Homemade Hand Weights
You can shell out a lot of money for a set of hand weights to use for toning routines at home, but you don't have to. All you need to do is get creative with items you probably already have in your home. From a soup can to a hefty jug of laundry detergent, you can make hand weights in a variety of sizes to challenge your muscles without challenging your wallet.
In Your Cupboard
Cans of vegetables or beans make perfect small hand weights. They are easy to grip and weigh nearly a pound. Use them for activities like front arm raises which are challenging with very little weight. It costs nothing to use them as weights before opening them for dinner.
Make heavier weights with packages of dried beans or peas. Put two 1-pound bags of beans in two socks to make two 2-pound weights. Fill the socks and tie the tops tightly. Use them as hand weights for upper-body exercises. When you no longer need the weights, you can empty the beans into a pan of boiling water and make soup.
In the Fridge
Half-gallon plastic milk or juice jugs make handy 4-pound weights. The handles on the milk jugs make them easy to hold while exercising your arms and shoulders. You can pull full jugs right out of the refrigerator to lift while you're waiting for water to boil, or you can fill empty jugs with water.
Fruit can also be used to make hand weights. Those net bags of oranges and apples you can find at the store are just right for 3- to 5-pound weights. Then you'll have a healthy snack to eat when your workout is done.
In the Laundry Room
The laundry room is chock full of useful items to use as weights. Gallon or half-gallon detergent bottles with handles make 8-pound or 4-pound weights, respectively. Bottles of cleaning solution, as long as they are securely sealed, also make good hand weights. Save these jugs when they are empty to fill with water for future use.
Empty paint cans can be filled with sand or even cement. You can then wrap the handles with an old T-shirt and tape for a padded grip.
Around the House
You could put spare change in the bank, or you could use it to build stronger muscles. Divide your jar of coins equally between two socks to use as hand weights.
Stack paperback books in paper grocery bags. Hold the handles and do biceps curls, front or side arm raises, rows or shoulder presses.
Look around your house for other heavy items, such as bookends, stools, heavy candlesticks or other non-breakable objects with a little heft to them. If nothing else, you can grab an object while you're on the phone and do a quick set or two of biceps curls.
- "The Free Weight Workout Deck- For Men"; Eduardo Dias; 2009
- "The Free Weight Workout Deck- For Women"; Eduardo Dias; 2009
- If you have high blood pressure or heart disease, talk to your doctor about using hand weights when you exercise.
- Use hand weights while you are watching television. March in place in front of the television while holding hand weights. Swing your arms while marching or do range of motion exercises with the weights.
- Start with less weight than you think you can handle, to avoid overuse injuries. Increase the weight slowly over a period of weeks.
- If you experience pain while using hand weights or after using them, stop using them and exercise without them to avoid injury.