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Household Items as Hand Weights: Free, Fun & It Works!

written by: Donna Clarke • edited by: KJ Fitness,Ink • updated: 9/30/2009

Nowadays, who can afford expensive hand weights? With everything else we need to worry about, this expense shouldn't be one of them and it doesn't have to be! You can create your own weight training hand equipment by using some items right in your home. The best part? It's free, fun and...it works!

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    To Buy or Not To Buy...

    It seems as if everywhere we turn we are bombarded with infomercials telling us to buy the latest, greatest muscle-building equipment. They're all supposedly scientifically proven to firm you up and slim you down in ways no other product ever could before. Truth be told, to get in shape you just need to look around your house. All you really need is right there, at your fingertips.

    Water bottles are a fabulous substitutes for hand weights. They're easy to grip and they can grow with your ability and strength level. If you are a beginner, keep them empty and just fill them as you grow stronger. They're versatile, simple and a great way to recycle empty water bottles. You can fill them with just about anything, although water or sand work really well. Be careful to close the lids tightly. Pay close attention while you exercise in order to keep the weight in the bottles evenly distributed and prevent your wrists from wobbling.

    If you've got some 5 lb bags of sugar, you've got another way to have a great work out. Hold the sugar firmly with both hands down in front of you and slowly lift, keeping your arms straight, until you are looking at the bag in front of you. Hold this position for five to ten seconds and then slowly return to beginning position. Remember to blow air out as you lift and keep your abs tight. Rest and then repeat. What an amazing workout!

    Love your laundry? It sounds strange, but there is a redeeming quality to that laundry...it has to be put away. Carrying that laundry basket around the house, especially out in front of you, is a great way to tone and build. Start with it empty, then add small amounts of laundry, each time carrying it the longest way to where the clothes belong, all the while keeping your abs tight. It's a silly yet fun way to firm!

    Ever wonder what to do with those single socks that are always left when their mates get 'eaten' by the dryer? Fill them with marbles, washed pebbles, dried beans or even sand and you've got perfect hand weights that not only conform to your hands but are easy to carry. Pop them on your scale and you can make a series of weights in whatever increments you like. You can even color code them: red socks = 2 pound, blue socks = 5 pounds and so on.

    Looking to strengthen your fingers and hands? All you need is some clay! Using one hand at a time, press the clay through your fingers. Roll it into a ball. Make a rope by firmly pressing your palm into the clay. Roll it into a ball again and have another go. Alternate hands and have fun!

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    One Style of Exercise Equipment Doesn't Fit All!

    When considering your workout routine remember that one product does not fit all. If it did, there would be no need for all the informercials bombarding us to buy their products in the first place. When it comes to your individual workout plan, you don't have to spend a lot, to get a lot. In fact, you might not need to spend anything at all with respect to hand weights. Just look around your home. You're likely to find exactly what you need right there. Just keep it simple and be creative.