How to make your own weights

Title text: Shelter in the Greatest Place over a photo of Rachel using two fire extinguishers as makeshift weights.

Don’t have access to weights at home? No problem! You can still get a great workout without traditional dumbbells just using random things you have at home. It won’t be an exact replica of your normal weight choice, but you’ll still be feelin’ the burn if you’re willing to get a little creative. 

Before you get started, you should consider these questions when making your own weights:

Is it safe?
Well….is it safe? Make sure your DIY weights are simple, secure and easy to hold. We don’t want to hear stories of you using knives (somehow) or boxes of sharp needles.

Is it heavy enough?
You’ll really need to scan your living space and decide what kind of weight you need and what exercises you want to do. Wine bottles aren’t enough for my triceps but they’re great for high reps of reverse flys! Maybe you can drink a little during your breaks and do some drop sets at the same time, haha! (Just kidding! we don’t recommend you drink and exercise).

You can make your DIY weights heavier using some things like book stacks or replacing liquid in vessels for sand.

Are there two?
Hopefully you’re a collector of a few things and you can get a set of two for some dumbbell double duty. Two fire extinguishers? Two jugs? Two stacks of books? So studious! Pairs aren’t a must, but it can be nice for certain exercises.

These are some great alternatives for different weights:

They come in 5 lb, 20lb, 50lb. There are quite a lot of options here if you’ve got it in your pantry. You could even split it up into two vessels and make dumbbells!

You can put a variety of canned pantry goods in a secure box or bag and use that as a single weight. Also, think beer! Maybe you have a 12 or 30 pack you can workout before you finish ‘em off!

Wine Bottles
These can be used for low weight, high rep activities. It’s very possible you’ve got some bottles at home. Bonus: You can see your end goal … wine!

Water Jugs
It’s always good to have some emergency water and they often come with handles for extra ease of working out. Fill ‘em with sand if you wanna go nuts!

Fire Extinguisher
First, make sure the safety is on. I used the lower handle (the one that doesn’t move) as my dumbbell grip.

You don’t need to grab your leather bound books, but we do recommend hardcovers since they’ll help add structure and ease when holding. Strap your book stacks down with paracord or some belts. Yes, a waist belt.

Box of Random Stuff!
If you’re at the bottom of this list and still haven’t found a solution then maybe you’re desperate. In this case, grab a secure box (wooden ideally) and just throw a bunch of heavy stuff into it. Hammers, screwdrivers, a few beers, who cares at this point? As long as it’s the weight you want and it’s safe!


Rachel using a large bottle of water as a makeshift weight in lieu of a kettle bell.

Rachel using a pile of books as a makeshift weight in lieu of a kettle bell in a squat exercise.

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