Coaching and Nutrition

How to Modify Workouts If You Don't Have the Equipment

By Nike Training

Lacking Workout Equipment? Try These Modifications

You can still get a heart-pumping workout just by using what you have at home.

You've made the time, you've got the workout and you're ready to crush it—but wait, you don't actually have the kettlebell the routine calls for. Or a box. Or actually, any equipment! No problem.

"Every workout can be modified to use the tools you do have".

Nike Training

Every workout can be modified to use the tools you do have. Try the alternatives below to get just as much burn, no matter your set-up. And remember, you can always find killer bodyweight-only workouts in the NTC app; just filter for "no equipment" for tons of options.

  1. Just add water
    If you have household items like a 5-litre bottle of water, milk or laundry detergent, you've got the means for a killer strength workout, says Ryan Flaherty, Nike Senior Director of Performance. "I was training one of my elite athletes who had just moved into his new house, and he hadn't unpacked anything yet", says Flaherty. "I took an empty laundry detergent bottle, filled it with water to use as a dumbbell, and we were able to do a whole workout". This method is also adjustable; fill the jug halfway for a lighter weight, or add more water for a greater strength challenge.
  2. Wield something unwieldy
    Think about it: Strength equipment like kettlebells and sandbags are nothing more than oddly-shaped weights. You can swap in a bag of dog food, mulch or a bag of flour, and the awkward shape will activate your smaller stabilising muscles for similar results to a kettlebell or medicine ball.
  3. Create your own cardio
    You don't need a treadmill or bike to get your heart pounding—using your own body weight can closely mimic the effects of sprinting on a machine. Try subbing in full-body cardio exercises like jumping jacks or mountain climbers, or simply run on the spot—putting in the same effort that you would on a treadmill, pumping your arms and driving your knees up high.
  4. Look for stairs or a bench
    For controlled moves like step-ups, stairs or a bench are a great sub for a box. However, if the workout calls for box jumps, modify the movement to be a bodyweight exercise like squat jumps or broad jumps. (Because the last thing you want to do is misfire while jumping up to a bench or staircase!)

No matter what modification or substitution you're faced with, think of the moment as a challenge to overcome—not an excuse to quit or skip a workout. Armed with this attitude and know-how, you'll always be able to make a workout work, wherever you are.