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Louise Thompson shows off her home workout regime

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Not sure you fancy going back to the gym? Or maybe you’ve cut down how often you’ll go and need a few tips for working out at home? Thanks to MuscleFood, fitness influencer Louise Thompson has revealed how you can build up your strength and get summer ready using common household items instead of weights, from milk cartons to rucksacks. Here are 10 exercises you can do at home with these items instead of regular weights.

Squatting with weights

Squatting with weights works your glutes, hip flexors, quadriceps and plenty of other muscles… but you probably don’t have a squat rack handy at home.

Instead, Louise recommends squatting with a backpack filled with books, bottles, or anything heavy you can find.

She said: “place the filled backpack on the front of your chest and squat for three sets of 10 to 15 reps.

“Stand up straight with your legs spread hip-width apart and slowly move down into a squat position.

“Make sure to keep your chest high and your back straight. Engage your core and slowly straighten your legs to get back up to the starting position.

“Try to avoid leaning forward with the weight of the bag by keeping your back as straight as possible.”

Cossack squat

Cossack squats target the quads, hamstrings, propecia nebraska glutes and other areas while working on your core, and they’re normally done with a kettlebell.

If you don’t have a kettlebell, simply fill a bottle with a litre of water and do the squats while holding it.

Louise recommends doing three sets of 10 to 15 Cossack squats holding the bottle from each end at chest level.

She said: “Widen your stance so that your legs form a triangle shape with the ground.

“Moving your weight from one leg to the other, lunge from side to side while holding the bottle at your chest level.

“Your right leg should extend while your left knee lunges over your foot. Repeat the exercise back and forth 10 to 15 times.”

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Kettlebell swings

Kettlebell swings aren’t impossible without a kettlebell… all you need is a two-litre milk bottle filled to the brim.

Louise explained: “Do 10 to 15 reps and three sets of kettlebell swings holding a 2-litre milk bottle (filled).

“Fill up a ‘Flagon’ with water i.e. a 2-litre carton of milk with a handle.

“Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and pull the bottle between your legs as you bend your knees into a high squat and then swing the bottle forwards by extending your arms in front of your body as you stand to an upright position.

“Repeat this exercise quickly in a continuous flowing movement.”

Arm exercises

You can’t slack on your arms just because you don’t have any traditional weights!

Grab a few tins of food and get to work.

Louise recommends using 400g tinned food, such as beans or soup, and holding them in each hand.

She said: “Stand up straight with your legs shoulder-width apart and hold one can in each hand.

“Start by holding the cans and extending your arms down straight in front of your body. Slowly bend your elbows to lift the cans up to your shoulders.

“Pause, then slowly lower your arms back down and repeat the exercise 10 to 15 times on both arms for three sets.”

You can also do tricep curls, lateral raises, and tricep extensions with this piece of equipment.

Tricep dip

The good old tricep dip isn’t everyone’s favourite, but it’s easy to do at home with a chair. Again, do 10 to 15 reps for three sets.

Louise explained: “Using a chair, extend your legs in front of your body and position yourself at the front of a chair.

“Place your hands at the edge of the chair and firmly grip onto the front. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart with your heels touching the ground.

“Press into your palms and lift your body up using your arms and then slowly lower yourself until your elbows are bent between 45 and 90 degrees.

“Slowly push yourself back up to the starting position and repeat the exercise 10 to 15 times.”

Incline press-up

Don’t slack on your press-ups just because you’re at home – use a chair to make them even harder.

Louise explained: “Place a chair in front of you and ensure that you have plenty of room to perform a press-up. Place your hands onto the edge of the seat and grip both sides.

“Step your feet back and extend your body so that your legs are straight, and your arms are stretched out in front of you holding onto the chair.

“Using your arms, slowly lower your body by bending your arms down to support your weight.

“Push yourself back up by extending your arms and pushing up to the starting position. Repeat the exercise 10 to 15 times for three sets.”

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Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian Split Squat will really work out your legs, bum and core, so why not give it a go using a chair at home?

Louise said: “Place a chair behind you, take a step forward in front of the chair and rest one foot on the chair.

“Position yourself into a forward lunge position with your torso upright, core engaged and hips straight, with your back foot elevated on the chair.

“Lower your leg into the lunge position until your front thigh is almost horizontal and keep your knee in line with your foot.

“Drive your body up through your front heel back to the start position. Repeat the exercise 10 to 15 times and then swap to the other leg.

“Hold your hands together in front of your chest to keep balanced and repeat for three sets.”


While abs are predominantly made in the kitchen, you need to work on your core to keep your abdominal muscles strong! You can do this with a hand towel.

Louise said: “Twist together a hand towel into a rope-like shape. Sit on the floor and hold the wrapped towel on each end with both of your hands.

“Lay backwards onto the ground and hold the towel above your head with your legs laid out straight.

“As you pull your body back up towards your chest, pull the towel over your head and under your thighs.

“Keep your core engaged as you travel through the movements and repeat the exercise back and forth for 10 to 15 reps and three sets.”

Hamstring sliders

Who would’ve thought a hard floor and socks is a good combo for exercise?

Louise said: “You’ll need a hard floor i.e. wooden or tiled for this exercise. Wearing a pair of thick socks, lay on your back on the floor with your legs out straight.

“Push your chest up into the air and raise your glute up away from the ground to position your legs in a 90-degree angle glute bridge with your hands laid out on either side of your body.

“Hold the position with your glutes off the ground and slide your legs forward so that they are straightened out and then slide back to the 90-degree glute bridge angle.

“Keep your core engaged and repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times for three sets.”

Inverted row

Grab two chairs and a broom handle or any long stick or pole you can find to do an inverted row.

Louise explained: “Place two sturdy chairs about half a meter apart leaving enough space so that you can fit between the middle.

“Using a pole (broom handle, mop handle etc), place the pole across the top of both of the chair seats and lay underneath the pole between the two chairs.

“Grip your hands firmly onto the pole and lift your body up towards the pole and then lower yourself slowly back to the ground. Repeat the exercise 10 to 15 times for three sets.”

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