5 At-Home Athletic Equipment Alternatives

Setting up an at-home gym has never been more relevant or more difficult. With gym closures making in-home workouts a necessity, there's an increased demand for at-home exercise equipment. Prices on these items have skyrocketed and supply chain disruptions have made some items very difficult to find. We’re a fairly active bunch here at Nuun, and the suggestions in this article are based on actual improvised fitness gear solutions our team has used over the last several months. So, if you’re having trouble getting the gear you need for a home gym give these equipment alternatives a try!  

Hand Weights: For reasons entirely unknown to us at Nuun it seems like hand weights have been one of the most difficult items to purchase this year. Luckily if you’re looking for some smaller weights to use in at-home HIIT or yoga classes a couple of cans from your pantry will do the trick! Remember: can contents are measured in volume, not weight. So, a 16oz can of sauerkraut might weigh more than a single pound. Use your kitchen scale to determine the weight of your cans and make sure you’re using a balanced set. If you’re looking for more weight, consider filling an old spaghetti sauce jar with sand or other dense material.   

Kettlebells: While not a perfect match for the shape of a kettlebell, Nuun team members have been substituting plastic gallon milk jugs (filled to varying weights with things like sand, gravel, and in one case BB gun balls) as a substitute. We recommend applying a little tape around the handles for a better grip. Also, take some time before you get started to hot glue the cap closed. You don’t want to spill sand all over your living room carpet.

Yoga Blocks: If you’re having trouble finding yoga blocks to support your practice (see what we did there?!) grab a nice thick book that you don’t feel a strong emotional attachment to and put it to work. You won’t get sad if it gets sweaty, plus you have that lovely book-smell to enjoy. It will feel like you’re doing yoga in a library—and who doesn’t love that combination?!

Bolsters or Pillows: Yoga pillows are EXPENSIVE even during normal times. You might be tempted to just grab a pillow from your bed as a substitute but allow us to suggest a large folded beach towel instead. Unlike your comfy fluffy pillow, a folded towel provides an even, consistent support for your posture. It’s also more adjustable than a regular yoga pillow! Try rolling it into a log shape and placing it between your shoulder blades while lying on your back. This provides a wonderful chest opening stretch that isn’t as intense as the same position with a dense foam roller.   

Ankle or Wrist Weights: Ankle and wrist weights can be great additions to your cardio routines or even your afternoon walk! For this substitute we’ve actually had great luck with a DIY approach. This tutorial has been useful to several Nuun staffers, but if you’re looking for an even easier approach, just use a couple of scrunchies to strap a bag of rice to your limbs. Just kidding! Don’t do that. (Or, if you do end up doing that, don’t tell people we told you to.)   

One More Thing: If you’ve been having trouble finding the equipment you need to workout at home, consider checking out used options on Craigslist or your neighborhood’s BuyNothing Facebook community. Many small gyms and training studios have also been offering equipment rentals until they can open to their members again. Renting from them supports a small business and give you professional grade gear for your at-home workouts.  

Do you have any at-home workout equipment advice? Share in the comments below! And remember—Stay hydrated!

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