PT's love exercises and there is no doubt about that! We love to use equipment in the clinic to help create the perfect exercise with the goal of loading the correct muscle in the appropriate way at the right time to allow for the best chance of recovery.
Ever get home and wonder how you can recreate the same exercise without the same equipment? Here are some ideas of household items that can be used like PT equipment.
Soup Can- This is a light weight that can replicate a 1# weight. If this is hard to grip because it is too big around, try using a plastic water bottle which is a little smaller.
Milk Jug- Need a heavier weight? Try using a milk jug. You can fill it up with water to assure you have the right weight- not too much but not too little.
Belt- In clinic we have straps with a loop that can be useful for stretching or working on range of motion. Try looping a belt to create a small circle that can be placed around your foot/ankle.
Socks- Find a wood or tile surface and socks can help act like sliders that we have in the clinic. You can also use furniture carpet movers!
Towel Roll- Don’t have a foam roller and not ready to invest yet? No problem. Take 2 large towels, fold them in half hamburger style, roll them up, and tape it together. This works great for thoracic exercises.
Tire Tube- If you are looking for stronger resistance for a band exercise, head to a bike store and ask for an old tire tube. They are generally happy to give defective ones away for free. Maybe it wouldn’t hold air for a tire, but it might be perfect for your hip distraction mobilizations!
Stack of Pillows- Need to do an exercise where you sit on an exercise ball but don’t have an exercise ball? Try stacking a couple of pillows on top of one another. While this is not the ideal method and an exercise ball will be more effective, something is better than nothing.
Couch Cushion- These are great alternatives to foam pads. A couch cushion creates the perfect unstable surface for balance practice.
You should never feel like you are unable to perform an exercise that is most appropriate for you simply because you do not have and/or cannot afford exercise equipment. These are just a couple of ideas! Who knows, maybe these ideas will give you other ideas as you look around your house. Think of something cool and unique?
Leave a comment. We would love to hear what household items you use to perform your PT exercises.
Kaitlin Wensinger, PT, DPT