Get Toned in 25 Minutes With Nothing But a Towel

Woman doing a towel workout

Towels are good for so much more than just wiping your brow, they’re also a simple, convenient, and low-cost way to stay in shape—virtually anywhere.

When my clients go on vacation, I have a little towel routine I send with them,” says Lea Rouse a certified fitness trainer for Fitstar Personal Trainer in the Fitbit app. “I know some people pack jump ropes and different things, but you can almost always find a towel, so it’s a great go to.”

Even if you’re not traveling, incorporating a towel into your workout is a great way to up the ante on any of your usual exercises. “Using a towel is a really great way to build stabilizer muscles just like you would with floor slides or TRX,” says Rouse. “These tools are all essentially doing the same thing—taking bodyweight movements to the next level by adding instability.”

Check out the four moves below and then put them all together for a heart-pumping circuit routine that will tone your entire body—especially your core—and clean your floors. Ok, no promises on that last one, but it is a great workout.

Step 1: Master These 4 Towel Exercises

Towel Shake
Targets: cardiovascular system, shoulders, core

Women doing towel workout towel shake

Take a hand towel and grasp the corners of one of the short ends in each hand. Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Keeping your core tight and your belly button squeezed in towards your spine, repeatedly move both of your hands up and down rapidly, as if you’re you’re fanning someone or trying to put a fire out as fast as you can. If you’re doing it correctly, you’ll create a wave in the towel.

“The goal here is to get your heart rate into your Peak zone.” says Rouse, which is 85 to 100 percent of your max heart rate. If you’re having trouble maintaining that intensity, use a larger towel—unless it puts strain on your shoulders. “You need strong shoulders to do this exercise,” says Rouse. “If you have weaker shoulders or a shoulder injury, use a lighter towel. In general a hand towel is a great place to start.”

Lateral Slides
Targets: inner and outer thigh, pelvic floor, glutes

Woman doing towel slides for towel workout

Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart and hands on your hips (or touching a wall or counter for support). Step on a folded hand towel with your right foot. Stabilizing your core and engaging your pelvic-floor muscles (squeeze same muscles you’d use to stop yourself from urinating), slide your right leg out to the side and then back to center. That’s one rep.

“You’ll really have to focus on engaging your pelvic-floor muscles,” says Rouse. “You’ll feel your abductors—your outer thigh—as you push that towel out, but it’s really the friction of dragging the towel back in where you’ll feel the pelvic-floor work happen.”

Hip Bridges
Targets: hamstrings, glutes, transverse core

Woman doing hip bridges during towel workout

Get into a crunch position with a hand towel under your feet and both palms flat against the floor. Squeezing your core, lift your hips—but not your shoulders—off the ground so you’re in a bridge position. Pressing into your heels, slide your feet away from your body and then drag them back in. That’s one rep.

“With this move, you’re building mobility into your hamstrings, which is an added bonus,” says Rouse. “Use two towels—one under each foot—to make it more challenging.”  

Pike Press
Targets: core, shoulders

Woman doing pike presses during towel workout

Get on your hands and knees, placing your hands directly beneath your shoulders. With a hand towel under your toes, slide your feet back until you’re in a high plank with your legs straight behind you. Shifting your weight into your hands and engaging your abs, push your hips toward the ceiling as high as you can while simultaneously dragging your feet forward. Your head should be facing the floor, almost like you’re going into a handstand. Trying to keep as much control as possible, push your feet back, returning to a straight, steady plank. Make sure you don’t arch your lower back or let your hips sag. That’s one rep.

These are really tough, but great for your lower abdominals, which can be a difficult area to work,” says Rouse. “Even if you can’t get your hips all the way up, even just little slides forward and back would be a good way to progress to the full move.”

Step 2: Do This Towel Workout

Do these four moves as a  circuit one time. “At the end, if you’re feeling great, do it two to three more times,” says Rouse. “To make it more difficult, add a round of towel shakes between every set of bodyweight exercises. The more towel flaps you add, the more cardio you get, which makes it more challenging.”

20 second towel shake
10 second recovery between sets

15 lateral slides on each leg

20 second towel shake
10 second recovery between sets

15 Hip bridges

20 second towel shake
10 second recovery between sets

5-15 pike press

2 Comments   Join the Conversation

2 CommentsLeave a comment

If you have questions about a Fitbit tracker, product availability, or the status of your order, contact our Support Team or search the Fitbit Community for answers.

Please note: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately after submission.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.