Most of us are familiar with the benefits of a regular strength program and why it's so important to add this type of training to your exercise routine. Yet despite recommendations from fitness trainers and urgings from doctors, many people are resistant to give it a try. For some, it's the idea of fumbling through how to use complicated weight machines at the gym that gives them pause. Others find that the expense of purchasing costly dumbbells for a home workout has been an obstacle. Many people find themselves overwhelmed simply by the idea of understanding what kind of equipment you need to effectively target various muscles.
No matter what your reason may be, the bottom line is that strength training doesn't have to be complicated or scary. In fact, a very simple routine using tools you already have in your home may be just what you need to get started. One of those tools is the towel. Versatile in many ways, a single bath towel can help you challenge muscles in your body from head to toe without ever needing to step foot in a gym. If you're already a regular exerciser, adding strength training to your plan could be the change in routine you've been needing. So head to your bathroom closet, grab a bath or beach towel and let's get started!
For this full-body workout, each exercise should be performed for one to three sets, with eight to 12 repetitions per set. If the exercise alternates sides, be sure to do the full set of reps on each side.
Rear LungeMuscles worked: hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes
Stand tall and place the towel under the right foot. Push the right foot back slightly so that you're on the ball of your foot. As your left knee bends into the lunge position (about 90 degrees), slide the right leg back, keeping the leg straight without locking the knee. As the left knee returns to a straightened position, the right leg slides back in to complete one rep.
Back PullMuscles worked: upper back, shoulders, biceps
Stand tall and grip the ends of the towel at chest level in front of the body. Hands should be shoulder-width apart with elbows bent at 90-degree angles. Raise your arms above your head and pull down, bending your elbows and bringing the towel down behind your upper back. Straighten your arms back above the head to complete one rep. Make sure you don't lean forward or tuck your chin, and keep the back straight throughout the movement.
Hamstring CurlMuscles worked: hamstrings
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place the folded towel under both feet and bring your hips up high into a bridge position. Slide the feet out until the legs are almost straight and knees aren't locked, then slide back in to the starting position to complete one rep. Your hips and glutes should remain lifted through the entire exercise.
Alternating Knee TucksMuscles worked: abs, quadriceps, lower back
Start in a plank position with the towel under both feet. Pull the feet in toward the chest at an angle to the outside of your right elbow. Return to the starting position to complete one rep. Then pull the feet in toward the outside of the left elbow, alternating sides. Maintain good form during the plank with hips in line with the shoulders and the spine in a neutral position.
Chest PressMuscles worked: chest, shoulders, triceps
Stand tall and grip the ends of the towel at chest level in front of the body. Hands should be shoulder-width apart with elbows bent at 90 degrees. Slowly push the towel away from the body with one arm while pulling in with the other arm at the same time. Return to the starting position to complete one rep.
Biceps CurlMuscles worked: biceps
Stand tall and grip the ends of the towel in each hand, looping the towel behind one leg just above the knee. Keep your elbows in close to the body and pull the leg up until the knee is at 90 degrees. This is your starting position. Pull the knee up as close to the body as possible while curling the lower arm. Lower down until the knee is back at 90 degrees again to complete one rep. This is the same motion as a traditional bicep curl, but uses the leg as resistance.
Muscles worked: obliques, lower back, shoulders