That's cool that you have weights at home. I'll think of some things you can do based on the equipment you have.
I had a question about getting in shape without a gym membership a while back and wrote a response in my Ask Rob Column.
I wrote it quite a while ago, but here it is:
What can I do to get in shape and gain muscle if I don't have a gym membership?
by robert on June 5th, 2003.
What can I do if I want to get in shape and gain muscle but I don’t have a gym membership?
This is a common situation for a lot of people. Gym memberships can
expensive and you usually need some means of transportation to get there.
So if you are in a situation where at the present time you can’t afford a
gym membership, you don’t have a way of getting there, you live too far away
from a gym, or don’t “make” the time to get to the gym, here are some
suggestions for you.
Keep these questions in mind. Do you need a treadmill to run? Do you need
a stair-stepper to climb stairs? Do you need a stationary bike with a TV in
front of you to cycle? Do you need a stretching room to stretch your
muscles? Do you need a special machine to do pull-ups or sit-ups? Do you
need dumbbells to curl weight? Do you need barbells or machines to move
I grew up on a farm, where I had access to countless muscle-producing tools,
although I didn’t realize until I became a bodybuilder. Now when I go back
to the farm, I take the opportunity to shrug buckets full of dirt or water,
jog outside in the fresh air, and do pull-ups from a tree limbs.
Here are some exercises you can do for different muscle groups outside of a
gym. They can be done at home, at a park, or anywhere that you have access
to some of these “tools.”
Cardio is something you can ALWAYS do for free and do anywhere. Running,
jumping, walking, are things you can do in nearly every situation. Biking,
swimming, and climbing stairs, are great cardio exercises that are also
pretty easy to come by.
First of all if you want to warm-up, just go for a jog, climb some stairs,
or even a bike ride. Stretch out your muscles and decide what you want to
do in your workout.
Back—Pull-ups are a great exercise for the back. All you need is something
to grab onto to pull yourself up, a sturdy pipe, a tree limb, or even a
structure at the park. Variations can be included as well, close-grip,
wide-grip, partial reps, etc. You can perform bent-over rows with buckets
full of sand, dirt, gravel, or water. Use them like dumbbells. You can do
deadlifts the same way. Find heavy objects that are not too awkward to pick
up and perform your exercise. One-arm dumbbell rows can be done kneeling on
a park bench using a heavy bucket, or other device with a handle on it.
Chest—Push-up variations are something that can be done easily, close, wide,
one-arm, super-sets and drop-sets included as well. Dips aren’t too hard to
come by outside of the gym either. Find a structure at home, at the park,
on the farm, downtown, that you can grip and lower yourself, and push
yourself back up. You can do flys with gallon jugs filled with water. Lie
on a bench and perform the fly movement you would if you had dumbbells.
Other objects can be substituted for the gallon jugs, whatever you can find
that is heavy enough to get the job done.
Shoulders—Shrugs are one of the easiest things to do. Find heavy objects,
my favorites are large buckets filled with something dense, and use them for
shoulder shrugs. Lateral and front raises can be done with the gallon jug
filled with water, or even buckets, just vary the weight. Shoulder presses
can be done with a heavy piece of wood, heavy box, an old car tire, or
anything of the sort, be creative.
Arms—Bicep curls with heavy buckets, wood, gallon jugs, pipes, or even
random items like a vacuum, bicycle, wooden chair work just fine. You could
even find a rope and tie a heavy object at the end and use it for biceps and
many other muscle groups. Find objects to curl with one arm and two arms.
Select a grip to perform concentration curls, hammer curls, and supinated
bicep curls. Triceps kickbacks can be performed with the filled gallon jug,
or even a heavy tool or wood or metal object. Overhead extensions can be
done with the same items. Dips for triceps can be done as well. Just
change your grip and position to take the stress off the chest and direct it
to the back of the arms.
Abs—Hanging leg raises are probably the best exercise you can do for abs.
Hang from a tree, steel bar, pipe, or wooden ledge and perform this
exercise. Sit-ups on the floor, in the grass, or any other soft surface can
easily be done anywhere. I have even done them on the side of the freeway
on long road trips. There are countless variations of sit-ups so this is a
muscle group that can really be targeted anywhere.
Legs—Free squats without weights can be done as well as with weight. Lift
up an object and place it over your shoulders. Perform squats just like you
would in the gym. In this case you won’t be able to go as heavy as you
could in the gym, unless you build a devise to rack the weight on to allow
you to walk under it to get started. Lunges can be done with the heavy
object over your shoulders as well, or with weight in your hands. Buckets
would probably be too tall and hit the ground when you lunge, but filled
gallon or 2-gallon jugs would be fine. Supersets, and rest-pauses can be
implemented to get a burn since the weight won’t be as heavy. Calf raises
can be done on stairs, one or two legs at a time. You can add weight to
this exercise by using your weighted bucket, gallon jug, or other object you
find at home that has significant weight to it.
Keep in mind that these are just a few exercises that I came up with. You
can also take these exercises and apply them with different strategies using
drop-sets, supersets, rest-pauses, partial-reps, isolated movements, High
Intensity Training, and other training principles. Use your creativity to
find objects around the house, at your workplace, or in the park to build
your physique and achieve your fitness goals. Remember that nutrition is
more than half the battle, so refer to some of our nutrition pages for
guidance for the most important part of the equation.
Good luck, invent some new exercises, and build your body, no matter where
you live or what your situation is.
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