Can I Use Water Bottles as Dumbbells?

Bottles of water
Turn your water bottle into a strength-training tool. (Image: Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

If you don't have dumbbells but want to do more than bodyweight exercises such as pushups, situps, and pullups, by all means use a water bottle for a strength-training workout. Recycle your drinking water bottle and turn it into a strength-training tool for your home or outdoor workout. A gallon-sized bottle of water will increase the resistance even more.

Strength Training

Exercise your muscles against a resistance to improve strength and tone. Your muscles will respond to a pushing or pulling form of resistance, whether it is a dumbbell, weight machine or a water bottle filled with water, sand or beans. According to the American Council on Exercise, or ACE, strength training is one of the three essential elements in a workout program. Even if a water bottle is the only piece of equipment you have access to, you can still perform strength exercises.

16-Ounce Water Bottle

A full 16-ounce water bottle weight approximately 1 pound and can be used in place of dumbbells for arm exercises such as arm curls, arm overhead extensions and arm overhead presses. If this is light for you, perform a higher number of repetitions, such as 15 to 30.

Gallon Jug

Lift gallon-sized water bottles for greater resistance during strength-training exercises. A gallon container may weigh approximately 8 pounds when full of water. If you fill the bottle with dirt or sand, you increase the weight to approximately 13 pounds. The weight of a gallon jug is not equally distributed when you use it for exercises such as arm curls, chest presses or back pull-ins. This uneven weight brings the added benefit of strengthening your smaller, stabilizing muscles, which are engaged to maintain control of the bottle.

Exercises

Use your recycled water bottles in many of the same exercises you would use a dumbbell. If you have a pair of water bottles, hold one in each hand as you bend your knees and squat to strengthen your legs. Use a bottle to perform arm curls as you bend your elbows and raise the bottles toward your shoulders to strengthen the front of your upper arm. Lift your bottles overhead to strengthen your shoulders. Just as with dumbbells, your water bottle exercise variations are numerous and will offer you a total body workout.

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