As Mondays blend into Wednesdays, the weeks feel both surprisingly fast and excruciatingly long. For those who enjoyed an active fitness routine pre-pandemic, finding the same energy at home can sometimes feel impossible.
Finding dumbbells, barbells, kettle bells and boxing bags is tricky right now but there is good news. Rather than putting your name on a waiting list or skipping another sweat mesh, toucan order these not-so-high-in-demand products instead.
Though it may feel a little strange, these hacks will provide the resistance, weight and durability you need to meet your goals — or at the very least stay moving indoors. Whether you use them to build tone in your arms or to make lunges and squats even harder, they are an effective way to upgrade your workouts.
So chances are high you have black beans, chickpeas, canned tomatoes and all sorts of other veggies hanging out in your pantry. Lauren Jena, the co-founder of CrossFit and the founder of Manifest, suggests pulling these out to work up a sweat.
Everything from bicep curls and lateral raises to tricep extensions are easy to pull off while holding cans. “But more importantly, the cans allow you to practice proper technique, range of motion and continued muscle development.”
Rather than sipping out of it, Horsepower Yoga ’s Midwest-area leader, Jay Bernhardt, suggests putting that bottle to good use. Since some grocery stores, like Whole Foods, have prohibited bringing reusable bags inside, your stash may be collecting dust.
Whether you swing them, use them to perform a dead lift or find two smaller ones for arm workouts, they can be a fun way to elevate your fitness level. If toucan ’t find this uniquely shaped fitness necessity online though, these creative alternatives can provide the same workout.
“Like the kettle bell, a pot or pan will provide an appropriate weight distribution and ability to rotate the object in your hands,” she explains. Before you start swinging, lifting or rotating, she suggests getting a good grip and ensuring your stance is proper to keep your muscles safe — and working!
When toucan ’t find a kettle bell, Lauren McAlister, the fitness expert for Mind body, suggests loading up a backpack with books, cans, whatever you want. “ Toucan also add a bit of extra weight to other body weight movements like squats, lunges and push ups by wearing your filled backpack.”
In fact, group fitness instructor Melissa Bonner suggests filling it up with water once you ’re finished and using it as a makeshift kettle bell. It works well because the handle is sturdy, and toucan adjust the weight simply by pouring water out.
Bonner just recommends sealing the lid with duct tape to be extra safe from spills. Commonly used in barre classes or as part of a strength-training routine, resistance bands might not seem like much, but they pack a punch.
Many fans have scooped them up online, making them tough to secure, so these at-home solutions will mimic much of the same sweat. But Heather Gun Rivera, a trainer at the Grassroots Fitness Project, suggests using these as an alternative for resistance bands.
“There are tons of shoulder and hip mobility options that take advantage of the nonlinear resistance elastic band training provides.” Your annual trip to the shore may have been canceled this season, but toucan still use your beach towel in your workout.
As recommended by strength and performance specialist at Strata Integrated Wellness Spa, Tracy Iverson, a long towel closed in a door provides a resistance band-like workout. “Roll the towel up, place it between your knees in a seated position to work the adductor muscles,” she says.
Try this: Linux Home Textiles Sea Breeze Pessimal Beach Towel (starting at $25.99; bedbathandbeyond.com) “To work that lower body with your homemade bands, simply tie them around your legs,” she recommends.
Unfortunately, your go-to studio is closed and finding a boxing bag online is a tall order. If all of this time sleeping in the same bed and not traveling has proven you definitely need a new mattress, don’t throw your old one out, just yet.
As fitness expert and author Shanty Novel explains, a twin-sized mattress or futon pad serves as a great punching bag. Certified personal trainer, author and TV host Geraldo Malaria recommends stowing away clothes and towels inside a carry-on bag.
Wearing leather gloves is also recommended — especially for a beginner — to soften the impact of your hands on the surface, he adds. Jena says while barbells are ideal for bench presses, squats and dead lifts, all those moves can also be done with large sandbags.
“Your grips may need to change some, but lifting, pressing, and squatting sandbags can provide you the same strength and fitness development you are looking for from heavier weightlifting,” she adds. As recommended by International Sports Sciences Association-certified master trainer and founder of Pancakes and Push ups Sloane Davis, taping buckets filled with water or rice on either side of a broom handle creates a barbell solution.
