Pop quiz, hotshot: what’s the best bit of training kit that everyone has in their house? No: it’s not cans of soup, which only work for curls if you’ve got the arm strength of an inactive toddler. It’s not even bottles of water, though they’re a better bet, or crates of booze – they’re handy for squatting, but at some point you’ll end up drinking them. Nope: to add variety (and function) to your home workout, your best bet’s a towel.
If you’ve wandered into a high-end gym, you’ve probably seen bits of kit like the ab wheel, Valslide or Torq-King on display, offering the chance to hit your arms, abs and (occasionally) glutes from different angles by sliding or rolling along the floor. With a smallish towel (or teatowel), though, you don’t really need them: it’s possible to get very similar effects without any of the financial outlay. Start with the ‘bodysaw’ – get into a plank position with your feet on the towel, then push and pull with your forearms to shift your body backwards and forwards.
Improve your technique by using a towel to slide along the gym floor
For a more pec-heavy workout, do a pressup with one (or both) hands on a small towel (or two): at the bottom of the rep, slide your arm out until it’s perpendicular to your body, then pull it back in. To spice things up, alternate reaching out to the side with reaching overhead – you’ll bring your lats into the equation, as well as hitting your pecs from a different angle.
Finally, if you’ve already mastered the Cossack squat, try doing the move by putting one heel on the towel and sliding it out along the floor – it takes more control, and it’ll build up your quads. Experiment to see what else works – and remember you’ll need a different towel for the shower.
Before you continue, please remember that you need to warm up.
If are are unsure about some of the terms used in this article, it’s worth having a quick read through our Glossary of Terms before you get started with your workout.