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No Equipment? NO PROBLEM! 8 DIY Equipment Ideas & Alternatives For a Total Body Workout

April 08, 2014 9 min read

Bodyrock makes it pretty simple to get up and get moving, by taking the guess work and excuses OUT of training! NO TIME? They create short HIIT workouts that work! Remember '8 minute Abs?' Maybe NOT! Well 8 minute HIIT works A LOT better! NO GYM MEMBERSHIP? They bring you FREE workouts and challenges you can do every day in your home, and NOT get bored. NO TRAINER/MOTIVATION? You have some pretty amazing trainers here like Lisa, Melissa and Sean who will not only take you through the workout, BUT will motivate you as well! NO EQUIPEMENT? They provide you bodyweight alternatives for most of the exercises you do and/or give you ideas about how you can create more weight for the work. But, what if you REALLY do want to use equipment, but don't have any dumbbells, weight bar, equalizer, kettle bell, sandbag, Ugi Ball, rope, etc.? WELL, I am here to give you some ideas so you can have a great workout even without the pretty neon equipment they use! Great timing too with the start of the 21 Day Boot Camp Challenge!

1) EQUALIZER 

img_eq_pinkPersonally, I LOVE this equipment especially because the molding around all my doors does not allow me to install a traditional pull up bar, and I don't want to drill holes in my walls. (But I also train and teach classes, so this it's my job to have equipment like this to transport). MANY Bodyrockers have written in and given their DIY pull up/equalizer and all look amazing! You can easily create the same thing as is sold on the site, buy purchasing a few things at your local hardware store. One of our own DH bloggers even made one herself by using the following equipment. Should you NOT have an equalizer, or be handy with a DIY method, for pull ups, there are many other exercises you can do in place of the equalizer. I have listed 3 here based on using the equalizer for BACK and CORE exercises. If it's used as a weight, hurdle, elevation device etc, there are plenty other things that you can use for that type of work. These three alternatives are  when the equalizer is used for back and core work.
  • For pull ups, IF you have dumbbells or a bar, you can do bent over rows. Depending on how you do your rows will also target either the biceps or triceps like the over and underhand pull ups would.fitness05
  • Another alternative to dumbbells is tubing. There are TONS of variations you can do with tubing and can get an amazing workout with it. Especially since you can vary the resistance with each to make it easier or harder. Loop it around a fixed surface and row.
  • No equipment at all? Try push ups! Totally incorporates your back and core! Also superman's and contralateral limb raises, incorporate your back and core and are a great exercise for all levels.

2) SANDBAG

sandbagI personally have 2 sandbags. One I filled with sand and the other I filled with rocks. Both are between 25-40 pounds. I think a DIY sandbag is actually pretty easy to do. All you have to do is buy a bag of sand, kitty litter, rice, rocks etc. ANYTHING in a bag that works for the weight you need. Obviously, something softer (sand) rather than hard (rocks) may feel better when you are swinging it around your back, but do what works for you. You can then either duck tape them loosely so they don't tear, but where the contents inside can move around, OR put them in another bag to avoid tearing. Then just place it in a small/medium duffle bag or something that can fit the weight/size PLUS has a good handle, so it won't break. The great advantage/benefit of  a sandbag is it adds weight, BUT also adds an element of instability since the contents can shift and are not fixed, thus working your core more which is so beneficial! Plus with a sandbag/DIY sandbag, you can use it for almost every exercise that requires weight. In most Bodyrock workouts, and in my own for that matter, a sand bag is used to work every body part from the core, abs, arms, legs, back, gluteus and even cardio. There are so many methods to making one yourself, one of which I really liked, so I have included it here! Again, you don't HAVE to have a sandbag to get a great workout, you can also use dumbbells, a bar or just your bodyweight for a lot of exercises, but if you are somewhat handy, try and make one at a fraction of the cost!

3) DUMBBELLSpDSP1-11551653dt

When it comes to dumbbells, there are SO MANY alternatives that are free and just lying around your house. If however you wanted to purchase them, you can find them pretty much anywhere, but the price goes up as the weight goes up. If you do NOT have any set of dumbbells, here are a few options:
  • get the 1-5 gallon water jug, which will weigh anywhere between 8-40lbs and use those. You can also fill them with sand to make them heavier
  • use cans of food, or even get a couple buckets/pails and fill them with anything (bags of rice, soup, kitty litter, etc). I have even seen people put the cans in  a pair of long socks and then loop the end of the sock to create a handle to hold onto
  • use resistance tubing/ bands again. You can pretty much do every single workout that you do with dumbbells, using resistance bands. Also one of the reasons I LOVE resistance bands is that you can TRAVEL with them. I ALWAYS bring mine when I travel.

4) KETTLEBELLS/KETTLE SANDBELL

Screen-Shot-2014-02-27-at-9.23.42-PMThere are MANY benefits of kettlebell training. Using compound, total body movements you will see greater results in a shorter period of time while using your core far more then stationary machines or cardio training alone. With kettlebell training, you will use strength and cardio training together for more functional movement. But what if you don't have a kettlebell? Just like with the sandbag, you can use dumbbells and just like with dumbbells, you can use tubing for similar movements. Just make sure you are doing them properly! It is very easy to injure yourself while doing a swing improperly. But should you want to use one, and can do so with proper form, but don't have one, there are a few ways to create one inexpensively aside from just using a dumbbell. I checked out youtube and found this to be one of the easiest ways especially  if you have a couple plates laying around from an old machine, barbell etc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zq9Yxn5a9D8 IMPORTANT: If you are interested in learning about proper swing technique for the kettlebell swings, click HERE.

