How to Exercise With a Chair & a Towel

Towels are good for more than wiping off your sweat.
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Getting a strong resistance workout doesn't have to mean a trip to the gym. If you have a towel and a sturdy chair, you can work major muscle groups throughout your body. This lets you get in a quick workout anytime you need it, making sure your body feels toned and date-ready at a moment's notice. A light bath towel is better than a hand towel; a longer towel, such as one 50 to 60 inches long, lets you really dig into the exercises.

    Step 1

    Warm up with some dynamic stretching. Sit on your sturdy chair and scoot to the edge. Grip each end of the towel so your arms are stretched as far apart as is comfortable. Raise your right arm up and behind you, almost like you're grabbing for a seat belt. Your left hand should be about level with your knees with the towel pulled taut. Now pull up on the left hand to grab the left metaphorical seat belt while swooping down with the right, keeping your back straight and your abs tight. Repeat the swooping motion from side to side for at least 30 seconds.

    Step 2

    Work on your posture while you continue to loosen up your shoulder muscles. Sit up straight with your hands holding the towel shoulder-width apart. Start with the towel out in front of you at chest height and your arms extended. Bring the towel up and behind your head, bending your elbows to a 90-degree angle. Keep the towel pulled taut between your hands. Press your head back into the towel for extra resistance. Widening your hands on the towel can also increase resistance. Do 10 repetitions.

    Step 3

    Bring abs into the workout by using the towel as resistance. Sit on the edge of the seat and wrap the towel around your back at waist height. Hold one end in each hand in front of your body. Contract your abdominals and lean back in the chair until your shoulders barely brush the seat back. Pull forward with your hands at the same time, working your arms while you add resistance to the ab work. Release the tension on the towel and sit up, letting your abs do the work to pull your body forward. Try two sets of 10.

    Step 4

    Tone those hated inner-thigh bulges with isometric contractions. Roll up the towel and put it between your knees while sitting toward the front of the chair. Sit up straight and squeeze your knees together as hard as you can for 30 seconds, then release and rest for 10 seconds. Repeat three to four times or until you feel your inner thighs getting a workout.

    Step 5

    Work your legs and your back with a seated towel row. Roll up the towel and put it under your feet, which should be hip-width apart on the floor. Lean forward, keeping your back and neck straight. Hold one end of the towel in each hand and pull back, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Contract the muscles in your calves and thighs to help hold the towel securely on the floor. Hold the position for 30 seconds, then release. Repeat three or four times. To make it more difficult, put the towel under only one foot at a time.

    Things You'll Need

    • Bath or beach towel

    • Sturdy chair

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