by Lora Mays
Starting a strength-training program can be done without a gym membership or any fancy equipment. Believe it or not, your home is brimming with tools that can help you build your muscles and create a strength training workout right at home.
Here are five household items to use for easy workouts at home:
Perhaps the most diverse tool, stairs can be used to build up your strength as well as your aerobic fitness. Stairs can be used for calf raises, incline push ups, tricep dips and if wide enough, box jumps. In addition, you can add stair climbs to your workout to get your heart pumping.
- Packaged food items
Look in your pantry and you likely have canned food items, which can serve as weights. Grab a can that fits comfortably in your hand and build up your arm and shoulder strength with bicep curls, upright rows and front raises. Focusing on smaller, controlled movements can isolate specific muscles and build up their strength significantly, even without the heaviest of weights.
- Scarves and belts
In lieu of resistance bands, grab a scarf or a belt to do the trick when strengthening your arms, legs or even core. For those who have limited experience in strength training, these accessories offer a great start for building strength and mastering techniques before adding weight. In addition, scarves and belts can be useful in stretching your muscles, which helps to increase flexibility and overall strength.
- Empty drink containers
Clean out an empty gallon milk container and fill it with water or another weight-bearing element, like dirt from your backyard. Make sure you seal the cover well with tape. You have now created a modified medicine ball, which can be used for a variety of exercises, such as Russian twists or modified toe touches.
Towels can be used for more than wiping the sweat off your face. In fact, towels are useful for abdominal workouts. A favorite: On your hands and knees, with your back level, place the towel underneath your hands. Using your abdominal muscles, push your arms forward, keeping your back straight. Once you are as low as you can go, bring yourself back up using your abdominal muscles. Like scarves and belts, towels can be used in place of resistance bands and can help you use your body weight to build up strength.
A Road Runners Club of America certified running coach, Lora Mays has more than 15 years of running and fitness experience. She started running marathons in 2006 and in fall of 2013, completed her 14th. When she isn’t running, she is busy writing about health and fitness on her personal blog, Crazy Running Girl.