Can’t get to the gym? Get creative!

By Physiotherapist, Paulina Backiel

DIY: At-home Gym Equipment

Back when I was a full-time international postgraduate student, there was no way I was able to afford rent, transit, uni fees AND manage to pay for a gym membership. So, I got creative and built my own gym!! In this blog, I am going to outline the steps I used, so that you can create your own gym, too.


  1. Canned goods and rice (anyone else reminiscing about those 5 star uni dinners?)
  2. Coles/woolies bags, old purses 
  3. Backpack
  4. Staircase or solid/sturdy chair
  5. Sturdy chair or couch (not too soft)
  6. Milk cartons or soft drink/water bottles (500ml, 1L, 2L, 3L)

So how do we make weights/gym equipment using our supplies?


-use the Cole’s bags or purses/small bags and fill them with heavy items such as canned foods or bags of rice

Exercise example: walking lunges holding heavy bags at side

Weighted vest

-fill backpack with heavy items such as canned foods or rice bags

Exercise example: Weighted squats with backpack on backwards (heavy side on chest, unless you want to do a back squat then on back)

Stairs or box at gym

-staircase or sturdy chair

-can hold 2 milk jugs in either hand to add weight

Exercise example: step ups with or without holding weight

More Dumbbells and Kettlebell ideas

-fill up old milk cartons (3L=3kg, 1L=1kg, etc.)

Exercise example: bicep curls holding 2L full milk carton


-Couch or solid chair

-again can use weight with either weighted backpack vest you made or holding heavy object

Exercise example: sit to stand from chair or couch (soft couches will be harder so just tap couch with bum)


So there you guys have it!! Heaps of amazing things that you can find at home and create your own gym!! Just remember a can of beans is 400g = 0.4kg, 500ml bottle of water = 0.5kg.

Have fun training!!!