Let’s be blunt: What makes at-home workouts so appealing isn’t the fact they’re free (though that helps)—it’s that you can roll out of bed or off the couch in your boxer briefs and blast through a routine, hit the shower, then go on with the rest of your day. No waiting around. No frustrations.
The downside of working out in your living room? It’s easy to get stuck in the same routine. Fortunately for you, that’s about to change.
We asked personal trainer Kaisa Keranen, M.S., to suggest 10 everyday objects that double as surprisingly effective workout tools. Plus, she’s included two awesomely difficult exercises you can do with each—and that’ll have you second-guessing why you ever bought a gym membership in the first place.
Pick 5-7 moves from the list and perform them as a circuit. Do each move for 30 seconds. If a move is unilateral, complete 30 seconds per side, then take a 15-second break before moving on to the next move.
Once you’ve completed the circuit, take 1-2 minutes to recover, then repeat 2-4 more times. (Might want to grab an extra towel to mop up your sweat.)
A. Clapping pushup
How to do it: *Make sure your table is sturdy—don’t use the foldable table you use to play beer pong—and won’t slide around as you push off of it.
Place your hands on the edge and walk your feet back so you’re in an incline pushup position. Lower yourself to perform a pushup, then explode from the bottom position so your hands leave the table. Clap your hands, then brace yourself as you come back to the start position. If you’re not comfortable with the movement, perform plyo pushups without the clap.
B. Table dip with one-legged support
How to do it: Face away from the table and place your palms on its edge as you would for a bench dip. Extend one leg so you only have one leg supporting you. Starting with your arms extended, lower yourself as far as you can comfortably go, then slowly press up back to the starting position.
A. Stepup to reverse lunge
How to do it: Place a sturdy chair in front of you. Step up on one leg, then come back down, going directly into a reverse lunge. Alternate sides after 30 sec.
B. Straight-leg kickover with lunge
How to do it: Stand behind the back of a chair. In one smooth motion, kick your left leg up and over the back of the chair to the left, then bring your left foot back behind you as you lower yourself into a reverse lunge. Stand, then kick your right leg up and over the back of the chair to the right, bringing your right foot back into a reverse lunge.
A. Plank slide-out
How to do it: This works best on a smooth floor. Start by standing up with a towel on the floor in front of you. Bend over and place each hand on the towel. Slide out to a pushup position, perform a pushup, then fire your abs to bring your hands back toward your feet. Keep your hands on the ground—as if you were doing a hamstring stretch—throughout the entire movement.
B. Knee-ins to pushup
How to do it: Start in a plank position with towels under your feet. Pull your knees in, then push them back out to plank. Perform a pushup and repeat.
4. Paper plates
A. Reverse lunge to lateral lunge
How to do it: Place a paper plate under your sliding foot (the one that’ll go behind you). Lower yourself into a reverse lunge, then drag your back foot and the paper plate up to the start position. From here, drag the plate and your foot into a side lunge. Alternate sides after 30 sec.
B. Quick mountain climbers
How to do it: Start in a plank position with paper plates under both feet. Perform mountain climbers as fast as you can.
A. Couch pistol squat to hop
How to do it: Position yourself in front of a couch, facing away. Perform a pistol squat (single-leg squat) on your right leg until your butt touches the couch. Then stand back up and explosively hop up on your right leg. Switch sides after 30 sec.
B. Plank leg jumps
How to do it: Place your hands on the floor and feet on the couch. Jump your feet off the couch, bending your knees so your feet land in between your hands. Continue jumping your feet back and forth, keeping your core engaged.
A. Pillow V-ups
How to do it: Hold a pillow in between your feet. Make sure your lower back stays touching the floor throughout the entire movement. Extend your legs and arms and bend your knees, drawing them to your chest. Then, pass the pillow to your hands, reaching your arms overhead to touch the pillow to the floor, extending your legs again, too. Keep passing back and forth.
B. Side plank up/downs
How to do it: Place a pillow under your hip. Come up into a side plank, then tap your hip down on the pillow. Change sides after 30 sec.
7. Cooking pot
A. Toe taps
How to do it: Flip a pot upside-down on a rug—or position it against the corner of a wall to keep from sliding. Perform high knees, tapping your toes on top of the pot.
B. Side plank with toe tap
How to do it: Place a pot upside-down about an arm’s-length away from your body, up towards your shoulders. Go into a side plank. You should be facing the pot, so it’s about arm’s length away from your torso. Lift your leg slightly and swing it in front of you to touch the pot with your toe (try not to pivot your torso). Switch sides after 30 sec.
8. Toilet paper
A. Plank stack
How to do it: Stack 3-4 rolls of toilet paper on top of one another. Go into a plank position, so the toilet paper is to your right side. Use only your right hand to take the rolls off one by one, and stack them to your left side. Then, use only your left hand to unstack them and re-stack to your right.
B. Single-leg Romanian deadlift
How to do it: Stand up and imagine a clock face around you. Place a roll of toilet paper at 12 (aka directly in front of you), 10, and 2. Stand on your left leg, and use your right hand to reach down and touch the toilet paper at 10. Come back to standing, then continue with the other two rolls. Switch sides. Keep your core engaged.
How to do it: Imagine you’re doing a box jump. Swing your arms as you jump up on to the bed. Land softly, then step down.
B. Kneeling squat jump
How to do it: Kneel on your bed. Swing your arms and explode up to land on your feet in a squat position. Come back down to the kneeling position.
A. Plank walk-up
How to do it: Get into a plank position with your head facing a wall. Walk your right hand up the wall, then your left. Bring your right hand down to the floor, then your left. Continue this pattern.
B. Handstand shoulder tap
How to do it: Get into a plank with your feet facing a wall. (You want to wear clean shoes or socks so you don’t destroy your walls.) Walk your feet up the wall until you’re in a handstand. Perform alternating shoulder taps.
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