If you don’t have time to leave your loft, feel socially anxious about fitness centers, or just have a natural aversion to membership dues, we’ve come up with ways to work out in total privacy using 11 different, everyday items in your apartment right now:
Backpack. Load up your backpack with as many dense, heavy objects as you can handle—soup cans, big books, or sturdy, full liquid containers—to serve as weights for a variety of exercises: squat presses, deadlift rows, pushups, and lunges.
Laundry detergent bottles. Complete with easy-to-grab handles, laundry detergent bottles make great options for kettlebells, counterweights or free weights for strength training. Fill empty bottles with sand, or just delay washing for a couple of days and use them as-is.
Five-gallon buckets. It’s surprising how hardcore your workout can get with 5-gallon buckets from past home improvement projects. They can hold items weighing up to 70 pounds, which makes them great for squats and lifts, or even as stabilizers for bench presses.
Paper plates. Leftover party plates serve as excellent sliders, especially in apartments or homes with carpets or no hardwood floors. Use them beneath your feet or hands for exercises like lateral lunges, mountain climbers, sliding burpees, pushups or curls.
Stairs. A staple of loft living, the humble staircase, happens to be a nearly perfect vehicle for cardiovascular workouts. In addition to the step-up and full-flight walk-up and -down, stairs can be used for push-ups, lunges, side-steps, and hops.
Chairs. There’s almost no seated exercise normally done at the gym that you can’t do at home with a typical, non-swiveling chair. Bend-overs, arm circles, hip thrusts, and leg lifts can all be accomplished in a normal sitting position. You can also use the seat of a chair for support in squats, planks and triceps dips, and use the back as arm support for calf raises.
Brooms and mops. Handles on brooms or mops are ideal as body bars for bracing your hands in an outstretched position. This helps you master overhead presses, and abdominal twists and bends with the broom held up behind your neck.
Towels. In a pinch, beach towels make perfectly usable yoga mats. On hard-surfaced floors, dishtowels can serve as sliders, much like paper plates can on carpets (see above).
Walls. Using a vertical surface for exercises you might normally do on the floor can intensify your workout thanks to the gravitational shift. With a wall supporting your feet, lunges, squats, lift-ups, and elevated push-ups can make a huge difference in your muscle tone.
Countertops. Using a countertop’s edge to steady your hands for upright push-ups is a common solution for most homebound fitness hounds. You can also use it for balance with squats and lifts.
Stepstools. Of course, you can use stepstools for traditional step-up and step-back exercises, seeing how “step” is part of the name. But the stepstool is also good for elevated exercises a little lower to the ground than chairs, including leg extensions, uneven push-ups, and quick toe-taps