Throw in a Towel Workout: Part 1

You don’t need fancy equipment to get a great workout.  In fact, you can get creative with what you already have at home.  All that is needed for this workout is a hand towel!  In Part one today, *the focus will be total body exercises to lean out the whole body while building strength and increasing metabolism.

Rules with the towel:

  • Pick a hand towel that is long enough for your hands to be at least shoulder width.
  • With all exercises, keep trying to pull the towel apart.  Don’t let your towel slack at all.  This will engage your back, chest, shoulder stabilizers, and arms.
  • Retract and depress your shoulder blades and keep your abdominals contracted in with each exercise.

Warm up with these two exercises:

Towel Exercises

1.  Modified Squats

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width and arms overhead.  Don’t shrug your shoulders!
  • Perform mini squats by only dropping your hips halfway down.
  • Keep weight on your heels.
  • Simultaneously lower arms to your belly button.
  • Stand back up and bring arms back up overhead.
  • Repeat sequence for one minute.
  • Start slow, but you can speed up and increase range of motion as you are successful.

2. Overhead (OH) Leg Kicks

  • Stand in a staggered stance with arms overhead.
  • Kick your back leg forward while reaching your arms towards your foot.
  • Bring that leg back again with arms overhead.
  • Repeat 30-60 seconds on one leg; switch.
  • Again, start slow but build speed and increase your range of motion as successful.

You can also warm up by going for a walk/jog or adding more dynamic movements.

Now you are ready to work!  These following exercises will be slow and controlled.


3.  Squat to Overhead (Shoulder) Extension

  • Perform closed squats (feet closer together) to the center for 10 repetitions (photos A & B above).
  • Keep arms straight through the entire exercise without shrugging your shoulders.
  • Keep weight even on both legs, but twist your torso to the right 45 degrees and perform 5-10 reps of the same Squat to OH Extension (photos C & D).
  • Repeat to the left (photos E & F).

4.  Plié Squat with Rotation

  • Stand with feet wider than shoulder width and grab the towel with your palms facing up.
  • Perform a plié squat while rotating your torso to the right; alternating sides with each plié squat.
  • Your weight stays even on both legs and don’t let your knees cave in.
  • Perform 12-25 reps.
  • Note:  If you aren’t flexible enough to twist, then don’t rotate side to side as you squat.


5.  Side Lunge with Back Row

  • Stand with feet wider than shoulder width.
  • As you go into a side lunge to the right, pull your right arm in (feeling your back engage) as you resist with your left arm.
  • Go back up to center, and let your left arm win (taking arms back to neutral).
  • Repeat 12-25 reps on the right before switching sides.

Towel Exercises 3

6.  Lunge (Crouch) to Hip Extension

  • Start in a tall staggered stance (photo A), lunge down and simultaneously hinge from the hips so it’s more of a crouched position (photo B).  Your chest stays open – don’t round your back!
  • Shift your weight to your front foot and extend your leg back as if you were an ice skater (photo C).
  • Lower your leg back to the crouched position (photo D), then back to your tall staggered stance (photo E).
  • Repeat 12-25 reps before switching legs.

7.  Squat to Overhead (OH) Leg Lift to Knee Pull

  • Start in a squat position (photo A).
  • Perform a diagonal reach to the right and lift your left leg to the side (photo B).  Extend your left leg long and lead with your heel – not your toe.
  • Next, pull your left knee is as much as possible while rotating your torso to the outside of the left leg (photo C).
  • Reach out again at a diagonal while extending the leg (photo D).
  • Take it back to the squat position (photo E).
  • Perform 12-25 slow reps before switching sides.
  • This is tough – especially on your balance!  Keep your abs in tight to help you stabilize.

Bonus Power Move!

Towel Exercises

Tuck Jumps

  • Drive your knees up by pulling your abs in tight!
  • Land as soft as possible to absorb the shock.
  • Repeat 10x.
  • If you don’t want to jump, explode up to your toes instead performing calf raises.

Stay tuned for Throw in a Towel Workout: Part 2 on Thursday for abs and back, and part 3 on Friday for flexibility.

*Consult your physician before starting any new exercise program.


3 thoughts on “Throw in a Towel Workout: Part 1

  1. Pingback: Throw in a Towel Workout: Part 2 | Joy, Fitness, & Style

  2. Pingback: Throw in a Towel Workout: Part 3 | Joy, Fitness, & Style

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