Workouts are tricky at the moment – particularly if you’re aiming to build strength.
With gyms closed and classes off-limits, many of us are opting for home fitness sessions. And, while flexibility and cardio are simple enough to work on without specialist equipment – strength training is a bit different.
Is it possible to build up strength and muscle mass if you don’t happen to have heavy dumbbells or a weights bar at home?
Superleague netball star Sasha Corbin says it is. She has come up with an ingenious way to work on strength using nothing but a towel – and we can’t wait to give it a try.
Sasha, who’s a ridiculously energetic mid-court player for Saracens Mavericks netball team, is releasing regular videos from her Solo Sessions platform, encouraging people to stay fit and active during lockdown.
But you don’t need to be an elite athlete or a netball player to give this challenging strength workout a try. So, grab your towel and get moving.
Strength workout with a towel
Type of towel: A smaller and thinner towel is preferable. Not too thick or too long, as it’s harder to grip.
Recommend: Wet your hands for a more secure grip if you need to.
Ether: Do each exercise – 6-10 reps and repeat the circuit 2/3 times through
Or: Do it to time – 30 seconds work with 30 secs rest (repeat 2/3 times)
Seated body row
Using the door handle or jam the towel in a closed door.
Sit facing the door, knees bent, back flat and toes pressed up on the door. If using the door handle, your body will need to be on a slight angle so you don’t slip off.
In this position, keep the shape, tightening your core and pull your body weight towards the door then lower. This will be one rep.
Door double arm reaches
Fold the towel so that it lays flat against the door.
Stand about 1 metre away, facing the door, put your arms out in front of you at head-height to start. The towel should be underneath your hands.
Begin to raise both arms above your head and down and press the towel into the door. The towel should slide up and down.
This is targeting your arm, shoulder and core muscles.
Over and under legs dynamic core
Sit down. Hold the towel stretched taut with your hands shoulder-width apart above your head, with your legs out in front to start. Your feet should hover above the ground.
The aim is to crunch, bend your knees and get the towel over and under your feet with each rep.
Key points: Tighten up and engage all muscles, then at a controlled tempo try to really crunch and extend your legs over and under the towel with each rep.
This focuses heavily on the abdominals, this one will really burn.
Assisted towel jumps
Jam the towel in the top of the door.
Holding the towel, bend your knees and jump, using your arms to assist and get greater height.
This will work both your legs and arms.
Key points: Feet shoulder-width apart. Be at least a foot away from the door so you don’t bang your knees.
Land softly by bending your knees and being slightly soft at the ankles.
Great for your arms and core.
Start on your hands in a plank position with the towel under your toes.
Put your weight slightly over your shoulders and slide your feet towards your hands. Then slide back to the start position.
This is good for engaging your full body on a core exercise.
Lateral lunge towel slides
Put your body weight onto one leg with the towel underneath your foot.
Slide that leg out away from the body, pushing into a squat exercise on your balancing leg.
Extend both arms out in front of you.
This is fantastic for strengthening the glutes and you’ll find it can get your abductor muscles too.
Kneeling press-up hand slides
Get into a kneeling press-up position, place a small towel under one of your hands.
With every press, try to slide and extend your arm away from your body laterally.
You can start with a short slide if this is easier.
This is great for targeting your chest and arm muscles while staying tight through your core.
Make sure you repeat on both arms.
Double leg glute bridge slides
Lay on your back, knees bent, feet down on a laid out towel.
The aim is to lift your hips to their highest point with your glutes off the ground.
With your arms laying flat beside you on the floor you will engage your calves, hamstrings, glutes and core to slide your legs away from your body and back without your glutes touching the floor.
This is really tough if you haven’t done this before. So to lighten the load, you can achieve this with one leg sliding out at a time while the other leg stabilises the movement.
For more workouts and home fitness tips, follow Solo Sessions on Instagram.
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