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What Can You Use Instead of Dumbbells at Home?

    You want to do dumbbell workout routines at home but don’t have the dumbells. So, what can you use instead of dumbbells at home?

    You have come to the right place. Yes! There are other things or equipment that you can use instead of dumbbells at home.

    Read on as I have rounded up 10 dumbbells alternatives below for you to discover.

    What Can You Use Instead of Dumbbells

    1. Kettlebells

    A kettlebell is a hand or weight equipment for a workout, only unlike most dumbbells, it is made with a cast iron or steel ball with a grip handle attached to the top that looks like a cannonball.

    A kettlebell can be used to perform several exercises including strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular training.

    Naturally, kettlebells are used for weightlifting, abs, muscle-building, and endurance training. A home workout routine with a kettlebell is most likely to have effects on your legs, shoulders, lower back, and grip force or strength.

    When properly conducted, kettlebells are beneficial to your health. They can give you an improved motion range, agility, mobility, increased strength, mental toughness, and cardiovascular endurance. 

    2. Barbells

    A barbell is often referred to as the longer version of a dumbbell. It is a piece of exercise equipment that is used basically for bodybuilding, weight, and powerlifting.

    A barbell consists of a long bar with a preferred weight bell attached on both ends. The bar is usually between 1.2 meters to 2.4 meters long with a diameter of between 25-50 millimeters. The average weight of a home barbell is 20 kilograms.

    3. Gallons of Water

    Gallons of water are also alternatives to use instead of a dumbbell at home. At least five-gallon water jugs would do the trick.

    Water jugs are heavy. Since it requires an amount of strength to raise them, it makes them ideal replacements for dumbbells.

    Water jugs offer a diverse range of routine workouts, ranging from using them as a means to squat to using them for weightlifting.

    Should five gallons be too heavy for you, you can reduce the number according to your strength.

    4. Ankle Weight

    An ankle weight is another workout equipment that can be used at home instead of a dumbbell. 

    Ankle weights are types of weights that you put on your ankles before undergoing any exercise.

    It is an excellent tool for almost any type of workout as it adds extra resistance for strength and movements, making cardiovascular workouts easier if you are wearing them.

    Ankle weights are easy to use, and the equipment is also quite more comfortable than dumbbells. 

    The major benefit of an ankle weight is to increase your strength and endurance. It works by adding extra weight to your base, forcing your body to produce a greater amount of force than usual, which would eventually increase your overall endurance level and your stamina.

    5. Paint Cans

    Paint cans are also another alternative to use instead of dumbbells for home workouts. 

    Paint cans are usually heavier than plastic containers, making them good enough for this purpose.

    You can get empty cans with handles and fill them with sand, water, or something else to increase their weight substantially.

    The handles on these paint cans are what enable you to lift them as a makeshift dumbbell. They can be used to perform several muscle-building workouts and some cardiovascular workouts too.

    6. Laundry Detergent Bottles

    Just like paint cans, laundry detergent bottles are another alternative to use in place of a dumbbell. You can purchase these bottles, empty their contents, and fill the empty bottles with water, sand, or anything similar.

    They can be substituted perfectly for dumbbells which are effective for muscle, abs, and cardio-related workouts. Depending on the content you put in them, constantly using these laundry detergent bottles will increase your strength, endurance, and speed in no time.

    If you aim to burn fat, reduce your calories, and form strong muscles, then laundry detergent bottles will do the magic.

    7. Backpacks

    Backpacks are also another alternative to dumbbells for home workouts.

    With your backpack, you can make a weighted vest by filling it with random things that will make it heavy but comfortable and mobile enough for you to carry it around easily, and with this, you have a perfect makeshift of a dumbbell. 

    With your weighted backpack, you can carry out exercises like squats with the backpack in hand.

    This exercise directly engages your hamstring, glutes, and quadriceps. It also works on stabilizing your core muscles.

    Normally, squatting is a difficult exercise, and adding a backpack to perform weighted squatting exercises makes the effect even greater. 

    Learn some routines using your backpack from the video below.

    8. Balsamic Vinegar Bottles

    This is also another home material that can easily be used in place of a dumbbell.

    If you are the type that normally stocks up cooking items like the balsamic vinegar, then that’s a plus!

    These bottles can be used as a means of weightlifting due to their structure, which allows you to grab them easily.

    However, ensure that they are not too heavy so that you don’t drop and break them. Make a moderate weight so that it’s easy for you to lift.

    9. Milk Jugs

    Your milk jugs can also be used in place of a dumbbell.

    Their handles come in handy when using them as a weightlifting tool. Note that you can also fill them with water and, they can be used to perform a variety of muscle and cardiovascular workouts.

