DIY Gym with Items around the House

I think working out should be FREE. That way, everyone can get into shape regardless of whether or not they have a gym membership! I’m a big fan of workouts that you can do anywhere with anything. I like running, ab workouts, and yoga because they require no equipment and you can do them literally ANYWHERE. I’ve been wanting to expand my blog for a while now to include a fitness section, because fitness plays an important role in my life AND fitness and food go hand-in-hand (work OUT to eat OUT)! So, when Kelsey from Modernize (a home design company) approached me and asked if I’d be interested in sharing a simple workout you can do at home with items you have laying around the house…I said OF COURSE! I filmed myself doing the workout so you can read how to do the exercises (below) and then do them with me! I hope you enjoy this little workout! I like it because you can do it anywhere at any time!

DIY Gym with Items around the House  By Hannah West

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 9.20.20 AM

Via Modernize

It seems like there are two options when it comes to getting regular exercise: join a gym or buy equipment for your own home workout room. But you don’t need to drop hundreds to thousands of dollars to get in shape. Lo and behold, there’s a third option! You can pull off a DIY gym with items that are already hanging out in your house. Your workout room may not be full of fancy machines, but it will certainly get the job done. Here are few ideas for an easy and free home gym. Bench or Chair  A sturdy bench or chair is one of the most versatile workout tools out there. Like squats with weights, chair exercises tend to give every muscle group its due attention. Make sure your chair is sturdy and won’t slide across the floor. On hardwood, this may mean installing foam flooring or a mat that grips the slick surface. DIY-ing your gym doesn’t mean skimping when it comes to safety. Once you have your chair securely in place, here are a few exercises you can try:

  • Chair Leg Raises: First, place the chair next to you, facing the same way as you. Place your left hand on the back for support while lifting your right leg as high as you comfortably can. Repeat as many times as you want before switching to the other hand/leg.
  • Leg Lift and Twist: Sit near the edge of your chair (but not too close) and cross your arms over your chest. With your back straight, lift one leg straight up while keeping the other on the floor. Rotate your torso in the direction of the leg that you’re lifting, and switch from right to left after each lift.
  • One Leg Dips: Stand with your back to the chair or bench. Stand about two feet away from it and place one foot on the chair, with the top pressed against its surface. Dip down by bending the standing leg. Do this as many times as necessary before switching to the other side.

Gallon Jugs Clean two empty gallon jugs and fill them with sand to make “poor man’s (or woman’s) dumbbells.” The advantage to working out with milk jugs versus a machine is that machines do a lot of the balancing for you, while working out with milk jugs teaches smaller, tertiary muscles that are needed for balance to work a little harder. If you need to work your way up to a full jug, you can always start with half gallons. Use your jugs for squats, curls, lunges–pretty much anything you can normally do with dumbbells, you can also do with jug weights. Bath Towel  Surprisingly, you can efficiently work out several muscles groups with nothing but a bath towel. A bath towel can work a lot like a resistance band and is great for toning if you perform the exercises right.

  • Single Leg Squat with Towel: stand with your feet together and place one foot on top of the towel. Slide the towel slowly out to the side, and slide it back in, squatting with the other leg while doing so. Do each side for 30 seconds.
  • Shoulder Hold: Grab a large towel and step on one end. With your palm facing down, grasp the towel and hold it at arm’s length. Bend your knees slightly and keep your feet shoulder width apart. Hold the tension at 45 degrees for 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat. Do this set twice.

Duffel Bag If you want to get old school, grab a sturdy duffel bag that can take some abuse. Fill a trash bag with sand, wrap it with duct tape, and place it inside the bag. You now have a heavy-duty, nothing fancy workout tool. You can squeeze it against your chest and run in place. You can press it overhead. You can use it as a medicine ball by laying on the floor, lifting it from your chest, and doing a situp. These few simple items come with endless ways to get your muscles working hard. Next time you’re rushing to get to your local gym before work or watching an infomercial for an elaborate workout machine, look around your house instead–and head over to for more home gym ideas.

Thanks to Modernize for the workout, and thanks to you for reading! I hope this guideline helped you have a KILLER workout in your DIY home gym!

xx Ellie


5 thoughts on “DIY Gym with Items around the House

    • peanutbutterandellie says:

      Thank you so much for the sweet comment, Deniza! You are so kind 🙂
      Glad you love the workout and the recipes!
      Good for you for working out at home! It’s nice to not have to leave the house in order to work out (and no one will see you sweaty haha).
      Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I really appreciate it! xx


  1. lifewithniki says:

    I can totally resonate with this because working out at home is so much more convenient and faster than having to get ready, drive, come back, etc. from the gym. I think the use of gallon jugs is such a creative and cool idea for weights!

    Liked by 1 person

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