The $1 Item That Made Actually Doing My at-Home Workout That Much Easier

published Mar 19, 2021
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Dumbbells on a yoga mat in the living room with sneakers and water bottle nearby

Mustering up the motivation for an at-home workout should be easy, right? You don’t have to scramble to book a class or shell out tons of money for a spot, and you certainly don’t have to commute to the gym or studio to get your workout in. Simply head to whichever corner of your living room, bedroom, or other dedicated space, pull out your equipment, and get to sweating. But if you’re anything like me, it’s been more and more difficult lately to mentally prepare for that at-home workout, and any excuse seems like a good excuse.

Too tired from a long day of Zoom calls? Same. Bored from your same-old routine? Relatable (though there are plenty of free apps to help you shake things up). It can get to the point where rearranging your furniture to make space for your workout can be enough of a deterrent on its own, and I kept finding myself putting off strength training because simply lugging my dumbbells out of storage seemed like a workout all its own.

That is, until I stumbled across an easy fix that was meant to solve a different problem entirely: I began to store my rubber-ended dumbbells on top of an old towel, to keep them from scuffing the hardwood floor of my rental apartment.

And the next time I went to retrieve them for a workout, I realized I could simply slide them out from their storage space and into position.

The idea is far from new, but it was inspired partly by an exercise in a recent core-focused class I took on the Peloton app. By putting a dumbbell on top of a towel, you make it easier to push across the floor, and combining that with a plank and pushing and pulling the dumbbell away from and toward your body makes the move more dynamic. If you place your dumbbells on the towel when you store them under a piece of furniture or somewhere else out of sight, you can simply slide them into position when you start your next strength session.

The towel doesn’t need to be fancy — rags work well in this case — but it should be tightly-woven enough to withstand friction from the weight. The heavier the weight is, the sturdier you’ll want the fabric to be. I currently store my 20- and 25-pound dumbbells on towels under my living room bookcase, because I transform that corner of my space into my weight studio several times a week.

Just be sure to use a separate towel to mop up your sweat, as the storage towel will get understandably grimy with all that time spent on the floor.

While the hack doesn’t complete the workout for you, it certainly lessens the headache of prep time incrementally. As for making the workout itself less of a pain point, you can always take tips from trainers and other fitness professionals on mixing things up. They get bored too, so you’re certainly not alone.