gallon jugWith enough creativity, you can transform just about any room into a total body fitness center. You’d be surprised at how much resistance equipment you can produce from basic household items, replacing the need for specific equipment in traditional strength exercises. Your body doesn’t care if the resistance is coming from a $2,000 piece of exercise equipment or from a heavy rock you’ve found on the ground. The important part is that you are working and challenging your body.

Take bicep curls for example. Just because you don’t have dumbbells doesn’t mean you can’t do them. You can use gallon jugs of water (filled to your appropriate level), grocery bags filled with weighted objects, or even a duffel bag/backpack filled with books, magazines, newspapers, cans of food, rocks, sand, and/or recycled full water bottles. Add things to the backpack until you have the perfect weight to challenge your muscles and then hold the top strap. You can even make a proper handle by intertwining a stick or branch into the strap. Most backpacks can hold up to 60 pounds or more.

You can use backpacks in place of dumbbells for myriad movements as well. These include: shoulder raises, tricep extensions, and upright rows. Wear it on your back, as intended, to increase the resistance of any pull up, squat, or lunge. If you don’t have a backpack, use another person to carry on your back or shoulders during leg exercises, or have them physically push against you to add resistance.

Books-telephone, text, encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.-can also be utilized, as can bricks and soup cans. Wearing a backpack full of bricks and holding a five gallon bucket filled with water can seriously add intensity to calf raises. Sandbags on your knees can also be utilized for sitting calf raises.

With a rope, or any kind of long strap, and a sturdy object to loop it around or connect it to, you can do a plethora of body weight exercises ranging from upper body, lower body, and core exercises.

The point is resistance can come from a variety of places. The options are truly are endless. Just look around you and be creative. Chances are you already have all the equipment you’ll ever need.

About the Author

Christopher Kazda is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Chiropractic Technician at New Beginnings Chiropractic, 1861 Business Hwy 18/151, Mount Horeb, WI 53572. He is available Monday through Saturday to help you reach your fitness goals.

Please call 715-302-2153 or 608-437-9990, email at, or visit, for more information or to schedule an appointment.