While traditional fitness equipment like dumbbells and resistance bands seem to get all the credit, there are other clever ways to amp up exercises that you probably haven’t considered. Whether you’re at home or in a hotel room, you’ve almost certainly got an unexpected, creative workout tool nearby: a hand towel.

You read that right. While a hand towel might not sound like it adds much resistance, it takes muscle power to hold it taut above your head in a lunge, or to stay stable while it’s under your feet in a plank. Sure, your own bodyweight is an excellent tool on its own, but a towel can put a challenging twist on classic exercises.

Used correctly, this unassuming accessory can work up a serious burn thanks to the constant tension on the working muscle groups (namely shoulders, lats, and arms). Perform each exercise back to back for 40 seconds each (per side for unilateral exercises). Rest for 60 seconds after completing each exercise then repeat for a total of four rounds.

Glute Bridge Hold with Skull Crusher:


How to:

  • Lay on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Hold the towel with a narrow grip straight above you and lift your hips towards the ceiling in a bridge position (A).
  • Holding the bridge, bend your elbows and lower the towel towards the back of your head (B).
  • Straighten your arms to return to the starting position, and immediately repeat.

Related article: Can You Change The Shape Of Your Bum With Exercise? Here’s 6 Head Turning Glute Exercises!

Squat Hold with Overhead Pass:


How to:

  • Get and hold the towel straight out from the body with hands shoulder width apart (A).
  • Maintaining the squat, raise the towel overhead until your biceps in line with your ears (B).
  • Pause for one second and then lower the towel back down to shoulder height.
  • Repeat for all reps.

Related article: How Long Do I Need To Build Abs? 7 Minutes A Day Should Do The Trick!

V-Sit with Row:


How to:

  • Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor  “V” position-holding the towel straight in front of you (A).
  • Retract your shoulder blades and use the mid back muscles (lats) to pull the towel towards your chest (B).
  • Extend to the starting position, then immediately repeat.

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Bulgarian Split Squat with Biceps Curl:


How to:

  • Stand in front of a bench or chair with your back foot elevated and hold the towel with a wide underhand grip, arms extended downwards (A).
  • Bend your knees and lower your hips while simultaneously curling the towel up towards your shoulders (B).
  • Return to the starting position and repeat.

Related article: 2 Challenging Squat Variations, Change It Up To Really Shape Your Butt

Single-Leg Deadlift with Bent-Over Row:


How to:

  • Hinge forward from the hips and raise one leg behind you.
  • Hold the towel with a wide overhand grip with arms extended towards the ground (A).
  • Keeping your body stationary, retract your shoulders and pull towel to your torso (B).
  • Return to the starting position and repeat.