Pain Free Working

A Dumbbell Workout Alternative: Water Bottle Workout for the Office

Some people have the misconception that one can’t do any strength-training exercises without any equipment such as dumbbells or weights. That’s not entirely true at all. It’s very much possible to do a body workout, strengthen, and tone the muscles with the use of water bottles! Don’t believe us? Read on further to know more water bottle exercises!

Can We Use Water Bottles Instead of Dumbbells?

A dumbbell is a type of free weight equipment that is used in strength-training and muscle-toning. In a workout, a dumbbell can be used individually or in pairs with one in each hand. While dumbbells are the most optimal workout equipment for toning targeted muscles, not everyone has access to one nor has the means to buy one. Fret not though, for you can make use of water bottles! 

They may not be the same as solid cast iron or stainless steel, but you can use any water bottle you have laying at home. They’re versatile and lightweight and work just as well as actual dumbbells.

Workout Using a Water Bottle

We’ve listed down a couple of exercises that utilize a water bottle. Recycled water bottles are the best though, because you can do your workout and save the earth at the same time! Let’s walk through a couple of simple exercises that only require a water bottle to do. Check them out.

Bicep Curls

You can fill a 16-ounce bottle with water as its weight is approximately the same as that of a 1 pound dumbbell. You can use the 16-ounce water bottle for exercises that involve the arms and biceps. Hold a water bottle in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Allow your arms to hang by your side with your palms facing into the side of your body, keeping your elbows close to your sides. Curl each water bottle towards your shoulders. Remember to not swing your hips to get the weight moving.

Continue to raise the water bottles until they are level with your shoulders with your palms facing in and your forearms in a vertical position. Flex your bicep and hold for a count of one. Slowly lower the water bottles to the starting position. If this exercise is light for you, you may repeat the workout for 15 to 30 times.

Skater Hops

Another workout that you can do with the use of 16-ounce bottles are skater hops. You’ll need two water bottles for this exercise. To do this, place the water bottles about 3 feet apart. Jump sideways from one foot to the opposite foot as you use the water bottles as distance targets. 

It’s important that you go slowly, control your landing, and pay attention to your knees in this exercise. You should have a slight bend when landing. Do this for 30 to 60 seconds in reps of 2 to 3 sets.

Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

This exercise is a great way to improve the balance of the body and to strengthen your core. To do this, hold a water bottle in one hand and stand on one leg. While keeping your hips at level, hinge forward from your hips to place the bottle on the ground. Try to keep your standing leg straight. Return to standing and try to maintain your balance on one leg. Repeat the exercise to pick up the bottle. Perform 10 sets on each leg.

Chest Presses

If you want to tone your chest and triceps, you can do chest presses with a pair of water bottles. Begin this exercise by placing the water bottles on the floor and lie on your back between them. Bend your knees and push your feet towards your butt. Next, grab the water bottles and hold them above you as you let your upper arms remain on the floor. 

Start by pushing the bottles over your chest, pause at the top, and squeeze your chest muscles. Bring the bottles down slowly to the starting position and allow your arms to rest for a moment before starting the next rep.


Larger water bottles such as gallon jugs offer greater resistance during strength training exercises. A gallon weighs approximately 8 pounds when filled with water. If you prefer it heavier, you can fill the gallon-sized water bottle with dirt or sand to increase its weight to about 13 pounds. A larger water bottle with a heavier weight is great to use during squats thanks to the added resistance. 

To do this exercise, place your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a water bottle in each hand with your arms down on your sides and your palms facing each other. As you keep your back straight, face forward and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause for a second. Raise yourself back up by pushing from your heels, return to the starting position, and repeat.

These are just some very simple workouts that you can do with a water bottle. Just like using dumbbells, these bottle exercises have numerous variations and will definitely give your body a total workout. Try them out!

Tricia Montano

Tricia founded Pain Free Working in 2019 due to suffering from degenerative disc disease in her L5-S1 from working an office job for the past 18 years. She and her team strive on finding and reviewing the best office equipment to help fellow pain sufferers find relief and to enable people like her to do their jobs comfortably.