Make Your Own Weights for At-Home Exercise

Easy to make, easy to use, the DIY Milk Jug Weight is a great option for budget exercise equipment.

The biggest hurdle that most of us have when it comes to working out at home is that we don’t have the equipment or space that we think we need. But it doesn’t actually take much space to work out, and with a little creativity, we can make a lot of exercise equipment using things we have just lying around.

One of my favorite pieces of DIY exercise equipment is the milk jug weight. Because they are see-through, the empty jugs are perfect for creating different weights. By adding or removing water as needed, you can adjust the weight to make it heavier or lighter (just don’t forget to mark “fill lines” or you’ll be measuring all the time!). The handles make it easy for these weights to be used in place of dumbbells, and if you wanted to create your own barbell, you can slip a jug onto each end of a broomstick or PVC pipe. Want to make your own? Follow along with the pictures and presto, you’ll have your own weights!

Step 1: Gather your equipment. I grabbed the bathroom scale, my empty milk jug, and a big permanent marker to mark a “fill line” so I know how much water I need for a given weight.

Grab your empty jug, get a scale, and marker to create your fill lines.

Grab your empty jug, get a scale, and marker to create your fill lines.

Step 2: Partially fill your jug and then weigh it. Decide ahead of time how heavy you want your jug to be. I wanted a five pound jug, with the option to fill it all the way for an eight pound weight. This is most time consuming part of the process, since there is a little trial and error here to get the right weight.

Fill your jug with water and then weigh it. It might take a few tries to get the weight that you want.

Fill your jug with water and then weigh it. It might take a few tries to get the weight that you want.

Side Note Here: The most accurate way to weigh anything is to put the scale on a hard surface, like a tile or cement floor (if it is on carpet or anything that the scale will sink into or that will “give” under the weight on the scale, the number of the scale will be inaccurate). Some scales also have a minimum weight requirement. If your scale won’t register the weight of the jug, try stepping on the scale yourself and record your weight (first measurement) . Then step on the scale again holding the jug (second measurement). Subtract the first measurement from the second and you’ll get the weight of the jug.

Once you get the right amount of water in the jug, let it settle, then mark your fill line and label it.

Step 3: Repeat as needed for different weights. I filled the jug to the top, which weighs about eight pounds. I didn’t weigh or label this, but you totally can!

My milk jug weight at five pounds and eight pounds (full).

My milk jug weight at five pounds and eight pounds (full).

Step 4: Enjoy your at-home gym! No point in creating your own exercise equipment if it is just going to sit around.  As I mentioned before, I prefer using these weights primarily in place of dumbbells. They are great for different upper back exercises like a bent-over row, or can be used to add a little extra “uumph” to lower body exercises likes lunges or squats. Get creative with it and you’ll find all sorts of uses. What’s your favorite?

5 thoughts on “Make Your Own Weights for At-Home Exercise

  1. Pingback: Five Ways to get Fit on a Budget | HealthFit Coaching

    • Hi Heri

      I think the maximum weight you could do would be whatever you can set up – in theory, you could use bricks, cinder blocks, buckets of rocks, bags of sand, etc. Obviously some of these things will be easier or harder on the hands, or you would need to figure out a different way to hold the weight. And of course it goes without saying that you should only go what your body can handle 😉 If you’re looking to maximize weight per muscle or muscle group, you could also consider single leg squat or deadlift variations. Hope this helps and thanks for reading!


      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Fitness in the Middle of Nowhere | Nowhere Tribune

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