If you want to achieve those rock-hard abs without paying for a monthly gym membership, a home workout routine is totally doable. But exercise equipment can be pricey and how much will you really use it?
Instead, substitute those pieces of equipment with things you already have at home. Here are a few common household items you can use for your ab workouts.
1. Bag of sugar or flour
Instead of a medicine ball, use a bag of sugar or flour. It’s about the same size and will add that extra weight and intensity to your exercises. A few ways to get awesome abs using your alternative medicine ball are med ball toe touches and Russian twists.
Try these sugar or flour bag workouts
- Med ball toe touches: Lie on your back and point the heels of your feet toward the ceiling so your legs are at a 90-degree angle with the floor. Put your hands above your head and hold the bag of sugar/flour with both hands. Do a crunch and lift your shoulders off the ground, extending the bag of sugar/flour toward your raised feet. Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position and repeat.
- Russian twists: Sit on the ground and bend your knees, keeping your heels on the floor. Hold the bag of sugar/flour at your chest and lean back, keeping your back at a 45-degree angle with the ground. While still holding the sugar/flour at your chest, twist your torso to one side, go back to your starting position, then twist to the opposite side and repeat.
2. Water bottles
To make your own hand weights, just use plain water bottles and fill them with water, sand or gravel (depending on how heavy you want them to be). These smaller weights are an easy way to take traditional ab workouts to the next level. Hold a water bottle in each hand while doing crunches, sit-ups, side planks and superman holds.
If you need a heavier weight that’s easy to grip, grab an empty jug leftover from liquid laundry detergent, bleach or milk and fill it with water or sand. You can use your homemade weight for exercises that require dumbbells or a kettlebell. You can easily do standing side bends and kettlebell swings.
Try these jug workouts
- Standing side bends: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a jug weight in one hand. Bending sideways, slowly lower the jug toward the ground, keeping your back straight. Hold for a second or two, then return to standing position. Repeat 10 times for a set on one side, then repeat on the other side.
- Kettlebell swings: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slightly bend your knees and place the jug on the floor in between your feet. Grab the jug with both hands and swing the jug upward, bringing it to eye level before letting it fall back to the ground. Repeat.
A towel can glide across a hard floor like an ab wheel but won’t cost you an arm and a leg to purchase.
Start in plank position with toes and hands on the ground, arms extended and core engaged to hold your body straight. Place the towel underneath your hands and slowly push forward, keeping your core engaged and body lifted off the ground. Move your hands forward as far as you can without allowing your body to touch the ground. Once you’ve reached that point, slowly slide your hands back to starting position and repeat.