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home workouts

8 Home Workouts That Use Household Items So You Don’t Need Any Gym Equipment

Home workouts using household items

As indoor gyms and fitness studios close again, it’s easy to feel lethargic and unmotivated at home. However, even without all that fancy gym equipment, you can easily elevate your home workouts by using household items readily available to you. 

Whether it’s for muscle-building or cardio, there are plenty of exercises to add to your fitness routine. These are all suitable for everyone from exercise novices to gym experts, and you’ll easily be able to train different parts on your body while you’re at it.

1. Dining chair or stool – tricep dips and push-ups

Aside from being used for sitting or as a laundry dump, you can add an extra function to a dining chair with some easy exercises. 

Tricep dips help strengthen the muscles behind your upper arm to gradually add size to your overall flex. Do this often and you’ll find an improvement in stability, flexibility and range of motion in your shoulders and arms, which can help prevent injuries when you workout. It’s also incredibly simple – think of it as a “reverse push-up”

tricep dips - home workouts using household items
Balance on your heels and keep your legs straight while dipping till your arms are at a 90-degree angle

Muscles worked: Triceps
Recommended number of reps: 5 sets of 20 reps

Speaking of push-ups, vary them a little with the good ol’ chair. Incline push-ups are ideal for beginners who are having trouble with a normal push-up as it allows you to build strength and form. Rest your hands on the chair seat instead of the floor and continue with a regular push-up.

incline push ups - home workouts using household items
Incline push-ups

But for the veterans out there, reverse yourself and support your feet on the chair for decline push-ups. These are more challenging and will give your chest and shoulders a more intense workout.

decline push ups - home workouts using household items
Decline push-ups

Muscles worked: Chest, shoulders
Recommended number of reps: 5 sets of 20 reps

Beginners can start with a lower amount of reps and sets. You can also try doing as many as possible within 30 seconds, eventually increasing the amount of reps you do each time.

2. 1.5L bottles – squats

squats - home workouts using household items

If you’ve got a full 1.5L bottle at home, they can help with your squats. Just by extending them out as far as you can while you do your dips, it helps keep your centre of gravity in one line for proper squat form, while also training your arms and keeping your balance. 

It’ll take some getting used to with the strain in your arms, but it’ll be worth it once you realise you’ve gotten more chiselled. Not to mention all the work your leg muscles will be getting.

You can even adjust the difficulty with the amount of water inside your bottle – the heavier it is, the more challenging it’ll be. Besides 1.5L bottles, plenty of other items lying around the house such as a heavy book or a bag of rice also fit the bill.

Muscles worked: Glutes, calves, hamstrings, quads, arms, abs
Recommended number of reps: 5 sets of 20 reps

3. Detergent bottles – one arm kettlebell Arnold press

kettlebell - home workouts using household items

Typical kettlebell workouts train your entire body and are great for cardio as well as muscle-building. While not all of us have a kettlebell at home, most of us do have this heavy object with a large handle – a detergent bottle

kettlebell - home workouts using household items

There are many kettlebell exercises out there to try, but for starters, you can incorporate them into squats or lunges. Alternatively, do hip swings or windmills to train your joints, or try overhead presses to bring more muscle mass to your shoulders. 

If you’re a beginner, start with lighter 1L bottles before progressing to bulkier 3L-4L ones like laundry detergent bottles. Check out more exercises here.

Muscles worked: Glutes, calves, hamstrings, quads, arms, abs
Recommended number of reps: 5 sets of 10 reps

4. Door frame – burpees


Burpees are one of the most efficient exercises out there, training both your upper and lower body as well as endurance in one systematic cycle. 

Starting with a standard push-up, hop your feet towards your hands while keeping your hands on the floor, before jumping up with your arms stretched upwards. As you land, hop backwards to return to push-up position and repeat.

To do burpees, start in a push-up position and leap your legs forward.

Make this calorie-buster even better by doing this under a door frame so that you have a goal of touching the top of your door every time you jump. Just a few of these will get your heart racing as good as if you were hitting the gym.

Muscles worked: Legs, quads, arms, chest, shoulders
Recommended number of reps: 5 sets of 20 reps

5. Toilet paper rolls – planks

TP planks

Planks are another versatile and effective exercise, but to be fair, sometimes they can be rather dull. So, while you’re at home, make use of any toilet paper rolls lying around to help modify your planks. All you need is 4 toilet paper rolls to get started.

TP planks

Start in the classic plank position – be sure your back is straight, your elbows are positioned under your shoulders, and your palms are on the ground. Then, using your left hand, stack 4 rolls one by one in front of your right hand while holding the plank. Afterwards, repeat this using your right hand to stack the rolls instead.

Make sure to keep your body straight throughout and try to endure for as long as you can to work those core muscles! 

Muscles worked: Core and shoulders
Recommended number of reps: 2 on each side or as many times as you can in 60 seconds.

6. Fabric hand towels, paper plates – sliders, mountain climbers

mountain climbers
Just use two hand towels or paper plates for each foot

Sliders are slippery, disc-like objects that assist in intense full-body workout routines. But at home, you can use fabric hand towels or paper plates as substitutes. You can easily re-use these for your next exercise too!


Because the amount of friction between you and the floor has decreased, you’re actually working your muscles harder to maintain your balance. You can then modify some exercises to include lunges or mountain climbers to give them a different spin. There are plenty of slider workouts out there, check some out here to incorporate them into your routine.

Muscles worked: Glutes, quads, triceps, hamstrings
Recommended number of reps: As many times as you can in 60 seconds.

7. Vacuum cleaner, laundry baskets – lunges

vacuum lunge
Keep fit while doing your household chores

Chores can be a bore, especially with all the time we’re spending at home. But to maximise your day, try out some lunges while vacuuming the floor. Your floor will be sparkling clean while your hips and legs also get a good workout – talk about a 2-for-1 deal.

In fact, lunges can easily be incorporated into other household chores too. Do some while carrying laundry over for washing, mopping the floor or taking out the trash. Just make sure to maintain that 90-degree angle between your legs and thighs, keep a straight back and avoid extending your knee beyond your foot.

Muscles worked: Hips, quads, glutes
Recommended number of reps: 10 reps on each leg

Stay home and keep fit with home workouts using household items

Singaporeans now have plenty of opportunities to get creative and find new ways to adapt their daily routine to one that’s safe distancing-friendly. 

This includes using everyday household items to keep fit with these home workouts. Choose to do each workout on its own, or combine them for a workout circuit for the whole body. And like any workout at a gym, just be sure to practice caution when attempting these.

It’s now more crucial than ever for Singaporeans to stay home and do our part in the fight against Covid-19. By simply choosing to only go out for essential tasks and keeping our workouts indoors, we contribute to curbing the spread of the virus. 

You can also show your support by using the hashtag #stayhomeforSG in your social media postings and share about what you’re doing to keep yourself busy at home. Meanwhile, stay connected with SG United and get updates on initiatives via their telegram channel while you’re at it.

Find out more at the SG United portal

This post was brought to you in support of SG United.
Photography by Kenneth Chan and Lance Leoh.
Originally published on 14th May 2020. Last updated by Josiah Neo on 5th May 2021.