How to Exercise at Home without Equipment


Working out at home is a more convenient alternative than making a trip to the gym, but we don’t always have the equipment we need to do our workouts. I have a few sets of dumbbells, an exercise mat, ankle weights, and some exercise bands, but they take up space (and cost money) that I don’t have!

I’m still in college (it’s my last semester!!), so finding space for my exercise equipment is hard since I live in the dorms on campus. We have a couple fitness centers here on campus, as well as a weight room, but it’s so much easier to exercise in my own room. Not only do I feel more comfortable working out without a bunch of my peers watching, but it’s convenient and MUCH cleaner. I don’t have to trek through the snow and below-zero temperatures to go to the gym.

I love getting my exercise done at home, but I don’t always have the equipment I need to get an effective workout. Here are some ways you can exercise in your dorm room, office, living room, backyard, basement, or anywhere else you want if you’d rather not make a trip to the gym.



There are tons of free Zumba workouts on YouTube. Some users have posted full hour-long routines, and others post individual songs so you can create your own routine. Sharee, who blogs at Funeral for my Fat, has awesome Zumba videos! Click here to check out her routines.

HIIT Workouts

There are also tons of free HIIT workouts on YouTube. My favorite channel is FitnessBlender, but there are tons of others! Usually, HIIT workouts are all bodyweight exercises, so you won’t need any equipment.


Again, YouTube is the best for these too! Gotta love finding free videos online. Denise Austin has some that won’t bore you to death!


Visit YouTube yet again to find free kickboxing videos! This Tiffany Rothe video is a good workout, and it definitely beats running on a treadmill.

Strength Training

Makeshift Weights

There are tons of things around your house that you can use as weights! Try using water bottles, soup cans, gallon jugs, small children, bottles of laundry detergent, a sledge hammer, a bag of sugar/flour, buckets of water, shopping bags, bricks, a book bag filled with books, two liter bottles, or a boombox. Just be careful not to drop anything that’s shaped weird or might get slippery. And don’t break anything important, like your boombox! Or your children for that matter.

Ankle/Wrist Weights

To make some temporary, cheap ankle or wrist weights, fill an old sock with beans, sand, or pebbles. Glue the open end to keep the filling in, and tie it around your ankle or wrist.

Chair Exercises

You can use your desk chair or even a table to do tricep dips, step-ups,or push-ups with your feet on the chair.  And if you’re feeling really strong, go ahead and lift the chair!

Body Weight Exercises

Get back on YouTube and find some awesome body weight workout routines. Again, my favorite is Fitness Blender, but there are tons of other workouts you can do with absolutely no equipment but your own body!

Muscle Toning


The only thing you might need for pilates is a mat, but you can simply use a towel or blanket. My favorite website for pilates videos is Blogilates, but I know there are a ton of other free pilates routines on YouTube.


Gaiam Fitness has some free yoga routines on YouTube, and there are tons of others too! You can also buy the yoga DVDs at Walmart (and probably any other store that sells movies).


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5 thoughts on “How to Exercise at Home without Equipment

  1. This is a really useful article. I need to do some exercise at home, it will be a while before I feel confident enough to go to the gym again but it is one of my short term targets.

    What I want to do is at least 2 x 20 minute light activity sessions a day at first just to get my body used to moving again. I’m very overweight and very out of shape but have no health issues other than my obesity. I’m doing a fitness 100 blog challenge starting tomorrow and I’ve chosen to dance. I might only be able to start with standing up and shuffling from one foot to the other and maybe clapping but I figure it is something and I know from history that it is amazing how fast fitness can return and build. I hope to be busting moves by the end of the challenge. I’m planning on doing the dancing in the morning about an hour after breakfast. I have a high fibre breakfast, usually porridge with dried fruits and a pint of water with a fresh lemon squeezed into it.

    I live near a beach and now the weather is improving and the nights are lighter I’ve also decided to go for a walk beside the beach at first for half an hour in the evening with my son and within 4 weeks I want to extend that to at least 30 minutes an evening on the sand. It’s very soft and powdery so can be tough to walk on. I was thinking of doing this in the evening about an hour after dinner. I’ve made my dinner’s very light, choosing to have my bigger meal in the middle of the day. It’s usually fruit based with probiotic yoghurt but could be a light salad with fish or a home made veg and lentil soup.

    Do you think I’m going to be doing enough to get me started and am I doing it at the right times? I just want to make the most of this time while I’m on leave from work to get into a routine as I think that’s important (I’m a teacher so usually spend my days standing in front of a class).

    I’m also on a healthy eating plan, I’m mainly eating vegetables, fruits and salads, extremely low carbs and protein coming from lean white meat, fish and milk, I need the calcium. I’m drinking at least 4 litres of water a day and a fruit and herb infused tea.

    I’m buying organic where I can and also home grow herbs.

    I love your story and wish I’d done what you have done when I was your age and made keeping healthy a real part of my life and not a quick fix. But it’s hopefully not too late and I will be setting a great example to my kids.

    Any advice you could give would be great. That beach walk is going to take some courage as I am a virtual recluse apart from my work and I suffer with anxiety at the thought of leaving the house because of what people might think of me but I’m going to battle through it, I’m determined.

    • First of all, I want to congratulate you on doing what you can to get healthy and set a good example for your children! The foods you’re eating sound very healthy, and your exercise plan sounds like a perfect start. Eventually, you’ll be able to do more and make a trip to the gym, but for now, taking small steps is a fantastic way to get started 🙂

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