Get in Your Workout With Laundry Soap

ASWEATLIFE_Household-Item-to-Work-Out-with--Laundry-Soap_1(All photos in this post are by Steven Liffmann)

Luckily for me, my job is flexible enough to let me work from home at my parents’ house in southern New Hampshire for a week in the summertime. While I love to get my exercise in by waterskiing and swimming in the lake, or even heading up to the White Mountains to hike on the weekends, I know that if I skip my regular HIIT workouts for a whole week I’ll be in a world of pain when I get back to Chicago. However, my folks aren’t big fitness buffs, so they don’t have any dumbbells or other toys to use for working out. Instead, I use household items to work out with and I bring a resistance band.

My latest favorite has been one-gallon jugs of laundry detergent. I either use a full jug, or refill an empty jug with water. A gallon of water weighs eight pounds, making these the perfect dumbbell-substitutes for many different exercises. If eight pounds isn’t enough, you could always fill them with sand or something a bit heavier!


Man Makers

One of my favorite moves with laundry jugs is a man-maker. Start in a plank position, and drop into a pushup. Return to the top of your pushup, and row each side in a renegade row. Jump your feet to your hands and pop up into a squat. Curl your hands to your shoulders, making sure to hold the laundry jugs upright (great for grip strength!)


Stand and press the jugs above your head, then return them to your shoulders. Drop back into the squat, curl the jugs to the ground, and return to a plank. Then repeat for a 45-second set. If the man-maker is too much, you could also break this into separate moves (just squat and press, just bicep curls, just renegade rows, etc).

Side Bend with Row

Before visiting my parents this go-around, I visited friends in San Diego who took me to one of the most unique classes I’ve ever taken – a yoga sculpt class with a well-known San Diego trainer, Tabu, who is known for inventing totally new ways of moving. I loved one of his moves, and realized it was possible to replicate it with laundry soap as well!

Start in a lunge, with both laundry soap jugs on the inside of your front foot. Row the outside jug to your shoulder, using grip strength to keep it from flopping over.


In one movement, use your core strength to draw the inside hand to your shoulder, and stand straight up. You’ll finish with straight legs and laundry jugs held outwards at your shoulders. Return the jugs to the inside of your foot in the same order as how you came up. Repeat as quickly as possible for a 45-second set. On the next round, switch sides.


Wood Choppers

Wood choppers are a great move with either one or two jugs of laundry. Start with your feet turned to one side in a squat position (similar to the start of the last move) and hold the jugs by your foot. With a burst, draw the jugs across your body to above your shoulders on the opposite side and turn your feet along with it. You should use the momentum from your hips to help you move the jugs. Return to the start and repeat for a 45-second set. Switch sides for the next set.


Put It Together

I like to combine my laundry-jug moves with body weight and cardio exercises for a complete workout. Try the following 40-minute workout (adding stretching before and after). Repeat for a total of 6 rounds.

  • :45 Laundry Jug Man Makers
  • :15 Rest
  • :45 Laundry Jug Side Bend with Row
  • :15 Rest
  • :45 Shuttle Runs (I like to run back and forth in the driveway)
  • :15 Rest
  • :45 Star Situps/Jacknives
  • :15 Rest
  • :45 Laundry Jug Wood-Choppers
  • :15 Rest
  • :45 Burpees
  • 1:00 Rest


(Disclaimer: This workout is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor is it a replacement for seeking medical treatment or professional nutrition advice. Do not start any nutrition or physical activity program without first consulting your physician.)

What household items do you like to work out with?

Move Workouts

About Dani Kruger

As a proud New Englander at heart, Dani loves the outdoors and anything maple-flavored. After a decade in the Midwest, she moved to Seattle where she loves the mild temperatures and mountain views. Dani's competitive nature is no secret, whether she's trying to do yoga at all of the state capitol buildings (23 so far!) or seeing how much vertical she can run each month in the mountains of the PNW. By day, she nerds out behind the computer as a data analyst for a health care consulting firm, where she works to ensure all individuals have timely access to high quality health care services.

3 thoughts on “Get in Your Workout With Laundry Soap

  1. This makes me the happiest. You look like you are having a BLAST hahah! LOVE IT.

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