Wednesday, 24 July 2024


7 Kitchen Workout Exercises You Can Do While Cooking

Last published on

This site may contain links to affiliate websites, and we receive an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you on the affiliate website using such links. Read Our Disclosures

If you’re struggling to find the time to exercise on a regular basis, or are looking for some simple ways to increase your fitness from home, it’s certainly worth thinking about how much time you spend on food preparation.

A recent study carried out by researchers at The Ohio State University’s College of Public Health, looked at data supplied by over 112,000 adults, each of whom had taken part in an American Time Use Survey over a 7 year period.

One of the findings to come out of this study was that food preparation time was often substituted for exercise time. Likewise, if you spent more time preparing food during a day, the participants in the study tended to spend much less time exercising, or even cancel their workout altogether.

In fact, the likelihood that men skipped their daily workout increased by 3 percent if their food preparation time took just 10 minutes longer than planned.

So what can you do to find a balance?

With the American Heart Association recommending 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, and the results of the American Time Use survey revealing women spend an average of 44 minutes each day preparing food (17 minutes for men), the kitchen can be a great place to combine the two.

Just because you need to spend slightly longer preparing food, shouldn’t mean you lose out on precious workout time. With just a few common household objects – most of which are probably already in your kitchen – you can create a variety of effective full body exercise routines.

You’ll find one of the most effective kitchen workout routines in our infographic below, where every major upper and lower body muscle group is trained through a combination of kitchen items and your own bodyweight.

15 Minute Kitchen Workout Routine

Kitchen Workout Routine

Exercise 1: Bicep Curls supersetted with Lateral Raises

Feel free to substitute hammer curls (neutral grip with thumbs facing upwards) for traditional bicep curls (pronated grip with the palm facing up) if you aren’t entirely comfortable with this exercise or experience any discomfort in the wrist.

Although we’ve listed a set tempo at the start of our infographic, this is really only a rough guide as to how quickly each curl should be performed.

If you find that the exercise isn’t challenging enough, slow down the negative phase of the exercise so that you’re maintaining tension on the muscle for a longer period of time.

Bicep Curls

Side lateral raises can also be switched with many other shoulder exercises, including overhead presses and front delt raises, depending on your personal preference.

Exercise 2: Plank

As well as being a great way to build up strength for the pushup, the plank is also one of the most popular exercises for developing overall core strength, thereby improving stability in everyday activities.

But once you’ve built up enough strength to perform a few sets of 30 second static holds in this exercise, it’s probably time to move onto more challenging variations.

The Plank is a great exercise for developing complete core strength

Fortunately, a recent study by the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy found that has found that side plank abduction with dominant leg on the bottom is one of the best exercises for toning your glutes and obliques.

Exercise 3: Lunges

A great exercise for developing the entire lower body, but especially the glutes and quads.

If you find that your bodyweight isn’t enough resistance, you can always hold onto the same gallon milk cartons you used for the bicep curls for some added resistance.

This is probably the exercise in our selection that requires the most movement, so if you have quite smooth floors, it might be worth slipping into a pair of loose fitting shoes – anything that can provide you with a bit more grip.

Despite the large range of motion, you don't need much space to perform lunges in the kitchen

Exercise 4: Chair Pushups

So far we’ve included exercises for your biceps, shoulders, glutes, quads, abs, and hamstrings. But in order to develop a well balanced physique, even from your kitchen, it’s important to include at least one effective chest exercise.

Chair Pushups not only target your pectoral muscles, but also your shoulders and triceps to varying degrees, based on your hand position. There’s also less stress applied to the wrists than conventional pushups from the floor.

Chair Pushups can be tailored to focus on your triceps, chest, and shoulders with varying levels of intensity, to suit varying personal strength levels

Exercise 5: Dishwasher Squats

Whether you workout to increase your overall fitness, to compete in competitions, build muscle, or even for sheer strength, there’s no doubting the effectiveness of squats.

While we don’t have access to a barbell and collection of weight plates, by keeping the reps high and range of motion slow and controlled, it’s still possible to perform the exercise effectively.

If you do want to increase the intensity, you can always find something of weight to hold across your chest, such as a sack of potatoes, or even the gallon milk cartons we mentioned earlier.

Squats can be performed holding onto a counter if necessary to offer additional balance support

This turns the exercise into more of a kettlebell front squat. Just remember to keep your head facing forward, back straight, chest high, and drive through the heels. Knees should also be pointing in the same direction as your feet throughout the movement.

Additional exercise options

Exercise 6: Stiff-Legged Deadlifts

We didn’t include this in our workout above purely because it works quite similar muscle groups to the lunges. Also, it may be more difficult to find something heavy enough to create enough resistance to make the exercise challenging if you don’t have a sack of potatoes.

However, if this is the case, and at the danger of turning this into a ‘milk carton workout’, you can again hold onto the gallon containers used in the curls to provide a similar role to dumbbells. In fact, stiff-legged deadlifts with dumbbells is actually one of the best ways to strengthen and tone your hamstrings and glutes.

While the lunges will target the quads and glutes, stiff-legged deadlifts will focus more on strengthening and toning your hamstrings

This is also a great way to increase lower back strength, with the pair of free moving gallon containers allowing a more natural range of motion for your wrists than a straight bar in the gym.

Exercise 7: Standing calf raises

A simple exercise that can be performed with varying levels of difficulty.

If you happen to have a moveable step in your kitchen or short platform that you can safely step onto, then this will allow a greater range of motion at the bottom of the movement.

Many people actually find that calf muscles respond better to high rep sets, which is why we’ve added this in as an option that can be performed at the end of a workout, or while you’re washing up after dinner.

Standing calf raises are best performed in sets of higher repetitions

The exercise itself is incredibly safe and very low impact on the joints, and if you do choose to stand on the edge of a step while performing your reps, you always have the kitchen counter to rest your hands on if needed to support yourself.


If you’re short on time and can’t sacrifice meal preparation for going to the gym, hopefully the 7 exercises and workout plan shown above can help you to combine the two most effectively.

Each exercise has been carefully selected due to the fact that they can be performed with no additional fitness equipment, but are still effective enough to tone your muscles and burn calories.

Have you discovered any kitchen exercises of your own that didn’t make it onto our list? We’d love to hear about them! Simply drop a comment in the box below.

Get Awesome Reviews

We Will Only Send You Awesome Stuff!