The Stock-Pot Workout

Story by Jeffrey Howard

Photos by Jillian Clark

Have you already forgotten your New Year’s resolution or goal? It’s never too late to start! We all have many excuses for why we cannot work out: We can’t find the time, we aren’t a member of a gym or we say it’s too cold outside. Therefore, I designed a total-body workout using an everyday object you already have in your home so you don’t have to leave the comforts of your warm house.

This week I am going to walk you through a workout that requires only a stock pot. I invite you to go to your kitchen and grab the biggest one you have. You may be thinking that I’m crazy, but bear with me. This workout could be the secret recipe to becoming the best version of yourself. I want you to give yourself 20 minutes to try something new that will help you get back on track! Remember, if this is your first workout of the new year or you’re struggling to get to the gym, just 20 minutes with your pot will put you one step closer towards your goal.

How it works: Remember that some of these moves are unilateral, so make sure to do the right side and then the left side. Do one set of 20 reps of each move in order without resting between sets. Do cardio for five minutes, then repeat the entire circuit once or twice.

1. Tap the stock pot

Start tapping the top (flat surface) of the pot with your foot, alternating feet. Then increase the momentum by repeating it as quickly as you feel comfortable. Remember that you’re never putting the weight of your body onto the pot. You’re basically just tapping it with your toe. This is a great alternative to jogging.

2. Kettlebell toss

Standing with your feet hip-width apart, grab the pot by both handles.  Bending your knees into a squat position with the pot in between your legs, lift or swing upwards as you extend your legs. Then bring it towards the floor, resuming a squat position. Imagine you’re sitting back into a chair. This one is great for getting your heart rate up and working your lower body and core.

3. Single new repeater

This exercise is great for core cardio and the lower body, especially your gluteus. Place one foot on the pot, then bend the other knee up in front of you towards the sky. Make sure the knee comes up higher than your hip flexors. Repeat this at the speed you feel comfortable with. If you need a place to put your hands, place them on your hips; this will help you balance. Try to do double the reps for this one.

4. Runners lunge

This one will also work your core and lower body. Placing one foot on the pot, place the other leg behind you so you’re in a lunge stance. Pulse four times, bringing your knee towards the floor. Then bring that leg back, lifting the knee forward so you’re standing on one leg, and repeat. For beginners, try doing this without the pot.

5. Asymmetrical squat

Place one foot on the pot and one on the floor. Your feet should be hip-width apart. Bend your knees so you are in a squat. Hold and pulse, lowering your gluteus to the floor. As soon as you place one foot on to the pot, it becomes more of a core exercise and will make the ab muscles recruit differently.

6. Tricep extension

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Place the pot behind you. Grab both handles letting it rest on your bottom. Without bending your elbows, lift your arms towards the sky as high as you feel comfortable. This is a great exercise for rear deltoids and triceps.

7. Bicep curl

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Grab the pot’s handles. Bending the elbows, lift the pot towards your body. Try doing a set with both hands then try a single bicep curl, holding on to one handle. Do a whole set with one arm then the other arm. Finish up with both of your arms for a super set.

8. Asymmetrical push up

Placing one hand on the pot and the other hand on the floor, bring yourself towards the floor and then push yourself up. With the knees on the floor and one hand elevated, this will recruit the chest in a different range of motion. Only go as low as you feel comfortable. Remember to keep your hands at chest level.

9. Single arm row

Standing in a lunge position, place one hand on your quadriceps to support your lower back. With the other hand, grab the pot by the handle. You will then bring the pot toward the back of the room and lower back to position. Try to keep your elbow close to your body as if it’s gliding by your side.

10. Russian stock pot twist

Place your feet on the floor with your chest elevated. Grab the pot by both handles. Start to twist from left to right with your chest elevated; lift one foot and then the other. Try lifting both feet and twisting left to right. If you have lower back issues, please keep your feet on the floor.

11. Single arm roll up

Start in the supine position with your legs extended. Grab one handle of the pot and reach for the ceiling. The other hand reaches out to the side. Then slowly lift the body upwards, reaching the pot towards the sky. Then slowly lower the body back to the floor. If you have lower back issues, please bend your knees or extend them but spread them wide. For more of a challenge, try to count to eight as you lift upwards and then come back down.

12. Alternating leg stretch

Starting in a supine position, bend your knees. Grab the pot by the handles. Bring one knee towards you and let it touch the pot. Extend the other leg in the opposite direction, alternating left and right. Remember to extend the leg only as high as you feel comfortable. For more of a challenge, lift your head into a C curve while looking directly in front of you. VT

Lose weight? Check. Start exercising? Check.

It can be exhausting when your list of New Year’s Resolutions is as long as your holiday shopping list. In addition to the post-holiday slump, not being able to keep your resolutions by February or March may increase your anxiety.

However, it is important to remember that setting small, attainable goals throughout the year instead of a singular, overwhelming goal on January 1 can help you reach whatever it is you are striving for. By making your resolutions realistic, there is a greater chance that you will keep them throughout the year, incorporating healthy behavior into your everyday life.

Start small

Make resolutions that you think you can keep. If, for example, your aim is to exercise more frequently, schedule three or four days a week at the gym instead of seven. If you would like to eat healthier, try replacing dessert with something else you enjoy, like fruit or yogurt instead of seeing your diet as a form of punishment.

Change one behavior at a time

Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. So, replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.

Talk about it

Share your experiences with family and friends. Consider joining a support group to reach your goals, such as a workout class at your gym. Having someone to share your struggles and successes with makes your journey to a healthier lifestyle that much easier and less intimidating.

Don’t beat yourself up

Perfection is unattainable. Remember that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal and OK. Don’t give up completely because you ate a brownie and broke your diet, or skipped the gym for a week because you were busy. Everyone has ups and downs; resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.

Jeff Howard is a world-renowned fitness presenter who resides in Louisville. He has starred in numerous fitness videos, educated fitness professionals at conventions worldwide for more than a decade, trained countless celebrities as the pioneer instructor at the Golden Door Spa and has appeared on several national TV shows. Along his journey, he has managed award-winning fitness programs from Equinox in Chicago to Virgin Active in South Africa. Jeff is currently the promotional director of fitness for Baptist Health/Milestone Wellness Center.