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Cheapest home gym ever: A hand towel workout

Stop wasting your time traveling to the gym, or spending money on fancy equipment. Look in that laundry basket and try this sweat session.

Curtsy lunge
Curtsy lungeRead moreCourtesy of Ashley Greenblatt

Would you like to cut the clutter from your fitness routine? A workout shouldn’t take more than 60 minutes. Yet many of us waste substantial time on tasks like trekking to and from the gym, changing into an exercise ensemble, waiting on occupied machines, and futzing around with faulty equipment. If you’re bogged down by a busy schedule, it’s no surprise that exercise is the first thing eliminated from the to-do list.

Stop sacrificing personal time for gym time. By simply switching from a health club setting to the comfort and convenience of your home, you exercise power over how many minutes get dedicated to your physical health. And while it may seem hard to believe, your home already has the aerobic accessories necessary for completing a challenging, calorie crushing, strength and conditioning circuit.

For the month of October, home sweet home will be your new feel-good fitness destination. Last week, you toned up and trimmed down with a handy tennis ball. This week’s wellness guide will focus on getting fit with a versatile, balance boosting, muscle molding hand towel. Here’s what to do:

Core, Cardio + Strength Training

Pumped up planks

● Fold your towel in half and rest it on the floor. Position the body into a plank pose, placing the towel beneath the right hand. The shoulders should be stacked over the wrists, while the spine is straight, and the neck is neutral.

● Without shifting your body, slowly slide the towel several inches in front of the body. You will feel the upper right core muscles working hard to stabilize and balance. Hold for two counts then pull the towel back to the starting stance. Repeat 10 times then switch sides.

Pike it up

● Unfold your towel so it is wide enough to fit both your feet on it. Resume the plank position and place the balls of your feet on top of the towel.

● Using your core strength, pull the hips up toward the ceiling as you slide the towel in toward the hands. Envision an invisible rope wrapped around your hips, lifting them up to the sky. Try to keep the legs straight throughout. The final pose looks like an upside down “V”. Hold for two counts then carefully slide the feet back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Curtsy to the Queen

● Stand tall with feet shoulder width apart. Fold the towel in half and place it under the right foot.

● Glide the right foot back in a diagonal direction. As you do so, lower the body into a lunge. Be sure to keep the front knee behind the toes and all your bodyweight in your front heel. Hold for two counts then push through the left heel as you simultaneously stand and return the right leg back to the starting stance. Repeat 10 times then practice on the opposite leg.

Reverse lunge leg leaner

● Remain in the same upright position, with the towel beneath the right foot. Slowly slide the right foot back as you lower into a lunge. Both knees should form a 90 degree angle. Similar to the curtsy lunge, remember to keep the front knee over the ankle, shoulders over the hips, and gaze forward.

● Push through the left heel to stand, and once erect, drive the right knee up toward the torso. As you do, really squeeze the abs. Lower the foot back down to the towel and continue for 10 counts. Switch sides when complete.

For best results, repeat this entire circuit three times. And on in-between days, practice the tennis ball total body blitz.

Stretch + flow

Located behind the leg is the hamstring muscle. Though you can’t see it well, it’s constantly working hard to allow for everyday movements like walking, running, jumping, and stair climbing. It was also a major muscle used in today’s workout.

In addition to helping you move with ease, a set of loose and limber hamstrings are essential for lower back health. When these muscles are tight from being overworked, they pull on the pelvis. This pressure shifts spinal alignment and negatively impacts the function and ability of other major joints throughout the body. Over time, this can lead to aches, pains, and even injury from postural deviations and muscular imbalances.

One simple exercise to help pamper this posterior muscle is a supine hamstring stretch. If your hamstrings are not flexible enough, swap the hand towel for a bath towel.

● Begin on your back with the legs bent and feet flat on the floor.

● Roll the towel so you can easily wrap it below the bottom of the right foot. Position the foot at the center of the towel, firmly holding each end of it.

● Gently extend the right leg up toward the ceiling. Try to keep the leg straight, foot flat, and lower, keeping your back pressed into the floor. You should feel a deep stretch behind the thigh. Hold for 20-30 seconds then stretch the left leg.