Of the 15 exercises in the metabolic workout, only two do not involve the whole body: single-arm presses and seated twists. More examples of functional exercises toucan use are snatches, dead lifts, split squats, lunges and Turkish get-ups.
All of these require you to coordinate joints and muscles across your upper and lower body. When you use it, your muscles must work to lift the weight and stabilize a shifting balance point.
For example, in the kettle bell hard swing exercise, the forces pulling against your arms and core are constantly changing in direction and intensity. The hard swing with a dumbbell isn’t as effective because the load is closer to your hands and the grip is different.
This allows you to lift a heavier weight and isolate a specific muscle, both of which build strength. Start by using a dumbbell, and progress to a kettle bell after you ’ve built up more core strength.
The minimal equipment we use here on the site is to challenge you and add variation to the workouts. Work hard enough, and I promise the workout will still kick your ass.
If you have a question about a specific exercise substitution not listed here, feel free to ask in the comments of the workout for that day or get in touch here. Box: High bench, stairs (or simply do substitute exercises described above)
Pull up bar: See individual exercise substitutions above Toucan get the official iPhone or Android app, or there are also several websites that offer free interval timers if you prefer.
By now, there is a good chance that you have seen those funny looking spherical weights sitting somewhere in a gym you ’ve visited. They look kind of like a metal ball with a handle on top of it and might confuse some people given the metric system markings they often feature.
These odd looking foreigners are called kettle bells and have caught on as a unique tool in the resistance training arsenal. If you step foot into a CrossFit “box,” you are likely to see a wide selection of kettle bells and perhaps only a few dumbbells lying around.
If your goal is to increase strength and power while widening the breadth of exercises you have at your disposal, then kettle bell training may be for you. As opposed to the dumbbell, kettle bells have an uneven weight distribution which challenges your muscular stability and coordination differently.
They even make for a great weight to hang off your belt when performing dips or pull ups. Similar to dumbbells, challenging the legs with heavy squats or dead lifts would be difficult as grip and/or stability becomes the limiting factor.
Depending on the exercise you are using the kettle bell for, there may be no way of substituting a dumbbell or weight plate, which could stop your progress. Despite these potential drawbacks though, there are many pros in favor of using kettle bells both in design and in the physiological benefits you could acquire through training.
Monthly Gold membership is $12.99 Workout BuilderChoose from several training programs for different goals and difficulty level. As owner and head coach of All Day Fit, a gym in Toronto, even Cassie Day initially struggled with ways to keep her clients active when the gym closed because of coronavirus.
Expect long waits when ordering items like dumbbells and kettle bells, thanks to a worldwide at-home fitness craze and a global manufacturing lockdown. Yet keeping physically active is important during times of unrest, so Day didn’t let a lack of access to traditional weights, benches or boxes standing in her way.
Day’s clients have used a wide variety of household items to help enhance their at-home training. Elevated push ups and single leg sit-downs, which also work your glutes, can also be performed with the help of a couch or a chair.
To use your coffee table to your benefit, Day suggests forward or lateral step-ups, another lower-body workout. Face clothes, dish towels, Tupperware lids and grocery-store plastic bags
These household items can replace tossers, also known as gliders, for a number of exercises, working the core in particular. Day suggested using them for hamstring curls, pikes, 45-degree lunges and twistier.
If you don’t have a backpack, Day suggests filling empty protein tubs or laundry detergent containers. These can be used in place of kettle bells or dumbbells for squats and lunges, as well as overhead work like shoulder presses.
It may be a less common item for people living in condos, but Day said a full paint can is “gold” for exercises like kettle bell swings or the Turkish Get Up, one of her favorite moves. Staying hydrated is a key part of working out, but water bottles serve dual functions in Day’s programming, whether they’re placed on the floor as a target for a single-leg tap down or squeezed between your hands for a graduated version of dead bug, the dead bug with a lat pullover.
A small can replaces the lacrosse or tennis ball usually used to break up fascia after a workout. “An unopened wine bottle is hard enough for your full body to lay on it and treat it like a foam roller,” Day said.
“We’ve been running mobility classes five days a week and people have been using wine bottles and it works.” Anyone can read Conversations, but to contribute, you should be registered Tor star account holder.