5) UGI BALLUnknown-1

The Ugi ball is a weighted ball that is very similar to a medicine ball except in the fact that it is larger and squishy. It's softer to allow for more versatility, but like a medicine ball is based in functional movement that benefits the core and utilizes core stabilization as a foundation for the movement. I personally do not have an Ugi ball, but do have medicine balls of different weights and sizes. However, I was finishing up my workout the other day and was upstairs (our gym studio is in my basement), and I decided to do weighted squats, but didn't feel like going down and getting my weights. So I looked around and picked up my poof that we have in my family room and used that as weight! It reminded me very much of the Ugi ball and because of it's size, many more muscles are incorporated in each movement. Usually when the Ugi is used as elevation equipment (i.e. the trainer puts her feet on the ball or her hands on the ball to do an exercise), I will either do the exercise on the floor or pick up my feet on a slightly elevated surface. If the Ugi is used as weight, I usually swap it out with my sand bag or medicine ball. There are DIY ways to get a homemade Ugi, one of which I included here which also happens to be made by a Bodyrocker!

6) TUBING/BANDS

Body Sport Studio Series Fitness Performance TubingAs I mentioned before, the tubing/bands are a great alternative to weights, NOT to mention a lot less expensive, PLUS you can transport them anywhere! I own several in different tensions/weight and get a great workout using them. Even if you only own a 'light' band, you can adjust how 'heavy' you make it by how much slack you let out while using it. Here is a great video demonstrating common dumbbell moves, but modifies them for the resistance band.   If you don't use tubing/bands, bodyweight work will just as fine.

7) HIIT BAR/ WEIGHTED BAR 

The weighted bar is one of Bodyrock.tv's staple go to pieces of equipment. safe_image.phpWhen they are not using the bar, they use the plates in place of dumbbells. In terms of 'replacing' the bar with another piece of equipment, I often use dumbbells. You can most of the time also use a sandbag as well. So if you have none of these items, AND you don't want to make a homemade one, like the tubing alternative, variations in bodyweight work can be greatly effective as well, which I will get into below.   Lisa-Marie also posted some great free equipment ideas here. (With any equipment, you are to use it as it is meant to be used. Use it at your own discretion and always be SAFE! I have provided you some ideas for 'equipment' you can use in your workouts in place of the 'real' thing. It's up to you to use it safe and responsibly.)

8) ROPE & GYMBOSS TIMER

jumprope The jump rope is an amazing piece of equipment. It's cheap (you can usually get one for under $20), lightweight and takes up no space, and you can do it anywhere! It's such an amazing cardio and conditioning workout too. While doing kickboxing, I would always have my class warm up by jumping rope, as well as in between drills. You will torch calories and it's a exercise you can work to get real good at. Those who have never jumped rope, may be surprised to see how hard it actually is. OR that it looks a lot easier then it is. BUT, if you don't have a jump rope, then it's totally fine simulating one! I do it all the time in my workouts. Especially since I am NOT a great jump roper, it's so much easier to PRETEND I AM! I can simulate the hand movements and totally switch up the feet movements whenever I want, with no risk of tripping on the rope. Don't want to jump rope, or even pretend? Since this is a cardio conditioning exercises, most all different types of cardio will do. High knees, Mt. Climbers, Jumping jacks or star jumps, jump squats, running in place etc. Point is, your choices are limitless! As far as the Gymboss interval timer, there are plenty of free timers online that you can download to your phone, iPad or computer. A few of which are: The Huffington Post even did an article a while back on the best online training apps to download. You can view those here. I have used a couple of these above and all they work great!
As I mentioned above, if you have NO access to equipment AND are not handy in making one, there are tons of bodyweight alternatives you can do to intensify an exercise using no additional weight what so ever other than your bodyweight. You can get in the best shape of your life just lifting your bodyweight. So how doest his translate to Bodyrock and HIIT training? Progress your workouts by progressing the exercise you are doing. If you are doing a HIIT workout and it calls for standard push ups, try diamond push ups. Diamond Push ups getting easy, try Judo or explosive push ups. If you want to build muscle and strength, doing tons of high reps will not cut it, especially with bodyweight work. You need to stick to a 5-12rep range. So if you can blow out 25 push ups in a minute, try an advanced exercise where you are completely burnt out and can't do another rep past 12 reps in your training period. If you are doing bodyweight squats and want to progress without weight, and can bust out 30 squats in the 50-60seconds of work, try pistol squats or 1 leg squats. These are much more difficult and you can switch sides and hit both sides. You are NOT a slave to the realtime workouts! If you are trying a new more advanced body weight exercise and need to 'pause' the timer/computer while you finish the set, then do so! progression
Still unsure about how you can progress in bodyweight exercises? Check this out. I previously posted this in my blog about pyramid training and bodyweight progression. The choices are endless when it comes to body weight exercises and progressions. Be safe, challenge yourself and you will progress! Want to see more workouts and information on health and fitness? “LIKE” my Facebook page and check out my website as well!

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