Did you wish for some fancy gym equipment for your exercises at home but didn’t quite get what you wanted? If you didn’t get a fancy treadmill, smart fitness mirror, smart boxing setup, digital weight machine, coveted exercise bike or one of the other buzzy fitness products out there, but still want to get in shape at home, good news. As helpful all of these products can be, you don’t need them to get in shape.

You don’t have to go to the gym if you prefer to do your exercises at home. In fact, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own home to get in a solid sweat session. If home workout equipment has been sold out online everywhere, but don’t worry—you probably already have some great alternatives right at your fingertips. So go ahead and take a lap around your house to see what hidden workout tools you can uncover—they’re probably hiding in plain sight as simple, everyday items.

Turn these household items into gym equipment for your exercises at home.

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Hand towels

Head to the linen closet and grab yourself two small hand towels. To do your exercises at home, on a wood or tiled floor, place the towels under your hands or feet to increase the challenge of traditional abs moves like mountain climbers and knee tucks.

Laundry detergent

Swap clean clothes for single-arm cleans using a bottle of your laundry detergent (as long as it has a handle). Or perform a kettlebell swing, making sure to squeeze your glutes at the top of each movement.

Folding chairs

Folding chairs are great, not just because they’re portable, but also because they’re typically made out of durable steel. To perform a triceps dip, start sitting on the chair with your hands at your sides, fingers wrapped around the edge of the seat. Extend legs to form a straight line from ankles to hips. Lift your torso about two inches in front of the chair. This is your starting position. Slowly lower down until your elbows form a 90-degree angle, then press back. Repeat for desired reps.

Bike pump

Granted, you’ll have to deflate and inflate a few tires, but challenge yourself when doing exercises at home by seeing how fast you can go through four cycles. Place two feet on the pump to keep it steady, then use your arms and core to inflate the tube.

Soup cans

Whether you’re a chicken noodle or tomato fan, soup cans are the ideal size for to use as small weights at home. Use them for low-weight, high-repetition movements such as biceps curl pulses, overhead triceps extensions, and platter-serving extensions to build upper body muscular endurance.

Beach towel

Doing your exercises at home and not having a mat? No problem. Lay down your towel and get your downward dog on. It won’t feel as thick as a mat, so you can double up if you want extra padding. If you close your eyes in shavasana and think warm thoughts, it might even feel like a day at the beach.


Basketball is a perfect tool for your exercises at home. When performed in unstable conditions (read: using a basketball or TRX straps), push-ups can help to activate hard-to-train muscle groups in a way conventional ones cannot, according to a study. First, get comfortable with executing a plank with both hands on the ball, core engaged. Then, lower down into a push-up and press back to starting position.

Set of stairs

A set of stairs is the perfect place for a quick cardio hit. Regularly walking up 400 steps during the course of a day can substantially increase your endurance, giving you a 17 percent bump in VO2 max (the maximum amount of oxygen you can take in during exercise), according to a study. Use stairs in your home or apartment building, or head to a local park.


Simply fill a sturdy backpack with books or canned foods, strap it on your back (bonus points if your backpack has a cross-chest strap you can clasp for added support), and wear it around your house, while doing chores, or to add weight to body weight exercises, such as squats, lunges, and pushups. You can even take the backpack off and grasp the straps to perform shoulder presses, or makeshift kettlebell swings.​

Couch cushions

Couch cushions (and pillows in general), are nice and squishy, making them the perfect alternative to expensive balance tools. They’re more difficult to stand on and perform exercises on because your body has to work harder to maintain stability atop the foam or stuffing-filled surface. Granted, actual balance tools generally introduce a greater level of instability to each exercise, but that doesn’t mean cushions aren’t a good alternative. Try doing pushups atop a cushion, or split squats with one foot on the cushion, and one foot on the floor.