DIY Money Saving Tips

10 Fitness Equipment Items You Can Get Almost Free

10 Fitness Equipment Items You Can Get Almost Free
Written by Irina Vasilescu

A visit to a sporting goods store is enough to tell you that getting fit can be an expensive business. But there’s no need to splurge on a variety of weights and other goodies when you can make them at home using a few cheap items from your local hardware store – or even junk! Kit out your home gym with these cool cost-savers and buck the system.

1. Make your own pull-up bar

What could be easier? It’s just a bar, after all! Set it between two sturdy pieces of wood, use some tape to make comfortable hand grips and you’re good to go. You just need to find a steady beam or even a tree branch to hang it up from. You’ll work out a whole bunch of muscle groups with your pull ups – and if you happen to have some nice metal bar or piping in your garage, it won’t cost you a cent.

For a step-by step tutorial, go to cathe.com.

2. Build your strength with ‘dumb-bottles’

Dumbbells are expensive, especially if you want to use different weights for different exercises, but every week, we throw away milk bottles, water bottles or juice bottles that could become your best workout buddies. Fill them with sand, stones or cement, and you‘re ready to start pumping ‘bottle’. Those arms are looking great!

Check out the whole tutorial at instructables.com.

3. Make your kettlebells

Grab some quick-setting cement and some steel piping from your hardware store. Then pop into a toyshop and choose a rubber or plastic ball you can use for a mold. You will want to bend the bar at right angles or weld on ‘feet’ so that the bar grips solidly into the concrete when it’s set. For an even easier solution that you can make heavier or lighter at will, use an old bag with strong handles and a closeable zipper. Fill it with sand, and get moving.

See the entire tutorial at instructables.com.

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4. Sandbags add extra oomph

Bodyweight exercises can get all too easy. You’ve probably seen people working out with a heavy bolster across their shoulders. Why not make your own? All you need is an old duffle bag or some strong fabric to make your bag and some sand. Sorted! Make lunges, squats and pelvic thrusts more challenging by adding weight.

More details at sixpackfactory.com.

5. Barbells from PVC pipe

OK, it doesn’t look much like a barbell, but it works all the same. Nip down to the hardware and get a length of rigid pipe. You can also get caps that will seal off the ends of your pipe. Now fill it with sand, concrete or even water for those presses and deadlifts. The longer the piece of pipe, the heavier it will be and the greater the challenge. Some people like partially filling the pipe with water so that it sloshes around adding an extra challenge to any exercise as the weight changes with the water’s movement.

See the tutorial at instructables.com.

6. Medicine ball

A weighted ball is a versatile tool that increases the challenge when you’re doing sit-ups, or as extra weight when doing squats or shoulder presses. Take an old basketball, make a hole in the cover and fill it with sand before plugging it closed. Job done!

See the full tutorial at instructables.com.

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7. Make your own incline bench

Killer abs mean sit-ups and crunches galore, but store-bought benches are pretty pricey. Go basic with a few planks joined together and leaned securely or take it to pro level by padding it with foam and play it safe by attaching it to loops set into the wall – the choice is yours. Use some piping or a curtain rod holder to grip your feet, and get going with your crunches or sit-ups.

Visit rosstraining.net for more details.

8. Suspension straps the smart, savvy way

Here’s an irony: TRX straps were invented by a military trainer who didn’t have the equipment and needed to make a plan fast, but now they’ve become a highly priced piece of equipment in their own right. Get smart and make your own.

All you need is the lashing straps that truckers use to secure their loads. If you don’t have an industrial sewing machine, you can get a business to help you out, and it will still work out cheaper than the brand-name item. There are so many exercises you can do with your straps that you could find they’re the only items you need for a tough workout.

More instructions at todayfitness.

9. Battling hosepipes with no costs

Have you tried using battling ropes at the gym? It gets your heart thumping and seems to work out more than just your arms. But those big, heavy ropes are expensive, and as you get stronger, you’ll have to buy bigger and bigger ones. Try out your battling rope moves using an old garden hosepipe, and if it starts getting too light, start filling it with sand. Just remember to plug the ends, or things could get messy!

See the tutorial at craftybridge.blogspot.com.

10. Cardio without the treadmill

Before you lash out a fortune on a treadmill, Stairmaster or orbital trainer, think basic. When last did you jump rope? It’s cheap, and it stores away easily, and you can get your heart beating just as effectively as you would when using any expensive and bulky fitness machine.

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10 Fitness Equipment Items You Can Get Almost Free

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our crafty designer. She joined the team three years ago and is also involved in the writing process.

8 Comments

  • This is a very useful article, I don’t think I would of thought of those ideas and a gym membership is something I have no interest in so this is def something I would like to look into.

  • These are brilliant ideas, definitely doable at home. I really like the idea about the garden hose – I love using the ropes at the gym, then I looked up how much they were going for online – gracious me!

    I guess you could go one step further – if you’re find that too light, even filled with sand, you could buy a disused fire hose on eBay (they’re pretty cheap) and fill that with something, perhaps gravel, for an even heavier challenge.

    Another one I like is flipping old truck tyres, like they do in the Strongman competitions. You can pick up old ones from a junkyard for free, then you can either roll them up and down your yard, or try flipping them. If you’re even more brave, you can have a go at smacking them with a sledgehammer – thats a heck of a workout!

  • I absolutely love working out with sandbags, as they are just the perfect weight no matter how strong you are – because you can change the weight as and when you need to! Plus, I always like to keep sandbags handy at home in case of floods, so it is something that I know will always be available to me. The best thing to do when trying to keep fit is just to make the most out of what’s there for you, almost anything can help you to get fit if you know how to use it to your advantage!

  • These are great tools. Like you said, exercise equipment can get expensive. I Do mostly body weight exercises but I fill plastic milk bottles with sand when I need more weight

  • Definitely good ideas if someone doesn’t want to attend a gym or is not able to. I attend a gym which only costs me £16.00 a month and this includes all classes, so I figure I’ve got a pretty good deal!

  • Toddlers and young children can be live weight-lifting loads. I’ve enjoyed doing this since I had babies, carrying each on baby slings (safer :-). Doing squats (slowly) while carrying an older child on my arms. We both enjoy laughing at the same time–for laughter is good for the soul and well-being. Giving a child some swings on my arms gives me that sense of complete exercise.

    I do have those rubber pull-ups, 10kg iron weights as well. Jump rope is very useful and enjoyable, too.

  • This is a very useful article. You are right, excersise equipment is someties pricely and gyms can also get expensive, although membership helps make the price more reasonable. I love working out with sadbags…but i have never really thought of the idea of garden hose to substitute for the expensive quality jumping ropes. Good suggestions.

  • Sandbag Is Not Only Useful For Exercise it also helps to Release Pressure & Angryness This is Helping Me So I Mentioned Here.

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