The 10 Minute Towel Isometric Routine To Help You Build More Strength

After launching Isometrics Strength I received a lot of great feedback. One customer named Lee came to me and asked me if I had heard about Towel Isometrics.

I told him I hadn’t but was interested in learning more.

He sent me this routine and I was super impressed.

In the history of SOA, I have never released a guest post that was written by a follower.  Yet the information is so good that I had to share it with you.

Take it away Lee Lybarger… (I tweaked a few things and inserted the photos… fyi.)

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This is my adaptation of a routine developed by Matt Furey.  He concentrated on isolated upper body strength moves but this adaptation is a full body isometric workout.

The program uses, on each exercise, 2 of the 3 types of isometric holds as defined by Todd Kuslikis in his excellent, recently published e-book:: “Isometric Strength”  Those types are:

  1. Static – where muscles are tensed. For these exercises, it is whole body.
  2. Yielding – where you contract against a movable object  — in this case a towel.

As opposed to traditional wisdom that has been around for decades, holding your breath while doing a contraction for 6 secs or more is not a great idea — particularly if you have a tendency for having high blood pressure, as I do.   You are served very well by using one or a combination of the breathing techniques exposed by Todd Kuslikis:

  1. Sipping Breath
  2. Long Breath — slowly breath in filling your diaphragm
  3. Long Sipping Breath

For the purpose of the following exercises, I use a Sipping Breath for both the towel and full body static hold — holding the contraction from 10 to 15 sec.  Besides developing your body strength, it also enhances your aerobic capacity.  Also, by using a Sipping Breath, you should use Visualization to enhance the contraction on the targeted muscles (arms, chest, shoulders, legs, etc).

Each of the following exercises have 3 different angles of contractions, in different positions, to complete one repetition.  You are, through isometrics, duplicating a full range of movement in a specific exercise. After each contraction, breathe out, and then start the next one. Your body will quickly get into sync after 2 or 3 workouts to make the transition seamless.  Aerobics and muscle control is taking effect.

The Exercises are:

  1. 1. Lateral Raise Left (Tighten entire body but focus mostly on left shoulder.)

    Hold 10-15 seconds

  2. 2. Lateral Raise Right (Tighten entire body but focus mostly on right shoulder.)

    Hold 10-15 seconds

  3. 3. Bow and Arrow Left (Tighten entire body but focus mostly on left tricep, right bicep and back muscles.)

    Hold 10-15 seconds

  4. 4. Bow and Arrow Right (Tighten entire body but focus mostly on right tricep, left bicep and back muscles.)

    Hold 10-15 seconds

  5. 5. Rope Pulling with Left lunge (Tighten entire body but focus mostly on back and shoulder muscles.)

    Hold 10-15 seconds

  6. 6. Rope Pulling with Right Lunge (Tighten entire body but focus mostly on back and shoulder muscles.)

    Hold 10-15 seconds

  7. 7. Behind Neck Shoulder Pull (Tighten entire body but focus mostly on back and tricep muscles.)

    Hold 10-15 seconds

  8. 8. Behind Neck Shoulder Pull Down Left (Tighten entire body but focus mostly on back and shoulder muscles.)

    Hold 10-15 seconds

  9. 9. Behind Neck Shoulder Pull Down Right (Tighten entire body but focus mostly on back and shoulder muscles.)

    Hold 10-15 seconds

  10. 10. Behind Back Arm Lift with Squat (Tighten entire body but focus mostly on tricep and shoulder muscles.)

    Hold 10-15 seconds

Doing the above routine for 30 contractions (3 positions for each of the 10 exercises – 1 set each) will provide a daily workout, in about 10 minutes or less, dependent on contraction time. Even this will provide muscle growth and enhance your current fitness level.  To do real muscle and aerobic enhancement, do 3-4 sets of each of the above exercises.  This will increase your workout time to 30-40 minutes and will greatly accelerate your body and aerobic development.

Equipment needed — your body; hand towel; motivation.

The 10 Minute Towel Isometrics Routine:

1. Lateral Raise Left

  1. Hold towel with both hands, 12-18 inches apart in front of your “belly button”and legs shoulder width apart. Tighten the entire body (do this for all 3 positions), then raise left arm 15 degrees with right arm at 45 degree angle. Perform a yielding contraction.  Release.

