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No Weights? No Problem!

Everyday Items You Can Implement for At-Home Strength and Rehab Exercises

Having fancy work out equipment is great! However, we don’t always have the gym or physical therapy resources at our disposal. Lack of fancy equipment should never stand between you and your workout or physical therapy exercises! Whether you are traveling away from your normal set up, preparing for a telehealth physical therapy session, or trying to get in a quality workout without trekking to the gym, here are some great equipment swaps you can implement to make using everyday objects that you likely already have.

Foam Rollers.

Foam rollers are a rehab and recovery staple. Yet it is impractical to waste valuable space packing a foam roller when you travel. Instead, you can use a sturdy water bottle. Although a little smaller in diameter, your typical metal water bottle is a sufficient substitute. Additionally, if you prefer using a roller stick but don’t have one handy, you can use a rolling pin in its place. A soccer or basketball can also be used to roll out your mid back.


Kettlebells and dumbbells are great, but if you don’t have a home gym, don’t despair. Here are some solid substitutes:

  • A bag of flour/sugar or rice

  • Cans of vegetables/beans, peanut butter ect for light weights with arm or core exercises

  • Laundry detergent - standard size weighs about 9lbs

  • Gallon of Milk (or water) -weighs around 8.5 lbs

  • Dog Food/Cat Food/Kitty Litter - weight varies by size, and can be a bit bulky, but can easily be used for exercises like squats

  • Water Bottle - you can also use that same water bottle you used to foam roll as light weight, filling it up with water for added resistance. In fact, you can even use it like a shake weight or body blade for endurance exercises!

Stretching Strap.

Stretch out straps can be handy, but plenty of household items can be used in their place including:

- belt

- dog leash

- jump rope

- towel or sheet

Resistance Bands.

Resistance bands are pretty versatile, and if you are an active person, it is probably worth investing in a set. However, if you are in a pinch, a bike inner tube can replace a heavy resistance band.

Balance Cushion or Pad.

Bosu balls and airex balance pads are great ways to challenge your balance with a more variable surface. Other ways to challenge your balance at home can include:

  • Couch cushion - if your couch cushions come off, standing on one can be a great way to challenge stability.

  • Pillow - especially a squishy memory foam pillow works well

  • Dog bed - your pet might be a bit confused

Plyo Box/Aerobic Step.

  • Regular stairs can be a nice alternative for jumping exercises, just make sure the surface is not slippery and there is plenty of clearance overhead

  • A sturdy coffee table or chair can be used for step up or hip thrust exercises as well

Now that you have the equipment basics at your disposal, there’s no better time to start an at home workout routine. If you are new to working out, you don’t need to start with heavy weights to feel the benefits, even body weight exercises can be highly beneficial. If you are in need of more specific guidance and a detailed program tailored to your athletic interests and goals, we at Zenith Performance and Wellness are here for you. You can click here to schedule performance physical therapy, or personal training with us today.

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