Tabata Towel Workout

Tabata Towel WorkoutRemember the Towel Workout I posted last year? Despite the tragic photography lighting, it was a huge hit around the interwebs, and I think it’s high time to whip out the old dishrag again. And lucky you, this one is (in my opinion) even harder than the first. I was really feeling the burn.

I pretty much just invented these moves on the fly, but if you’ve seen them before just humor me and pretend I’m the mad scientist of ghetto-rigging household items into workout equipment.

Tabata Towel Workout

Equipment I Used:

Set an interval timer for 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. You’ll do the same exercise all 8 rounds (4 minutes total) before moving onto the next exercise. The whole workout takes 20 minutes.

Tabata Towel Workout

  • Dancing One-Leg Squat (right): Squat down, all the weight on your right leg, towel under your left toes (keep left heel lifted throughout this exercise). Slide your left leg out to the side, keeping weight on the right. Slide it back in to the starting position, then slide it out in back of you as far as you can, and again back to starting position. Essentially, you’re holding a one-leg squat on the right, weight never shifting more than lightly to your left leg.
  • Dancing One-Leg Squat (left)
  • Side-to-Side Sliding Planks: Start in a plank with the towel under both feet. Slide both feet up to the right side, back to starting plank position, and then up to the left side. Think about tracing a V shape with your feet.
  • Triceps Scissor Push Ups (alternate arms each round): I did these from my knees but if you’re a total animal try them from your feet. Start in pushup position with towel under one hand. Slide the towel hand out, keeping arm straight. As you do, lower into a triceps pushup on the other hand (sending the elbow back and close to your body, not out. Push up, sliding other hand back in under your shoulders. Repeat. You’ll switch arms during the next interval (so it comes out to 4 rounds on the right, 4 rounds on the left).
  • Boat Pose Heel Sliders: Sit on your tailbone, leaning torso back at an angle engaging your abs. Hold arms straight out in front of you. With heels lightly on the towel, slide your legs out straight and then bend knees in towards chest, sliding heels in towards butt. The challenge is to not lift your heels off the ground or rock your torso (you’ll want to lean back and sit forward to counter the motion of your legs—resist it!).

Tabata Towel Workout

WEARING | shoes: Nike Free +3 // capris: c/o Puma // tank: Juicy Couture

Granted, my upper body strength leaves a lot to be desired, but the triceps scissor pushups were BRUTAL. In a good way.

What’s the weirdest item you’ve used as workout “equipment”?


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  1. I won’t lie — I’m tempted to do this on my patio with a wet cloth so I get in my workout AND clean that damn floor all in one.

  2. Yay! Another dish towel workout! I do the other one all the time!

  3. your tank is awesome!

  4. Wow this look disastrous (in a good way) I cant wait to try it out!

  5. I love the idea behind this workout! I can not wait to try it! Thanks!

  6. Can’t wait to try this one!

  7. Awesome workout! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  8. Sounds like a great workout. The push-ups are going to kill me, I already know!

    Dumb question but… Would love a tutorial on using the gym boss timer. I’m embarrassed to say I own one and have yet to use it in the year I’ve had it ’cause I don’t know how!! Would you consider doing a step by step on how to get started with this? I’m sure I can’t be the only one who would benefit!

  9. Best workout! Thank you so much!

  10. Thanks for the tip on using DVD cases on carpet – I would have never thought of that!!!

  11. oooo….so many people are going to have clean floors! I have sprained my ankle and so can’t put any excessive weight (half my body for example) on it but I will defo steal the Tricep scissor push ups and boat pose heel sliders! and hey, if you fancy creating a good ab workout that doesn’t involve the right ankle that would be wicked!

    • Get well soon!! Windshield wipers would be a perfect ab exercise to add to your routine–no weight on the feet and they’re killer!

  12. I usually use pieces of old towels. Your so sophisticated with your dish towels! My weirdest workout tool is my “cottage weights”: unsplit wood. When they have a piece of branch left it’s the perfect “handle”. Various log sizes are the weight variations.

  13. Don’t laugh! At first I was like this isn’t going to be so bad….then I reread the part about doing each exercise for 8 rounds…and then I did it. First of all Nicole, my hardwood floors thank you…my abs and arms however would like to talk to you at a later date lol. Thanks so much for a great workout.

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