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Opinion

4 Household Items You Can Use for a Killer Workout

Bodyweight exercises are great when you're working out at home, but these tools can take things next level.

You’re stuck at home for whatever reason, and you’re slightly bummed that you can’t get a workout in. However, do you have a couch, paper plates and a bath towel lying around?

If you said yes, it’s time to see your household items in a different light. For now, that couch is not for sitting on, those paper plates aren’t for eating off, and that towel is not for drying your hands.

Unless it’s sweat.

Below I’m going to describe four different items you can use to work out, then I’ll put them all together into a home workout.

1. The Couch

Who doesn’t love to stretch out on the couch, relax and watch TV? It’s comfy, inviting and calling you to sit on it. However, the couch is a tool that can give you stronger legs and chest. Think of it as a weight bench without the weights.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to use your couch to the fullest.

The Exercises

Elevated split squat: Drop your back knee towards the floor and then push through your front foot.

Decline push-ups: Maintain strong plank position, squeeze your butt and have your hands a little wider than shoulder width apart. (Note that adding a 3-5 second pause at the bottom of both exercises increases the intensity.)

Couch jumps: Hinge hips back with your weight on your heels and land quietly.

2. The Wall

The wall is not only a place to hang your pictures and TV. The wall is a tool that can improve your squat and posture because it gives you instant feedback. For example, if your knees or upper body are touching the wall during the face the wall squat, you may be squatting over your knees and not between them.

The Exercises

Face the wall squats: Fingers behind the ears, face the wall and have your feet hip width apart. Stand far enough away from the wall that no part of your body touches the wall while you’re squatting. (Note: To make this more difficult, raise arms overhead or get your feet a little closer to the wall. Or both.)

Bodyweight row: Have your head, butt and heels touching the wall. Have your hands shoulder width apart at shoulder height. Touch elbows to the wall and push into the wall for a count of 3 seconds. (Note: Ramp the intensity by pressing your elbows into the wall harder and by changing your arm angle.)

3. The Paper Plate

Paper plates are great for an easy clean up, but did you know they’re great for core work too? They’re basically an inexpensive Valslide, a hand-sized disc that reduces the friction between yourself and the ground. This means they’re great for putting together flowing movements that challenge the core. Please don’t eat off them afterwards.

The Exercises

Plank walk: With toes on the plates, take small steps with your hands while your feet drag behind you. Maintain strong plank position throughout.

Plank reach: With hands on the plates, slide one hand as far as you can without comprising your plank position and alternate sides.

[Learn more: 10 simple plank variations for a stronger core.]

4. The Towel

Once you do this exercise, you’ll never looked at the humble towel the same way. Not only will your feel this in your upper back but also through your forearms, biceps and hamstrings. If grip strength is a problem, this will help fix it also.

Isometric exercises  — that’s the muscle producing force without movement — like this are a great way to add intensity to your training when you haven’t got any resistance around.

The Exercise

Towel row: Place towel under your midfoot and take a big step back with your opposite foot. Lean torso forward with straight back, tall chest, and simply pull as hard as you can.

Put It All Together: The House Workout Circuit

Use these four household items to program your own circuit when you’re pushed for time and the gym isn’t an option. There is no right or wrong way to program this, so be creative — or you can use the program below.

Do the following routine as a circuit, resting as little as possible between exercises and circuits. Do two to three rounds and then use your towel to wipe off your sweat.

  1. Couch jumps – 6-8 reps
  2. Decline push-ups – 12 -15 reps
  3. Elevated split squat – 12-15 reps on each leg
  4. Towel row – 30 seconds (alternate legs)
  5. Plank reach or drag – 12 reps on each hand
  6. Face the wall squats – 12 reps
  7. Bodyweight row – 12-15 reps

Wrapping Up

You tend to forget your body is a machine too, and you don’t always need a barbell. So, when you don’t have time for the gym, grab a few household items and get your sweat on.

Please kick everybody off the couch before you start.

Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the author’s and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Featured image via wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

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