Soup cans might be too light for some exercisers, but for someone with arthritis or someone who might be recovering from an injury, they can provide enough resistance to increase strength. The weight of soup cans can also be of some benefit to power walkers who want to burn additional calories. Any exercise that you can do with a dumbbell can also be performed with a soup can. For similar gains on both sides of your body, choose soup cans of the same weight, or use one soup can for both sides
To strengthen your shoulders, begin by standing tall and holding a similar soup can in both hands. From this position, lift the soup cans to the side and keep your arms straight. Your goal is to lift your arms parallel to the floor. Slowly lower your arms and repeat 10 to 12 times.
Your bicep muscle is located on the front of your upper arm. You can strengthen your bicep by holding a soup can in each hand with your arms at your sides, bending your elbows to raise the cans to your shoulders, then lowering the cans back to the starting position. Your tricep muscle is located on the back of your upper arm. You can strengthen your tricep by holding a soup can in each hand with your arms extended over your head, bending your elbows to lower the cans behind your head, then raising the cans back to the starting position.
You can strengthen your legs by doing a lunge. Holding a soup can in each hand will provide added resistance to this exercise. Begin by standing tall, then step one foot approximately three feet in front of the other, bending both knees and lowering your body toward the floor. To finish, push off the floor with the front foot and return to the starting position.
You will need a larger soup can, such as a family-size can, for this exercise. Your back is a large muscle and will require a heavier resistance than the shoulder or arm exercises. Perform a back pull-in by standing in a staggered foot position with your right foot in front of your left, holding a soup can in your left hand, then raising the soup can to your left hip, followed by lowering the soup can next to your right knee.
Soup cans can also be used for a chest flye exercise. Lie on your back and hold a soup can in each hand with your arms extended toward the ceiling. Perform the movement by lowering your straight arms to the sides until you touch the floor in a straight line from your shoulders.