This Surprisingly Challenging Full-Body, 20-Minute Workout Uses Only a Jug of Water

A jug of water is a great alternative for weights when you're working out at home.
Image Credit: Aja Koska/E+/GettyImages

During pre-coronavirus pandemic days, you can have your pick of dumbbells and kettlebells at the gym. But now that you're doing most of your workouts at home, it's not always easy to get all of the fitness equipment you need.

Fortunately, you can substitute everyday items, like a jug of water, for weights. A gallon of water weighs approximately 8.75 pounds, which is enough to make any basic body-weight exercise more challenging. Double it up, and you've got 17.50 pounds to work your muscles. And if you want to really up the ante, freezing the jugs of water will make the resistance feel even greater.

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This 20-minute, total-body workout works everything from your butt and legs to your arms, shoulders and core. Before you get started, just make sure that the lid is on tight. There's nothing more jarring than unleashing an entire gallon of water on yourself while working out, not to mention it's a total waste of H2O.

If you're just getting started and find that a gallon of water is too heavy, you can start with an empty bottle and increase the weight slowly by filling the bottle up to a resistance you feel comfortable with.

Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we've got something for everyone.

Tip

Make sure you do each repetition slowly and with control. You might want to start with an empty bottle, so you can learn how to correctly perform the exercises before adding resistance with a gallon of water.

Move 1: Swing

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Sets 3
Reps 10
Region Full Body
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and the bottle of water a few inches in front of you between your feet.
  2. Bending your knees, hinge your hips back so your shoulders are above your hips and hips above your knees. Hold the water bottle with both hands and pack your shoulders back and down to engage your lats.
  3. Hike the water bottle between your legs with a flat back, and then use the power in your hips to pull the bottle up to chest height, holding a standing plank at the top.
  4. Then, swing the gallon of water between your legs and bring it slowly back down to the starting position with a flat back.

Move 2: Squat to Overhead Press

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Sets 3
Reps 10
Region Full Body
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes slightly turned outward. Hold the water bottle at each end with both hands at chest height.
  2. Sit your hips back and down into a squat until your thighs are parallel with the floor (or as low as you can comfortably go). Keep your chest upright and back flat, and avoid allowing your knees to go over your toes or cave toward your midline.
  3. Push through your heels to stand as you press the water bottle overhead, finishing with your biceps by your ears and a slight bend in the elbows. Hold for one count before repeating the movement.

Move 3: Chest Press

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Sets 3
Reps 10
Body Part Chest
  1. Lie face-up on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor hip-width apart, toes pointing forward.
  2. Hold the water bottle at both ends in front of your chest with your palms facing each other.
  3. Slowly raise the water bottle above your chest, fully extending your arms with a slight bend in the elbows.
  4. Hold for one count before bringing the water bottle back to the starting position.

Move 4: Sit-Up With Overhead Press

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Sets 3
Reps 12
Body Part Abs
  1. Lie face-up on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor hip-width apart, toes pointing forward.
  2. Hold the water bottle at both ends in front of your chest with your palms facing each other.
  3. Keeping the water bottle close to your chest, slowly raise your upper body off the floor toward your knees.
  4. As you sit upright, press the water bottle overhead, finishing with your biceps by your ears and a slight bend in the elbows.
  5. Hold for one count before lowering the water bottle to your chest as you slowly lie back down to the starting position.

Move 5: Side Lunge

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Sets 3
Reps 10
Body Part Legs
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and hold the water bottle with your forearms, palms facing you.
  2. Keeping your gaze forward and your chest lifted, step your right foot out as far as you can to the right side.
  3. Sit back into your right hip until your thigh is parallel to the floor (or as low as you can comfortably go) and keep your knee aligned with your right foot. Your opposite leg should be straight and your toes facing forward.
  4. Hold for one count, then firmly press your right foot into the floor to return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise on the left leg, alternating legs for each repetition until you have completed your first set.

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