  2. Raise arm 30 degrees and do static/yielding contraction. Release.

  3. Raise arm to shoulder height and do static/yielding contraction. Release.

2. Lateral Raise Right

  1. Duplicate on right side

3. Bow-and-Arrow Left

  1. Hold Towel at Shoulder level in front of chest.  Tighten the entire body and pull against towel. Release.

  2. Move left arm to 45 degree position and tighten the entire body and pull against towel.  Release.

  3. Extend left arm to full extension and tighten the entire body and pull against towel.  Release.

4. Bow-and-Arrow Right

  1. Duplicate on right side.

5. Rope Pulling with Lunge Left

  1. Stand with feet about 12 inches apart.  Grip towel vertically in front of body with one hand in front of naval and the other in front of chest.  Using left leg, step into forward lunge but only move 15 degree into it.  Tighten the entire body and tighten using a yielding isometric with the towel for 10-15 secs. Release.

  2. Deepen lunge to 30 degree and tighten the entire body and pull against towel. Release.

  3. Move into full forward lunge and tighten the entire body and pull against towel. Release

6. Rope Pulling with Lunge Right

  1. Duplicate on right.  Only difference, change hand position on towel.

7. Behind Neck Shoulder Pull

  1. Stand with feet 12 inches apart.  Hold towel with hands 12-18 inches apart.  Position towel high on your neck.  From this position tighten the entire body and pull against towel. Hold 10-12 sec and release.

  2. Keeping towel in back of neck, raise to a couple inches above head and tighten the entire body and pull against towel. Release.

  3. Raise towel to full arm extension while still keeping towel as far back as possible.  Tighten the entire body and pull against towel. Release.

8. Behind Neck Shoulder Pull Down Left

  1. Stand with feet 12 inches apart. Hold one end of towel in right hand high on neck and drop end down back.  Bend your left arm behind your back and grab end of towel.  Do static contraction on whole body and tighten the entire body and pull against towel.  Hold 10-12 secs and release.

  2. Keeping arms in same position, move right hand  about halfway up head and tighten the entire body and pull against towel. Release

  3. Move right hand to top of head and tighten the entire body and pull against towel. Release.

9. Behind Neck Shoulder Pull Down Right

  1. Do the same thing on the other side.

10. Behind back Arm Lift and Leg Squat

  1. Stand with legs shoulder width apart and towel at hip level behind your back.  Perform leg squat but only about 15 degrees. Do full body static and towel overload contraction for 12 to 15 secs.  Release.

  2. Move to a 45 degree squat and raise towel half way up back.  Tighten the entire body and pull against towel.  Release

  3. Move to full squat and raise towel as high up back as possible.  Tighten the entire body and pull against towel. Release.

  4. NOTE: for extra leg development, do squat on toes.

Downloadable Towel Isometric Training PDF <= click here

This routine is perfect for doing in the bathroom before or after your shower.

Click the image above or click here to download your own copy that you can tape to the mirror or wall.

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Lee, thanks so much for the great information. If anyone has any questions feel free to ask them in the comment section below.

-Todd

Comments

  1. John says

    Hey Todd I was curious about the breathing technique you use for the Isometrics. I have read a lot of this subject and most of those who practice these types of exercises use the technique of inhaling for 3-5 sec for maximum tension then exhale making a ssssss sound contracting for 7-10 sec then 3 sec slow release. I have been doing your isometric program but having difficulty with the breathing technique. Maybe because I have done it the other way. But to be honest I seem to get a better contraction exhaling with tension. Maybe I just need more practice with the sipping breath. Is there some particular reason why you use this particular breathing technique? Thanks! Look forward to doing the the towel isometrics tomorrow.

    • says

      Hey John,

      Good question. The sipping breath helps you tighten to greater degrees. Since you are syncing each time you tighten with an inhalation its easier to go deeper. However, if you have a technique that you like better don’t feel like you need to trade up. Stick with what is working for you.

      • John says

        Thanks for reply Todd. I might just alternate from week to week to see which one gives the most results. But in your mind you don see an advantage one over another?

  2. Mark says

    Doesn’t this remind you of the old Bullworker type of exercises? Same principle right but you could measure progress on the Bullworker device?

  3. Louis says

    Can I actually build strong, powerful, big legs just by doing bodyweight exercises? Most of the world says you need weights. If so, how?

  4. says

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