Home Gym Ideas D.I.Y. Kettlebell and Strongman Carry

Update on:

Creating your own gym equipment is a great way not only to save some cash, but be creative with your exercises. Here I have two very simple home gym ideas D.I.Y. to add to your arsenal. The first is a kettlebell, which is a foundational piece of equipment for most home gyms. The second is something awkward and heavy to carry. Not your regular piece of kit but fantastic for total body strength development. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through the build and how to use them. Let’s get to it.

DIY Kettlebells from Upcycled Plastic Containers

A must-have piece of versatile gym equipment. Takes around 2 minutes to make, easy.


  • 20L plastic water containers (or similar)
  • Sand
  • Waterproof marker


  • Scale
  • Cutter


  1. Clean the Containers: Begin with empty 20L plastic water containers. Give them a thorough cleaning to remove any leftover contents or debris. Allow them to dry completely to prevent any internal issues like mold.
  2. Fill with Sand: Measure out 10k (or 22lbs) of sand and proceed to fill each container with sand.
  3. Label Your Kettlebells: Label each container with its corresponding weight. Use a waterproof marker to avoid smudging later on if they get wet.


Purchasing kettlebells can be expensive. You are looking at between $30 to $50 for a standard 20lb weight. Making your own will reduce this cost to the price of a bag of sand for around $3.00 per 20lb.

Exercise Tutorials:

Below are a couple of tutorials for how to use your new D.I.Y. kettlebell. While it might not be as pretty as a regular kettlebell, it works just fine.

Exercise Tutorial: Kettlebell Swing:

Kettlebell exercises can add a dynamic component to your workouts. Here’s how to perform a kettlebell swing safely:

1. Starting Position:

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
  • Place the DIY kettlebell between your feet.

2. The Hinge:

  • Hinge at your hips and bend your knees slightly.
  • Grasp the kettlebell handle with both hands, palms facing you.
  • Keep your back flat and your eyes focused ahead.

3. The Swing:

  • Initiate the swing by driving through your hips to propel the kettlebell upward.
  • Extend your hips and knees fully as the kettlebell rises to chest height.
  • Your arms should be straight as the kettlebell reaches the peak of the swing.

4. The Downswing:

  • Let gravity assist in the downswing.
  • Hinge at the hips again and allow the kettlebell to swing back between your legs.
  • Keep your core engaged and control the descent.

5. Repetition:

  • Immediately drive through your hips again for the next repetition.
  • Continue the swings for the desired number of reps.

6. Completion:

  • To stop, let the kettlebell swing forward but not upward.
  • Decelerate the swing and place the kettlebell down gently between your feet.

Safety Tips:

  • Start with a lighter weight to master the form.
  • Ensure your lifting space is clear to avoid any accidents.

Exercise Tutorial: Farmers Walk:

Great for developing your grip strength and core stability. The farmers walk is another excellent exercise for your new D.I.Y. kettlebells. Here’s how to perform it correctly.

1. Starting Position:

Stand with a kettlebell on each side, aligned with your feet.

2. The Lift:

  • Squat down with a straight back to pick up each kettlebell.
  • Grip the handles firmly and stand up by driving through your heels.

3. The Walk:

  • Keep your back straight and shoulders back.
  • Walk with controlled steps, keeping your core tight.
  • Look forward and maintain an even pace.

4. The Set Down:

  • After reaching your distance, squat down with control and place the kettlebells on the ground.
  • Avoid dropping them to prevent damage to your DIY equipment or floor.

Safety Tips:

  • Do not rush the movement; keep it controlled.
  • Use a weight that is challenging but allows for proper form.

By following these tutorials, you can safely incorporate these kettlebells into your workouts. Proper form and technique are essential to prevent injury and to make the most out of your strength training sessions. Be sure to view our video demonstrations for visual guidance on these exercises.

[Insert Video Demonstration: DIY Kettlebell Tutorial]

Building a Strongman Carry Barrel with a Large Water Container:

Getting ready for WSM (World Strongest Man)? No, well you could start with this piece of kit.


  • 100L plastic water container
  • Sand
  • Waterproof marker


  • Scale
  • Cutter


  • Select and Prep Your Container: A sturdy 100L plastic water container will be large and awkward enough to serve as a Strongman Carry Barrel. After a good cleaning and drying, you’re ready to start the transformation.
  • Filling to Weight: Pour sand into the container until it weighs approximately 50kg (110lbs). This weight can be adjusted to your strength level. For me it’s pretty good for carrying around. For you, it might be as light as a feather.
  • Secure and Label: Fasten the lid securely to prevent any accidents during use. Clearly mark the weight on the container’s exterior to help monitor your progress.


Commercially available strongman training equipment can be quite pricey upwards from $100. Here, you have something that will serve just as well for the price of some sand from around $10-15. No bad.

Exercise Tutorial: Strongman Carry

Lifting a barrel, or any heavy weight in this manner, is about technique just as much as it is about strength. Here’s how to properly execute a barrel carry:

1. Positioning:

  • Stand over the center of the barrel, feet hip-width apart.
  • Squat down with a straight back, bending at the hips and knees.

2. Gripping:

  • Slide your arms around the barrel or if you have handles, grab them.
  • Grip tightly.

3. Lifting:

  • Drive through your heels to stand up, keeping the stone close to your body.
  • Straighten your legs and hips in a smooth, controlled motion.
  • Keep your core tight and back straight as you lift.

4. Carrying:

  • Once lifted, secure the stone by hugging it close to your torso.
  • Take small, quick steps to maintain balance.
  • Keep your movements steady and deliberate to avoid shifting the weight.

5. Setting Down:

  • When you’re ready to set down the stone, do so carefully.
  • Bend at the hips and knees, lowering the weight while keeping your back straight.
  • Gently release your grip and stand up once the stone is on the ground.

Safety Tips:

  • Always warm up before attempting the lift.
  • Use a spotter or practice with lighter weights if you’re new to this lift.


How effective are the Kettlebells compared to the ones you find in the gym?

The DIY kettlebell offers pretty much the same level of functionality as a traditional one. The comparability depends largely on two factors. 1) The type of container you use. Here, you want to make sure you have something with a good-sized handle. Usually, you can get your whole hand around most handles. Bigger is better. 2) What you use to fill it up with. I used a mix of gravel and sand, which worked really well. You can also use water, but the sensation if not as good in my opinion.

Is using these DIY gym tools safe, and what precautions should I take?

Yes, as long as you build them correctly. For the specific builds in this article, you can’t do much wrong. Ensure you secure the lids firmly and take them for a test run.

Can I progress with my workouts using these DIY gym tools, and how do I adjust their difficulty?

To progress workouts with the DIY Kettlebell or Strongman Barrell, you just need to add more stuffing! Simply, unscrew the cap on the piece of equipment you wish to adjust the weight for and add more sand. Be sure to measure what you are adding and update the weight on the label. Not knowing what weight you are lifting can be a little dangerous.

Photo of author
Andy is the founder of Garage Gym Greatness. He’s a NASM certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist and has worked with clients of all ages, from young professionals to those in their twilight years. Reviewing everything home fitness related is a pleasure, never a chore. His favourite cheese if comté.