Skip to main content

Training At-Home With Our Top 5 Homemade Weights

With the price of a set of dumbbells rising from acceptable to “Are they actually taking the …” levels you may have to start looking for viable alternatives that you can use at home. In this article, we will be looking at alternate weights that you can use at home.

Why Use Homemade Weights?

Thanks to a prolonged lockdown, there was a huge influx of people purchasing dumbbells and barbells online. This, coupled with a reduction in factory output due to COVID-19, led to a huge backlog in orders. It also led to large price increases. 

A set of dumbbells that may once have retailed at £40 were now selling for £90. Pre-covid, eBay or Facebook marketplace were filled with home fitness equipment being sold for pennies, all you had to do was pick it up. 

Now, these products have all been spoken for, and sellers are realising that even a 30 year old set of plastic York dumbbells are worth a small fortune, and their prices are reflecting that. It’s a real shame, as lockdown had led to a lot of people taking up resistance exercise, perhaps for the first time in their lives. 

With dumbbells and resistance machines priced out of most people’s budgets, all we’re left with is bodyweight exercises and homemade weights. The purpose of this article is to name a few of the most effective ones. 

Homemade Weights #1 The Can of Beans

Canned food is the most commonly cited homemade weight, but how effective are they? They are a reliable weight which is a big plus, but there are quite a few downsides that are often overlooked:

  • Shape – canned food is actually quite awkward to grip, unless you have big hands. This can make them difficult for certain exercises. 
  • Size & Weight – Almost all canned food is small in size and low in weight. They may be okay for high-rep exercises, but a strong individual isn’t going to find them particularly challenging to lift.

What we like about canned food as a form of homemade weight is how inexpensive it is, how confident you can be with the weight you are lifting, and how safe they are. Drop a can of beans and unless it lands on your foot there isn’t likely to be much damage to you or your home.

Homemade Weights #2 The Bottle of Water

Bottled water is another homemade weight that is inexpensive, and safe to use. But as with canned goods, water can be a bit awkward to grip. Plastic bottles can also get crushed if you grip too hard. Still, there are lots of situations where a bottle of water can make a good homemade weight. Filling up a rucksack (more on that later) is one example. 

Then you’ve got those hard plastic water bottles which have handles attached. You see them a lot in gyms. Perfect for rowing movements, hammer curls, tricep raises, and even some pushing movements. 

Homemade Weights #3 Weighted Hula Hoops

Not strictly a homemade weight (but then you could argue that neither are canned foods or bottled water). The weighted hula hoop benefits from being significantly cheaper than most forms of resistance equipment. 

They are great for cardio, but thanks to their weight, they can be used for building muscle, improving grip strength, and strengthening the core muscles. They are also a lot of fun, very safe, and provided you have enough space to use them, they are unlikely to cause any damage to your home or any unsuspecting family member who may walk in on you!

Homemade Weights #4 The Rucksack

There are so many benefits to using a rucksack for home workouts, that even post-lockdown when dumbbells become more reasonably priced you may want to consider incorporating them into your workouts. 

Rucksacks can be filled with heavy weights and used for a number of exercises. You can fill them with canned goods, bottled water, sand, books, whatever you want really. Then you can place the rucksack on your back to perform:

  • Back Squats
  • Walking Lunges
  • Weighted Step Ups
  • Weighted Burpees
  • Weighted Push Ups

Or hundreds of other exercises that can be improved with a bit more resistance. You can also place the rucksack on your front to change the angle of resistance. Which could allow you to perform front squats (for example).

Are there any downsides? The rucksack may get in the way sometimes, the weight distribution could be an issue, with all the contents shifting from side to side. If you overpack it then the straps could fray and fall off eventually. But in all honesty, a good quality rucksack could make a huge difference.

Homemade Weights #5 DryBell

This last homemade weight fits into the same category as the weighted hula hoop. Technically it isn’t homemade, but also it’s not really a traditional form of resistance exercise. The DryBell is a heavy duty bag that has been designed to be used a bit like a kettlebell. You can swing it, perform bicep curls, rows, presses, pretty much any exercise that you could perform with a kettlebell.

The DryBell can be filled with sand or water, and there are different marks on the inside of the bag that can help you to choose what weight to use. It’s nowhere near as good as an actual kettlebell, but it works well enough, costs very little, and can be folded up when not in use.

Final Thoughts

Remember, if none of these homemade weights appeal to you, then you can always stick to bodyweight exercises. There are so many variations and challenges that even the strongest person will find that they can create an effective workout using just their body. 

But if you are going to use a homemade weight, just make sure that the weight is secure, that you have enough space to use it safely, and that you still perform each exercise with perfect form, even if the weights are lighter than you are used to. Safety first!

No Comments yet!