Working out from home can be a big time savor for many people. The expense of buying exercise equipment, however, can limit what you can do at home, unless you choose to make your own equipment. There are numerous pieces of homemade exercise equipment you can put together with little time or money. Depending on your budget and the type of exercise you want to do, one of these may be ideal.
PVC Dip Stands
Dip stands can help work your arms, chest and shoulders. They can also double as a way to do some power pushups by lowering yourself between the bars. These lightweight stands can be put together in minutes and stored easily.
- 3/4-inch PVC pipe
- Four "L" shaped connectors
- Four "T" shaped connectors
- Eight stops
- Pipe insulation
- Saw down four pieces of PVC to the height you want the bars to be.
- Saw down two pieces of PVC to the length you want the bars to be.
- Saw down four pieces of PVC to half the length you want the bars to be to act as stabilizers.
- Slide pieces of pipe insulation around the full length bars, leaving the ends free.
- Insert the ends of each one of the full length bars into a L connector.
- Insert one end of full height bars into the other half of the L connectors. The result should be a shape like an open box.
- Insert the bottom end of each of the height bars into the top of a T connector.
- Slide each of the half length bars through the bottom of each of the T connectors. This will stabilize the bars.
- Place the end caps on the remaining ends to finish. Use a hammer to tap all the pieces together until sturdy.
Cost: Under $10
Dip Stand Exercises
Kettlebells are iron weights with a handle. They work well for many different isotonic exercises and can be swung, lifted or curled. You can also make them with a few things from around the house.
- Two 10-pound ankle weights
- One two-pound iron ring
- Duct tape
- Electrical tape
- Wrap the iron ring with electrical tape until smooth.
- Unwrap the ankle weights and thread them through one end of the ring, one on top of the other.
- Do up the Velcro on the ankle weights so they close.
- Wrap duct tape around the weights and the bottom of the iron ring to form a tight, non-moving package. You should be able to hold the ring and manipulate it without the weights moving at the bottom.
Cost: Under $20
Homemade Medicine Balls
Medicine balls are a great way to work your entire body. You can also make your own to the size and weight you desire.
- Sports ball - soccer ball or basketball works well
- Sharp knife
- Two rolls of duct tape
- Cut a small circle out of the end of the ball. Set the piece aside for later.
- Fill the ball with sand.
- Replace the cut out piece and secure with duct tape.
- Run duct tape over the entire ball to keep the sand from leaking out.
Cost: Under $20
Medicine Ball Exercises
Calve Raise Block
The calves are one of the most difficult areas of the body to work. Calve raise blocks help you target this area. While a new block can run around $40, you can build one for less than $10.
- Four 2 x 4 boards, each 24 inches long
- Rubber stair runner
- Eight, 2-inch-long wood screws
- Finishing nails
- Cut the stair runner down to 7 inches by 24 inches.
- Wrap the stair runner around the top edge of one of the boards and glue it in place. Let the glue dry completely.
- Screw the other three boards together into the form of an "H".
- Set the board with the runner on top of the connecting board in the H. The rubber should face up. Tuck the loose ends of the runner under the top board so the runner gets sandwiched between them, holding it in place.
- Screw the two boards together at the ends.
- Paint the stand your desired finish.
Cost: Less than $10.
Calf Raise Exercises
Weighted or unweighted, the calf raise will help strengthen your calves and ankles. Do these exercises slowly and with control and you will also increase your body's balance and stability.
DIY Workout Gear at Home
You probably already have plenty of items around your house that can be used for working out.
A kitchen chair can provide a full-body workout. Triceps dips, modified push-ups, and even overhead presses with the chair will work your muscles without the need for additional hand weights.
An uncarpeted step can be used for step aerobics moves, box jumps, or for calf raises. You can also use stairs for modified burpees, push-ups, lunges, triceps dips, or even just for running up and down the stairs for some cardio.
Hand Weight Substitutes
Cans of food can substitute light hand weights while full gallons of milk or sacks of flour or sand bags can provide heavier hand weights. Any item you have around the house that you can hold securely can be used for strength work. Weigh the item beforehand so you know the actual weight instead of guessing.
Some workout enthusiasts have been known to use their young children as weights for squats or chest presses! Having your child sit on your back during push-ups or planks will not only increase the intensity of these moves, but it also conveys the importance of fitness and physical activity to your kids at a young age.
Remember to inspect your homemade equipment each time you use it. If it appears loose, wobbly or not in the condition your first used it in, do not attempt to use it. When used safely, homemade equipment can be just as effective as the real thing, provided you do use it.