Getting a good workout at home doesn’t mean you have to break the bank or get any sort of fancy equipment. You can create your own gym with some everyday items around the house and still feel the burn!  Think of it as a way to do your Physical Therapy exercises at home. Here are 10 items you probably have at home that you didn’t even think about using for your next workout:

  1. Laundry Detergent bottle – use a full laundry detergent bottle or fill an old one with water, sand, rice, or dirt to the amount of weight that feels right for you. You can add more (or pour some out) if you need to adjust the weight. This can be used as a kettlebell for arm swings (keep controlled), squats, overhead presses or lifts. 
  2. Chair or low stool – use the arm rests or edges of the stool (make sure it is stable and/or against a wall) to do pushups or a modified plank. Use the edge of the seat for tricep dips.  Lower stools (step stools) can be used for step ups or lunge squats with one foot on the stool and the other on the floor. These are often used for physical therapy exercises at home.
  3. Hand towel or washcloth – use these as a “slider” for mountain climbers or sliding lunges forward, backward or to the side. Feel that extra burn when you have to pull that leg back into the starting position.
  4. Backpack and or laundry basket – Fill the backpack with books or other items to make it feel like an appropriate weight for your activity. This acts as a weighted vest.  Wear during squats, lunges, stairs, or go for a walk outside! You can also fill up a laundry basket and carry it around, up and down stairs, squat with it or lift it from knee to chest height.
  5. Couch cushion or large pillow – Stand on it for a balance challenge. While standing, use your arms to do some reaching or lifting overhead. Try some squats, step ups/ step overs. 
  6. Canned goods – can be used as hand weights for bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, overhead press, arm raises (forward and lateral), rows, chest press (laying down) …. etc. You can also find different size cans or different items that will feel more/less dense for heavier or lighter weights. Water bottles can also be used for hand weights.
  7. Dog leash or belt – use this to stretch your hamstrings when lying down or seated. Place a loop at the end around your foot (base of your toes) and pull back, keeping your knee straight. A dog leash can also be used to help you take your canine friend for a walk outside and get some cardiovascular exercise.
  8. Vacuum cleaner – Of course cleaning and vacuuming the house can add some activity to your day for you to get more exercise. Also go ahead and lunge forward and back when you roll the vacuum forward and back. This will add that little extra punch to your cleaning routine. A nice addition of physical therapy for adults, unless you can get your kids to do the cleaning.
  9. Stairs – It’s not even something laying around the house. It is PART of your house. Whether just a few entering your home, or a set up to a 2nd floor or down to the basement; using the stairs for a period of time can amp up your cardio and your leg strength.
  10. Walls – Everyone should have these in their home somewhere! Use to slide down into a wall sit or put your hands on it and do some press ups at an incline. You can also do stretches by grasping onto a door frame edge.

For more Ideas, speak to a physical therapist regarding exercises you can do at home with basic items. Focus on a facility that offers physical therapy for adults or children, depending on what types of goals you have. offers many different home exercises without a gym required. If you have special health considerations, you may also want to check out some of the sites related to your specific conditions, such as  or


Let us know what’s on your mind!