    10. Stone Rolling Pin

    A stone rolling pin is also another piece of equipment that can be used instead of a dumbbell.

    Preferably, you would need the one that is made of marble or granite that weighs about 5 kilograms.

    A stone rolling pin can serve as a small two-handed barbell and can be used just like a dumbbell. It can also be used for exercises such as a bicep curl routine. 

    How Do You Make Homemade Dumbbells?

    As mentioned earlier, dumbbells are an easy way to get in those muscles, cardio, and abs workout routines to give you that perfect body and good health. For the fact that dumbbells are usually expensive, why not make it yourself?

    You can learn some tips and steps on how to make homemade dumbbells from the video below.

    Below are examples of homemade dumbbells and the instruction on how you make them.

    Homemade Water Bottle Dumbbells

    A homemade water bottle dumbbell is usually quite easy and simple to make because you may not necessarily need to go shopping to get the materials needed since they are what you might already have at home.


    • Water
    • About eight water bottles
    • Duct or masking tape
    • Pipe or tube


    • Fill each water bottle with water as you would like them to weigh.
    • Using the duct or masking tape, wrap four bottles each, then do the same for the others.
    • Insert the pipe or tube into the space formed by all four water bottles as they face the stick. Do this for the remaining four, and mount them on the other side of the pipe or pole.
    • Use the tape to tighten the water bottles and pole to each other.


    • The size of the bottle determines the weight of the dumbbell.
    • The length of the pole or pipe determines the length of the dumbbell.

    Homemade Sand Dumbbells

    Making a homemade sand dumbbell takes a longer time than that of a water bottle. Also, you would be needing some simple tools that wouldn’t require much shopping.


    • About 10 pounds of sand.
    • Two 600 ml plastic bottles.
    • Wooden saw and a wooden dowel (two 4-inch pieces).
    • Paper and four screws.
    • Markers and measuring tape.
    • Screwdriver and a utility knife.


    • Put the wooden dowel in the two bottles, ensure they fit tightly.
    • Use your marker to mark the top part of the bottle, then cut it off with your knife (cut below the bottle label).
    • Make sure the top and bottom pieces don’t fit around each other.
    • Use duct tape to hold both parts together.
    • Use the measuring tape and marker to get the measurement that both pieces would be 30 cm long, then use the wooden saw to cut the dowel in two (these parts would be the dumbbell’s handle).
    • With the hole at the bottom, roll your paper so it’s shaped like a funnel, then use your duct tape to keep it intact.
    • Use the made paper funnel to fill both funnels.
    • Put the stick 10cm deep into each bottle.
    • Take two screws and use your screwdriver to screw into the necks of both bottles to keep the dowel on the bottles so they can’t remove.


    • You can use a wood stick or broom for the dowel.
    • You should use an electric screwdriver to screw through the wooden dowel as it is much easier.

    Note: You can also make homemade dumbbells with cement instead of sand, the procedure is the same, except for needing a screw as you would only need to insert the pole into the bottle carrying an already mixed cement and wait for it to solidify before repeating same with the other bottle.


    So, what can you use instead of dumbbells at home? The answer is, there is a lot.

    Now you can see that you don’t need to wait till you can get a dumbbell before you start exercising routines to build your body or increase your resistance to maintain optimum health of both your mind and body.

    However, if you feel like buying a dumbbell for convenience of use, check these dumbbells suggestions.

    Sporzon! Colored Neoprene Coated Dumbbell
    Sporzon! Colored Neoprene Coated Dumbbell Set with Stand
    Bowflex SelectTech 552 Version 2
    Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (pair)
    Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells - 50 lb
    Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells 40, 50, 52.5, 60, 105 to 200 lbs with Connector Options
    Weight Range
    3-4-8 lbs
    5 - 52.5 lbs per Dumbbell 2.5 Increments up to 25 lbs
    40, 50, 60, 52.5, 100, 105, 190, 200 lbs
    Weight Stand
    Sporzon! Colored Neoprene Coated Dumbbell
    Sporzon! Colored Neoprene Coated Dumbbell Set with Stand
    Weight Range
    3-4-8 lbs
    Weight Stand
    Bowflex SelectTech 552 Version 2
    Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (pair)
    Weight Range
    5 - 52.5 lbs per Dumbbell 2.5 Increments up to 25 lbs
    Weight Stand
    Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells - 50 lb
    Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells 40, 50, 52.5, 60, 105 to 200 lbs with Connector Options
    Weight Range
    40, 50, 60, 52.5, 100, 105, 190, 200 lbs
    Weight Stand

    Feel free to share this list and guide with your friends and family.

    Last update on 2023-11-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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