 pounds, if full) makes a great substitute kettlebell for exercises like curls, squats, squat thrusts, and overhead lunges.
A gallon of water, milk, juice, or anything else you might happen to have a gallon of will make a heavier kettlebell or dumbbell since one gallon weighs eight pounds. If you are thinking about using a milk jug, though, it’s probably best to wait until you’ve finished drinking the milk, then rinsing the jug out and refilling it with water. Otherwise, your milk risks spending too much time out of the fridge, and this won’t help milk stay fresh.
If you’re looking for a 10-pound weight, look no further than the nearest 12-pack of soda or sparkling water. According to Reference, a 12-pack of 12-ounce cans (plus packaging) weighs right about 10 pounds. The package may be a bit awkward to incorporate into some exercises, but the weight will give you a workout and the contents can help rehydrate you once you’re done.
What you can use for heavier weights
If you want to do some heavier lifting, check your pet’s food. If you’ve got a teacup Yorkie and you only buy itty-bitty bags of dog food, these may not be much help. If your canine companion is a Bullmastiff and his chow comes in a 40-pound sack, there’s your heavy weight right there. Other items you might consider could be a 24-pack of soda (20 pounds) or a 30-pack of beer (25 pounds).
Finally, the most customizable, yet convenient-to-lift, DIY weight might be a blast from the past — a backpack. Surely you remember how much these darn things weighed when you had to drag one back and forth to school every day? Well, you can put that weight to good use now. Fill your backpack with books — Reference reveals that these range from about a pound for a paperback to over five pounds for a super-thick textbook (the kind nobody ever even opens) — then strap it on before you perform any squats, lunges, or pushups. You could also grasp the backpack by its straps, then use it for curls, shoulder presses, and “kettlebell” swings. If you’ve made the switch to ebooks and don’t have any print books in the house, no problem — just fill your backpack with canned food instead, or anything else weighty but unbreakable that you happen to have on hand.
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