What you do the exercise on is just as important as what you do the exercise with.
Here are some ideas that may work in your home.
As a general rule with any of the things you use for apparatus, be sure it is solid! You will be placing bodyweight on these objects and they need to be solid enough to easily support you or you may compromise your safety.
If you already have a bench, you are all set. The flat bench (be it wooden or upholstered) is a perfect starting point for a home exercise program.
- It does not necessarily have to be designed for weightlifting to be useful.
- If you have a wooden bench and find it uncomfortable to lie down on, simply place some cushions or a folded blanket on top.
- If you wish to do any incline work such as incline presses, you can place something (such as a book) underneath one end of the bench to raise the end up and make it an incline.
- Nearly any exercise that can be done on a gym flat bench can be done on a regular bench.
- Always be sure the bench is stable and can support extra weight.
Chairs are found in almost every house. They are useful as a base for a wide variety of exercises.
- Anything seated can typically be done in a chair (e.g. seated shoulder press).
- Exercises such as bench dips can be done with your hands on the edge of a chair.
- Regular dips can be done in between two chairs.
- For most exercises, use chairs that do not have wheels. This is for stability reasons.
The edge of a table can be used to hang onto or push off of.
- Ensure that the table is solid and will not break, buckle, or move while you are using it.
- It is often a good idea to brace the table up against a wall, especially if you will be pushing against it. This will help keep it from moving.
Stairs are perfect for doing calf raises on. Stairs that aren't carpeted are better for that purpose. Any exercise that requires a raised surface (for the feet especially) can be done with stairs.
Footstools and Ottomans
The footstool (preferably upholstered) can function as miniature bench upon which you can do many exercises that would require a flat bench.
- For example, you could do a bench press with just your upper back resting on the footstool.
- Any seated exercise can be done on a footstool as well.
Rails are good for a variety of exercises and stretches. Make sure that they are sturdy enough to support your bodyweight before using them for any exercises though.
Many basements in houses have solid metal poles as supports. These poles are good for exercises as well as stretching. You can loop towels around them and hold onto the ends of the towel to do many pulling exercises.
Everyone has a floor. Many exercises can only be done on the floor and many other exercises can be adapted to the floor. For example, if you don't have a bench, you can just lie on the floor and do bench presses. Your only concern will range of motion, however.
Almost any type of ball (such as a soccer ball, volleyball or basketball) can be used for exercise purposes.
- You can do push-ups with your hands on them.
- You can lay over top of them and use them as a small exercise ball.
If your house has crossbeams or rafters in the basement, these can be used as chin-up bars. You can also set an iron bar across the top of the beams if they are poorly-shaped for gripping.
A bed can be used as a bench for some exercises in a similar fashion to the floor. Be aware, however, that mattresses will spring a little as you are doing exercises on them. This can actually add an element of surprise to an exercise, which can be a good thing or a bad thing.
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