Working out with limited equipment

When I began working out at home I started with very limited equipment

  • An exercise mat
  • A skipping rope
  • 2 x Ikea footstools (to use a box/bench)
  • 1 x 5kg kettlebell

These 4 items got me through twenty four weeks of Kaylas Itsines BBG program and two full rounds of BBG1.0 I hope it shows you have you can improvise with what you have available and it will still produce great results.

Here’s how I modified the exercises in the guide to work with the equipment I had at the time. (if you need ideas on how to modify workouts to stop you from quitting half way through click here)

Walking lunges with weights – usually performed with a pair of dumbbells, instead  I would hold my kettlebell in font of my chest with both hands.

Knee ups  – I used my footstool to step up on to.

Weighted step ups – still using my footstool I again held my kettlebell in front of me with both hands.

Medicine ball squat and press – I substituted the medicine ball for my kettlebell

Tricep dips – I would use a dining room chair or my footstool.

Reverse lunge and knee lift – usually performed using a step. I always performed these on the floor and still found them really challenging.

Dumbbell squat and press – I used my kettlebell in the same way as a medicine ball squat and press.

Medicine ball crab walk – used a kettlebell instead of a medicine ball

Straight leg raises on a bench – even put together my two footstools are not long enough to support the length of my body so even now at week 53 I still perform these on my mat, just on the floor.

Scissors kicks – same as above

Split squats – usually performed on a step.  I always do them on the floor just jumping my feet to either side of my mat.

Bosu burpees – initially I just performed standard burpees but if you have dumbbells you could do weighted burpees instead.

Bench hops  – I used my footstool to hop over, but you could also use the seat of a dining chair.

Maybe you haven’t got a dumbbells or a kettlebell, but have you got a big bottle of water or another household object you could use?

If you don’t have a footstool for step ups what about your stairs, a crate, a low sturdy piece of furniture?

If you are worried that the weights you have available are not heavy enough to be successful, up the number of reps to intensify the challenge, you’ll know its working when you feel the burn.  if you don’t have the space to skip with a rope – air skips or jumping jacks will still get you moving and your heart rate up.  For BBG equipment is definitely not the be all and end all of these workouts.

If however, you fancy buying a couple of pieces of home equipment you don’t have to break the bank to do so.  I got my skipping rope for £1 in Primark and my kettlebell for £5 from Tesco.  Check your local supermarkets nearly all of then carry items like weights and skipping ropes etc usually at great prices and keep your eyes peeled at ALDI stores for some crazy fitness bargains, they can stock the most amazing things like home TRX for £12, proper aerobic steps, and a great selection of weights, kettlebells, medicine balls etc, but you’ll have to find them in the baskets!

So lose your excuses and get creative, it doesn’t have to be perfect or professional  or expensive to get great results from working out at home.



6 thoughts on “Working out with limited equipment

  1. This is such a great piece again Nikki, it’s good and reassuring to hear how you modify. I have to modify and adapt so much and I just think that I’m doing the best that I can and that’s got to have some worth!
    Jan (Haulfryn) X


  2. Thank you for sharing this. It was a lovely read. Very well written. I feel like we are made to feel that we need to spend a lot of money on equipment and that without them we can not achieve great results. I have definitely learnt a few things from your post a) with the minimal equipment we may have we can still achieve great results (by modifying and making use with what we have) and b) we do not need to break the bank when looking for equipment, I will definitely check out my local supermarkets, I did not know that ALDI even do fitness items definitely got to check them out. You learn something new everyday. Worth the read. Best wishes! 🙂


  3. Is there a particular mat you recommend? Or thickness? I’ve been using an old towel but think it’s about time I got a little mat!

    Also (sorry!) is there a reason you did BBG1 twice? I finish BBG1 tomorrow (woo hoo) and not sure whether to do it again perhaps with heavier weights or go on to BBG2? I use the Sweat with Kayla app.


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