Innovative DIY Dumbbell Ideas for Home Workouts
During the pandemic in 2020, many of us found ourselves confined to our homes, unable to access our usual gym equipment. As a result, we had to get creative with our workouts, using whatever items we had on hand. One popular option was using canned food as a substitute for dumbbells. While this may have sufficed for some, it was not the most effective method for building muscle mass or strength. Most canned foods weigh less than a pound, limiting their potential for muscle growth.
Furthermore, dumbbells can be quite expensive to purchase. A rack full of dumbbells can cost more than an entire home gym setup, including a weight bench, barbell, 200-pound weight plates, and a squat rack. Adjustable dumbbells, although gaining popularity, can also be pricey and may not be as sturdy as fixed dumbbells. With these factors in mind, it seems logical to explore budget-friendly DIY dumbbell ideas that can provide a commercial gym-quality workout in the comfort of our own homes.
One versatile option for DIY dumbbells is a backpack. Unlike fixed-weight dumbbells, a backpack allows you to easily add or remove weight to suit different exercises. Additionally, backpacks are accessible to most people, as many of us have one lying around from our school or college days. It is recommended to use a backpack with a grab handle on the top, as this mimics the handle of a dumbbell. While shoulder straps are great for exercises like weighted push-ups or pull-ups, a grab handle is necessary for lifts such as bicep curls or bench presses.
To use a backpack as a DIY dumbbell, simply fill it with the appropriate weight. Books, magazines, or other heavy objects can be used for this purpose. It is recommended to use two backpacks filled with the same items for balance. Hold the grab handles with an underhand grip, stand upright with a hip-width stance, and curl the bag until your hands are at shoulder level. Pause and contract your biceps at the top of the movement, then slowly return to the starting position. Ensure that your backpack is in good condition and that the grab handles are sturdy, as a worn-out backpack could rip during your workout and cause injury.
Another common DIY dumbbell idea is using water bottles. While many people use one-liter water bottles as makeshift dumbbells, this may not provide enough weight for some individuals. To increase the weight, you can create a water bottle dumbbell by using duct tape, PVC pipes, and water blades. By taping four filled water bottles around each end of a PVC pipe, you can create a 4-pound dumbbell. It is important to use 1-liter water bottles that are shorter and wider, as tall bottles may interfere with movement mechanics. Alternatively, you can use an iron pipe instead of a PVC pipe for added weight, although power tools may be required to cut the iron pipe.
Moving on to larger DIY dumbbells, milk jugs or gallon bottles can be a suitable option. These jugs hold more weight and have a built-in handle, making them easier to grip during exercises. Simply fill the jugs with water, secure the lids, and use them as dumbbells. It is worth noting that the handle’s position near the jug’s neck may slightly alter movement mechanics. For example, a supinated-grip bicep curl may be more natural with a neutral hand position. Adjustments to grip may be necessary for optimal performance in each exercise. Experienced exercisers can opt for larger water jugs to ensure a greater stimulus for strength and muscle gains. Similar to the water bottle dumbbells, you can use the PVC pipe technique to attach the milk jugs for added stability.
In conclusion, DIY dumbbells can be a cost-effective and innovative solution for home workouts. By utilizing items such as backpacks, water bottles, and milk jugs, you can create makeshift dumbbells that provide a challenging workout. However, it is important to prioritize safety and ensure that all DIY dumbbells are in good condition and securely assembled. With these DIY options, you can continue to stay active and maintain your fitness goals, even in times when access to traditional gym equipment is limited.