You don't have to own a lot of expensive gym equipment to get a great workout. Body weight training, also known as calisthenics, uses the weight of your own body for strength training. Coupled with gravity, your body provides the necessary resistance that results in strong, lean muscles and improved muscle mass.

However, you can quickly hit a plateau if your body weight is all you are working with. Before you run off and drop a lot of coin on a heavy, bulky and often times expensive fitness equipment, consider these 5 common household items to ramp up the effectiveness of your workouts.

#1 – Milk jugs, beverage containers

We are referring to the plastic milk jug which has a built-in handle. Water weighs approximately 8.5 pounds per gallon (4 litre jug). Fill 2 gallon sized jugs with water and you can perform bicep curls and other exercises where you would traditionally use a dumbbell. An alternative is a laundry detergent bottle. A 72 ounce container will weigh about 5 pounds with water in it.

#2 – A pair of sturdy chairs

A couple of sturdy chairs is perfect for performing tricep dips. You place one chair on either side of your body, with your palms down on the seats of the chairs. Lower yourself down, pulling your feet off the ground and bending your knees.

There are several other exercises you can perform with chairs. Search on YouTube for helpful videos which provide visual assistance.

Here’s an article with videos showing chair exercises that are good for legs and glutes.

Here’s a video showing seated exercises that are good for anyone:

#3 – Stairs

If you don't feel like spending $1,000 or more on a stair-master, why not use your own stairs? For a person that weighs 150 pounds, 30 minutes of walking up and down a flight of stairs burns 165 to 185 calories. This provides a nice aerobic workout, and can be performed indoors when the weather outside is nasty.

#4 – Your kitchen or bathroom counter

Stand in front of your kitchen or bathroom counter, with your back to it. Reach behind and place your hands palm down on the counter, with your fingers curled over the ledge. Slowly move your body weight from your feet to your hands by bending your knees.

Here’s another great video showing a variety of exercises you can do with your kitchen counter:

Schedule Your