Stop Overthinking Your Workout: 10 Household Items that Can Double As Fitness Equipment

Tara Laferrara_Unconventional Equipment.jpg

For someone who co-owns a gym, I’m surprisingly unimpressed with fitness equipment.

Now before you or one of my co-owners rips me a new one, hear me out: The strongest piece of equipment is the human body. I stand by that. I will never cease to be amazed at the new moves my body can do, year after year. I see that same level of surprise within each of my clients, when they put their body through something they couldn’t do six months before.

With that big fat proclamation out of the way, I will say this:

You can find creative ways to perform almost all your favorite exercises, without any fitness equipment

You don’t need a lot of time, money, or fancy equipment to move your body. There are plenty of unconventional ways to get a good sweat in using items you already own, or items that are easily accessible to you.

For example: Remember when I trained for the Red Bull 400? I hit the stairmaster daily (here’s one of my workouts) to get ready for the quote, “steepest 400 in the world.” But had a stairmaster not been available to me, I could have picked the toughest hill in my neighborhood, and ran up it. I could have sprinted up the stairwell in my office building (if I worked in an office). Or I could have found a jungle gym and crawled up the ladders.

IMG_0954 3.JPG

A stairmaster costs upwards of $2,000 on Amazon, but I just came up with three, free alternatives that accomplish the same objective.

Fitness equipment is simply a tool to elevate your workout

But I think people just overthink things and get too narrow on their definition of “equipment.” The don’t open their eyes to the possibility that—with a little creativity—other items could accomplish the same objective.

“Why should I care? Can’t I just use the equipment?”

Well yeah, of course you can. But are you seriously telling me you NEVER had a day where:

  1. No matter how hard you hustled, you just couldn’t make it to the gym

  2. You were practically seeing spots on your computer, and would have loved to transform your cubicle into a workout studio

  3. You got your cardio fix chasing your kiddos around, but would have loved to get a lifting session in


These days make it extremely hard to sneak away to the gym. And unless you want to spend a fortune investing in a home gym, you need to find another way to sweat.

Your house (and office) is filled with tools that can serve as makeshift equipment

To pinpoint exactly what these tools are and how you can use them, you need to rethink the exercise you want to perform. What action are you really doing? What muscles does it target? How does the equipment elevate your workout (add weight, provide a source of instability, provide resistance)?

Here’s a few examples:

  • Dumbbells: The primary purpose of a dumbbells is to add weight, so look around your house and find something heavy. Do you own a rubbermaid tote? Fill it with shit and try a bent over row. Have a box of books lying around? Pick them up and lift them into an overhead press. Hell, I even “bench pressed” my nephews once or twice.

  • Resistance bands: Own a headband? Cool. Try doing a resistance band upper body circuit with bent over rows, tricep kickbacks, bicep curls, and plank tap outs. [Tip: If you own TWO headbands, that’s even better! Use both for extra resistance.]

  • Bench: A bench is one of the few pieces of equipment I use in my program, The TL Method. A bench can be anything that stabilizes you and supports your weight—an ottoman, coffee table, or bench otherwise used for sitting.

4 of my favorite, unconventional pieces of fitness equipment (that aren’t really equipment)

Remember: When sneaking in an at-home workout, the key is to make use of objects you already own. Here are four things I KNOW can be found in each of your homes, which make for great fitness equipment:

  1. Socks: Own a pair of socks? Thought so. Have hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors SOMEWHERE in your home? Great. Kick your shoes off, and try hamstring curls, plank pikes, or diagonal mountain climbers across the floor. Here’s a sock workout you can follow along with.

  2. Your couch: Even if you live in the tiniest studio apartment, you must own a couch or sturdy chair. Rest one leg on the edge of it, and drop into a Bulgarian split squat. You could also try box squats, incline push-ups, mountain climbers, tricep dips, power knees, or step-ups.

  3. Your desk chair: The best thing about a desk chair? It can roll across the floor. For an at-the-office core workout, try doing ab rollouts at your desk. [Side note: You can do the same move with a roller suitcase.]

  4. A pumpkin: What, you don’t own one? With fall finally here (unless you live in Denver, where apparently it’s winter. Fallinter.) a pumpkin can serve as a medicine ball. Try using it for upper body and core workouts, or try the pumpkin workout I jotted down for you below!

20 Minute Pumpkin Spice Workout

Do each exercise for 45 seconds, for four rounds, total.

Squat to press

Tara Laferrara_Overhead Press.jpg

Tricep extension

Tricep Extension_Tara Laferrara.jpg

Overhead squat


Split hop twist

Split Hop Twist.jpg

Plank tap push-up

Tara Laferrara_Plank tap push-up.jpg

[Do this 4 x :45]

What other unconventional ways do you love to move? Let us know in the comments.

And if you’re constantly searching for at-home workouts to try yourself, try the TL Method. For less than $1 a day, you get new workouts delivered to your inbox—workouts that can be performed anywhere, with little-to-no equipment.