Free weights. You gotta love them, but what if you can't afford them? Dumbbells aren't cheap. They can cost hundreds of dollars, if not more if you lift heavy weights. Of course, you can always go to the gym and pump some iron for a monthly fee, but what if you don't have access to a gym (or hate going to gyms)? Then you gotta have some alternatives to building muscle. I didn't always have access to free weights, but I always found a way to build and maintain my muscles.
Here are 6 alternatives to dumbbells for building muscle on a budget.
Never underestimate the playground. You can really get creative with your workout on a playground. Most playgrounds have bars ideal for pull-ups and balance beams for triceps dips. You can also use steps for lunges. Just watch out for kids (I would advise against going to the playground on the weekend).
These handy bands work great as inexpensive alternatives to dumbbells. You can get higher resistance bands -up to 100 lbs- if you need more resistance. Prices vary depending on the amount of resistance, but most bands are very affordable. Resistance bands are also very versatile. I attach them to poles and use them for bicep curls, triceps extensions, and chest flies.
You don't need any money to perform body weight exercises. The opportunities are endless with body weights. In fact, check out The 30 Best Bodyweight Exercises For Men in this Men's Fitness article. My favorite bodyweight exercises are push-ups in a variety of forms.
If you happen to have access to tires, they can make great alternatives to weights. Some fitness facilities have large tires for fitness purposes, as well. Tire flips are great for building strength and muscle. Check out The Tire Training Guide: 13 Tire-Based Exercises And One Killer Circuit Workout on bodybuilding.com.
Heavy Stones or Bricks
Along the same lines as tires, heavy stones or bricks can also be useful alternatives to dumbbells. Landscaping stones and bricks can be curled or used in a variety of weight-lifting exercises like squats and lunges.
Bags of Rice
Although most people don't think about rice in terms of weightlifting, it can be useful when you're on a budget. Just buy some 5 or 10-pound bags of rice and use them in place of free weights. The possibilities are endless with bags of rice. And you can always eat the rice, making this a fail-proof investment.