How to Make Weights at Home 6 Different Ways

Young couple exercising with a gallon of water

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Learn how to make weights at home using cheap materials, most of which you already have on hand. If you're looking to up your home workout without spending a small fortune on workout equipment, this is a great way to do it.

There's a wide variety of DIY weights here including what you can use in place of dumbells, how to make your own sandbag, put together a barbell, DIY a medicine ball, make ankle weights, and find alternatives to kettlebells. They are all simple and quick projects that will have you working out in no time.

  • 01 of 06


    Young Asian girl exercising lift DIY homemade dumbbell equipment or pair of water bottles weight training at home

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    You can make dumbbells at home very easily. All you need to do is look around for something heavy enough that you can use it as a weight. Here are some ideas for what you can use:

    • Water bottles
    • Canned food
    • Jarred food
    • Water or milk gallons
    • Laundry detergent

    The smaller dumbbell alternatives should be able to easily fit in your hand. The larger items should have a sturdy handle that you can hold on to.

    Before you use any of these as weights, make sure that they are all sealed properly or you might have quite a mess on your hands.

    Not enough weight in your homemade dumbbells? Consider pouring out the contents and fill them with sand, gravel, or aquarium substrate.

  • 02 of 06


    Shot of a pregnant woman working out with a sand bag on the patio at home

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    It's easy to create your own sandbag weights for a workout. You'll want to choose a liner bag for the sand to go in and you need to make sure that it can close completely without leaking sand. Ideally, it would be waterproof too. You can use actual sandbags that are used for floods or inner tubes from car tires. You can also use garbage bags or zippered freezer bags, but these need to be triple-lined to protect you from tears and leaks.

    After you've selected your liner bag, it's time to fill it up with sand. Make sure that you allow some room at the top for air so that the sand can move around. Use duct tape to secure any openings or seams. Double-check that all seams and openings are securely closed.

    Now that you've got your lining filled, it's time to get it in the outer bag. The outer bag simply holds the liner bag. This can be just about any bag that you have on hand. You can use a duffel bag, military surplus bag, or any heavy-duty bag. Feel free to further secure this with more duct tape so the sand has no way of escpaing.

    Don't limit yourself by using just sand. Pea gravel, wood pellets, and rubber mulch can all be used in place of sand.

  • 03 of 06


    Man at home with homemade dumbells

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    You can make a DIY barbell with just a few items from around your home. Use a metal pole (like from a dust mop with a detachable head) or bamboo stick, and then place plastic gallon containers on either side. You can fill these with water or something heavier like sand or pea gravel if you'd like an extra challenge. You can decide just how much you fill them up with. To keep the jugs from shifting, tie a sock on either side of the handles.

  • 04 of 06


    Young woman squatting with kettlebell on yoga mat in living room

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    Kettlebells are a popular at-home weight option for those looking for something different than standard hand weights. You'll want to mimic the heavy ball along with the single handle. You can use a ball and concrete to make your own DIY kettlebell or simply find items the same weight and size as a kettlebell. Here are some items you may have at home that you can use.

    • Laundry detergent jugs
    • Milk or water jugs
    • Paint cans
    • Gas cans

    There's another easy solution to making your own kettlebell, and you have everything you need right at home. You can get a backpack or gym bag and fill it with heavy items to make it the desired weight. Shorten the straps and tie them together if you want to create one short handle. Use it just as you would a kettlebell.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Medicine Balls

    A middle aged man is exercising at home with the help of a laptop and doing fitness exercises, pushups, situps and other sporting activities on a fitness mat

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    Medicine balls are also a popular way to lift weights at home. It's fairly easy to make your own medicine ball. Take a basketball (or similar ball) and let all the air out of it. Then cut a small slit in the ball and insert a funnel into it. Fill up our ball with sand or gravel and patch your hole with duct tape. A few simple steps and you have a DIY medicine ball.

  • 06 of 06

    Ankle Weights

    Asian woman finding new ways to use everyday objects around the home as substitutes for her regular exercise equipment she using Leg lifts with ankle weights fashioned out of bags of rice at home.

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    In just a few minutes time, you have some DIY ankle weights. Start by finding two socks, sand, and duct tape. Fill a sock with sand until you get it as heavy as you would like them to be, and then lay the sock flat to level the sand. Fold over the sock's opening and duct tape it closed, making sure to secure any seams that look like they might come apart. Tie each end with one shoelace so you have something to tie around your ankles. Repeat with a second sock to create a pair. It really only takes a few minutes to make these ankle weights and you can use them over and over again in your home workouts.

    If you know how to sew, you can easily sew your own ankle or wrist weights.