The Bulletin

Lockdown Workout!

Exercise with these household objects for a full-body workout during quarantine

5L of water: check. Wine bottles: check. What more do you need?

I think we can all agree that working out at home can be a struggle sometimes. Not only do endless distractions exist — snacks, Tiger King on Netflix and your pet being the cutest quarantine animal ever — but it’s easy to fall into a creative rut when it comes to your workouts.

If you didn’t have time to run to a sporting goods store to pick up a pair of dumbbells after all of the gyms shut down, you may well already be tired of bodyweight-only workouts as Australians approach the month-long mark of staying at home.

Fear not! You already have dumbbells, kettlebells, weight vests and medicine balls at home — makeshift ones, anyway.

So if your workouts need some pizzazz or you’ve just gotten too darn strong for regular bodyweight squats, look to your pantry, your garage and that closet in the spare room you haven’t entered since 2010.

I used common household objects for these exercises — these are all items you probably have at home, too. If you don’t have one of these, substitute with something similar in size and weight.

  • Two containers of bulk-size sauce (or two items of equal weight, such as two soup cans or two bags of sugar). These should be easy to grip.
  • A paint can (doesn’t have to be completely full).
  • Two unopened bottles of wine — or liquor. Your choice.
  • A full 5L cask of water (or wine).
  • A backpack full of books or other heavy items.
  • A soccer ball or something similar in size and weight.

BBQ sauce shoulder press

I used two big barbecue sauce containers to mimic the dumbbell shoulder press. You can use any sauce you please, or if you are not a sauce person, try 3L of milk or cans of soup. Just don’t leave the milk out for too long.

Most importantly, make sure your items are equal in weight — you probably wouldn’t use a 5KG dumbbell and a 2KG dumbbell at the same time at the gym.

Water jug bicep curls

Here we go with the arm pump: Even though you’re socially distancing and you can’t show off your guns in person, you can definitely flash them at your next virtual happy hour. To get in your bicep curls, simply use a full gallon of water or something else with a handle.

Paint can rows

Many people unintentionally neglect their upper back when working out at home with no equipment. For one, there’s the whole “out of sight, out of mind” thing — but it’s also virtually impossible to target those muscles without some sort of weights or cables.

A paint can solves that problem: With an easy-to-grip handle, you can perform bent-over rows to target your latissimus dorsi (aka your lats, or your “pull-up muscles”), your rhomboids (middle-upper back) and your scapula muscles on the back sides of your shoulders.

Wine bottle shoulder circuit

Use wine bottles to work out, and afterward, pop one open. It’s a win-win in my book. If wine bottles are too light for you, you can use a small but heavy object that you can safely grip, such as stones, bricks or a frying pan. The options are endless.

This shoulder circuit includes three moves: lateral raises, front raises and the reverse fly. Perform three sets of 10 of each movement in succession for a real shoulder burn.

Lateral raises: Raise until you feel a bit of a squeeze in your shoulders.

Front raises: Try to raise your arms to face level or higher.

The reverse fly: Squeeze your muscles in the top position to get the most out of this exercise.

It’s usually easier to think of lower body exercises for at-home workouts, because you can move your legs in all sorts of configurations that burn: squats, step-ups, lunges, jump squats, high knees — the list goes on. If you want to add a bit of weight, though, you can spice up the basics with household objects.

Backpack lunges

Stuff a backpack with books or any other heavy objects, such as full water bottles or cans of soup. Then, perform lunges as normal. Just be sure to keep your chest up high — don’t let the weight ruin your form.

Water jug squats

Goblet squats are a tougher version of air squats where you hold a weight, usually a kettlebell, at chest level. Your trusty 5L jug of water comes in handy again: Hold it in place of a kettlebell to add some weight to your squats.

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