When you work at home, having the right tools can make all the difference.
You don’t need to outfit your pad with a bunch of heavy-duty benches, dumbbells, and weight racks — but have some weights on hand. is quite useful
Here are nine ideas for homemade weights that will help you strengthen them with things you probably already have lying around your house.
1. Water bottle
Whether you’re staying at home or in a hotel or Airbnb, 16-ounce water bottles are easy to find for dumbbells.
The plastics are a convenient one-pound weight, so grab a pair for your next barre workout, where a pound goes a long way. Wait until you finish work to drink them!
Tip: Bottles with ridges provide a better grip.
2. Cans of food
Beans, tomatoes, and soup cans are solid swaps if you don’t have dumbbells handy. The weights are printed on the front, so you can easily choose the appropriate weight for your workout.
Most soup cans are 14.5 to 16 ounces (about one pound), while larger cans weigh 28 ounces (1.75 pounds).
Adding a few rubber bands in the middle will provide more grip and keep your hands from slipping.
3. Rolls of Quarters
If your lifestyle requires quarters for laundry, know that those quarters can also serve as homemade weights.
A $10 roll of quarters weighs about eight ounces, so two rolls equal one pound. If you want, use a rubber band to secure multiple rolls together.
Opt for plastic quarters instead of paper, which won’t last through a sweaty workout.
4. Coffee bags
Coffee bags are probably the best smelling weights you can use, and because they’re bigger and softer than cans, they’re good for people who have trouble holding solid weights.
You may want a one-pound bag or up to a five-pound bag, depending on what you’re doing.
Make sure the bags are securely closed before you begin, so you don’t risk spilling the valuable contents.
5. Spice bottle
A 16-ounce bottle of ketchup makes a perfect one-pound homemade weight and can stand in for bulk containers from the pantry when you need a heavier option.
A two-liter bottle of olive oil weighs about four pounds.
6. Bag of rice or grain
Rice or grain bags are great to use in place of weights – they’re easy to hold and come in a variety of sizes.
You can use a one-pound bag of rice, a two-pound bag of corn, or a five-pound bag of quinoa, depending on your workout (and what you want to cook for dinner that week).
Smaller bags around the middle are easiest to hold. Use large ones held in both hands as single weights.
7. Milk container
A gallon of milk weighs about 8.6 pounds, a half-gallon about 4.3 pounds and a quart a little over two pounds (yay math!).
You probably have milk containers in your fridge (plant-based or dairy will work), but only use them for weighing if they’re full and sealed – so you don’t risk spillage.
Another thing to keep in mind if you opt for these homemade weights: You’ll probably want to store them for short workouts in climate-controlled spaces so your milk doesn’t get too hot.
Meaning, this idea works for a quick set of curls, but… not the best option for a HIIT session in the backyard on a hot day.
8. Jug of laundry soap
If you’re someone who always has extra supplies on hand, this hack is for you: grab a jug or two of laundry soap and start lifting.
The 1.5 liter bottles weigh about 3.75 pounds, and have handles that make them easy to hold.
Just make sure they’re completely full and sealed — that way, they’ll stay at their maximum weight and you’re unlikely to spill anything.
9. Cast-iron skillet
It may look a little funny, but a 12.5-inch cast-iron skillet weighs about eight pounds, and larger ones can weigh up to 10 pounds.
So these heavy pans are actually pretty great homemade weights for exercises like goblet squats.
Since the size of a cast-iron skillet makes it difficult to hold securely with one hand, be sure to grip it firmly with both hands.