The lack of proper weight lifting gear shouldn't bar you from getting into an effective, regular strength training routine. Even if you're not ready to invest in a quality set of barbells or resistance machines, there are still ways to build muscle and tone, using items found in almost any house. Focus on integrating elements that provide resistance in the form of weight, tension or pull and use them in the same exercises you would do with more refined equipment or at a gym. Here some items that work great in strength training, and exercises to go along with them.
Being a Bookworm Has Its Advantages
While it might seem like a clunky option, a good thick hardcover book can be great for strengthening the core muscles. Look to a thick volume, such as a hardcover dictionary, to use in abdominal exercises such as crunches.
- Keep the book on your chest as you're lifting your abs and middle up, but be sure not to strain your neck.
- You can use the book in doing exercises that focus more on your lower abs as well. Lie flat on your back with your arms fully extended above you, holding the book. Using only your stomach muscles to propel the movement, lift your shoulders straight off the ground, keeping the rest of your body flat.
- For another lower abs weight exercise, sit on a chair with your legs together and extended in front of you, feet about eight inches off the ground. Balance the book on your shins and slowly lift your legs up, keeping them extended. Lower and repeat.
All of these strength exercises will push you to further sharpen your balance as well, as you won't want the book falling on top of you in the process.
You Can Do It
If you're missing a good set of hand weights for exercises such as tricep lifts and lunges, look to cans as replacements. Dense liquid canned items such as condensed milk can work as good weights for beginner strength trainers. As you grow stronger, customize your weight size by opting for a canister, such as the ones that ground coffee comes in. You can add sand to the canister for resistance, and even increase the size of the container as your strength improves. Hold one can in each hand for lunges. You can also select one very heavy can for a tricep workout, holding it with both arms above your head. Bend your elbows to lower your forearms until they're perpendicular to the top of your head.
A Different Kind of Stretch
Look at elastic household items, such as bunji cord, as essential strength training equipment. Stretchy cords are excellent options for bicep curls and help encourage good form, especially as you're starting out. You can either make handles for the ends of the cord or just tie a knot, leaving space to loop your hands through. Step on the cord, and hold an end in each hand, palms facing upward. Raise your arms in a bicep curl motion and slowly lower, feeling the cord tighten and then slack under you.