What if we told you all you needed to begin your weightlifting journey was a broomstick and a gallon of milk?


Interested in weight training but not sure where to start? Using bodyweight as resistance in a quick home workout offers all the benefits of using weights, says Dave Smith, a Vancouver-based personal trainer.

“Resistance training is more effective for fat loss and getting lean than cardio exercises,” says Smith. Research also shows shorter workouts can be more effective than long sessions. “You can do a full-body home workout in just 30 minutes.”

“Keep it simple,” says Smith. “Traditional exercises like pushups and lunges are still around because they work.” And with no need for equipment, you won’t need much space.

For beginners, equipment isn’t necessary; bodyweight is sufficient. The only movement that’s difficult to replicate without equipment is the pulling motion common with back workouts. At home, Smith suggests using a towel: hook it around a secure object at waist height or higher, lean back and pull your upper body forward. Visit a fitness instructor to learn proper techniques.

“Exercise variety is important too,” stresses Smith. “If you keep doing the same exercises, you risk muscle imbalances.”

Before exercise do a five-minute aerobic warm-up like walking or stair-stepping. Following your workout, stretch to relax muscles and promote flexibility.

Household items to use for beginner weightlifting

  • A towel or rope for pulling movements
  • Gallon milk jugs as dumbbells (vary the weight by filling it partially or full)
  • Broomstick (inserted through milk jug handles creates a homemade barbel.
  • Staircase for stepping (leg muscles and warm-up)
  • Dumbbells and resistance bands are low-cost options that don’t take up much space at home and make at-home workouts more effective.