soup can exercises

With the holidays coming up and winter right around the corner, exercise could be furthest from your mind. You might be telling yourself, “there isn’t time to exercise,” or “I can’t stay active because I can’t go outside.” Well, did you know that you could stay active all year long by simply walking to your pantry? Yep, those soup cans or other canned goods you have in there make a perfect light weight. After a few reps, you will be looking at those cans in a whole new way.


Soup cans might be too light for some exercisers, but for someone with arthritis or someone who might be recovering from an injury, they can provide enough resistance to increase strength. The weight of soup cans can also be of some benefit to power walkers who want to burn additional calories. Any exercise that you can do with a dumbbell can also be performed with a soup can. For similar gains on both sides of your body, choose soup cans of the same weight, or use one soup can for both sides



To strengthen your shoulders, begin by standing tall and holding a similar soup can in both hands. From this position, lift the soup cans out to the side and keep your arms straight. Your goal is to lift your arms parallel to the floor. Slowly lower your arms and repeat 10 to 12 times.



Your bicep muscle is located on the front of your upper arm. You can strengthen your bicep by holding a soup can in each hand with your palms facing forward and your arms at your sides. Bend your elbows to raise the cans to your shoulders, then lowering the cans back down to the starting position. Your tricep muscle is located on the back of your upper arm. You can strengthen your triceps by holding a soup can in each hand with your arms extended over your head, bending your elbows to lower the cans behind your head, and then raising the cans back to the starting position.



You can strengthen your legs by doing a lunge. Holding a soup can in each hand will provide added resistance to this exercise. Begin by standing tall, then step one foot straight forward, approximately three feet in front of the other. Next bend both knees and vertically lower your body toward the floor, making sure your forward knee doesn’t pass the plane made with your toe. To finish, push off the floor with the front foot and return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg forward.



You will need a larger soup can, such as a family-size can, for this exercise. Your back is a large muscle and will require a heavier resistance than the shoulder or arm exercises. Start off by standing in a staggered foot position with your right foot in front of your left and slightly bend at the waist. Next hold a soup can in your left hand near your right knee. Then raise the soup can straight back to your left hip, followed by lowering it back down to the starting position next to your right knee. Be sure to repeat with the other leg forward and in your left hand.



Soup cans can also be used for a chest fly exercise. Lie on your back and hold a soup can in each hand with your palms facing each other and extend your arms toward the ceiling. Perform the movement by not bending your elbows and lowering your arms out to the sides until the back of your hands touch the floor. At this point, you should look like the letter “T.” Return your arms back to the starting position.


Joy Shreve, Certified COA Fitness Trainer