Routine by Meghan Burrows, Recreation Therapist, BSc. PTS

For whatever reason you can’t get to the gym, there’s no reason to stress. If you have a single tea towel, you can still keep your muscles strong, right at home. Used correctly, this unassuming accessory can work up a serious burn thanks to the constant tension on the working muscle groups (namely shoulders, lats, and arms).

Before you begin, this part is important: To get the most burn for your buck, you must hold the towel shoulder-width apart, with plenty of resistance. Imagine you’re trying to rip it apart. That’s when it becomes a surprisingly effective tool for correctly setting up shoulder posture and increasing range of motion through the upper back. Increasing repetitions and time spent under tension (TUT) is a variation on hypertrophy or strength training you can do absolutely anywhere.

Goal: Using a dish or hand towel in place of weights, get a full-body sweat session in a limited amount of time.

Equipment Needed: A small dish or hand towel and a chair or bench.

How To: Perform each exercise back to back for 40 seconds each (per side for unilateral exercises). Rest for 60 seconds after completing each exercise then repeat for a total of four rounds.


Glute Bridge Hold with Skull Crusher

Lay on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold the towel with a narrow grip straight above you and lift your hips towards the ceiling in a bridge position (A). Holding the bridge, bend your elbows and lower the towel towards the back of your head (B). Straighten your arms to return to the starting position, and immediately repeat.


Squat Hold with Overhead Pass

Get and hold the towel straight out from the body with hands shoulder width apart (A). Maintaining the squat, raise the towel overhead until your biceps in line with your ears (B). Pause for one second and then lower the towel back down to shoulder height. Repeat for all reps.


V-Sit with Row

Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor  “V” position-holding the towel straight in front of you (A). Retract your shoulder blades and use the mid back muscles (lats) to pull the towel towards your chest (B). Extend to the starting position, then immediately repeat.


Bulgarian Split Squat with Biceps Curl

Stand in front of a bench or chair with your back foot elevated and hold the towel with a wide underhand grip, arms extended downwards (A). Bend your knees and lower your hips while simultaneously curling the towel up towards your shoulders (B). Return to the starting position and repeat.


Single-Leg Deadlift with Bent-Over Row

Hinge forward from the hips and raise one leg behind you. Hold the towel with a wide overhand grip with arms extended towards the ground (A). Keeping your body stationary, retract your shoulders and pull towel to your torso (B). Return to the starting position and repeat.


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