Towel pullups are more difficult than standard pullups because you have to grip a towel to do the exercise. This works your forearm muscles, which are your gripping muscles, making them stronger and thicker. Use different types of towels to make it more or less difficult to hold on during a pullup.
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To do a towel pullup, wrap two towels over a pullup bar. Position the towels about shoulder-width apart. Grab both ends of each towel in one hand, lift your feet off the floor and cross your ankles. Exhale and pull yourself up to the bar. Perform six to 12 repetitions. You can use one towel and grab each end in one hand, but make sure the towel is strong enough to hold your weight.
Towel pullups strengthen your grip and help develop your forearm muscles. Although the forearms are an often-neglected training muscle, the benefits of strong forearms and a strong grip help you in everyday activities and sports. Having thick, strong forearms helps you hold heavy dumbbells or a barbell for deadlifts and rows. Whether you are holding a football, baseball or basketball, a strong grip helps you control the ball in any sport. The benefits also transfer to everyday activities, such as holding a tool or opening a lid.
Types of Towels
Adjust the difficulty of the towel pullup exercise by using different types of towels. The farther your hands are from the bar, the more challenging the exercise. This is because the towel hangs and moves more freely the longer it is, making it more difficult to hold and control. Therefore, holding the ends of a long towel is more difficult than holding the ends of a short towel. The material the towel is made of also makes a difference. If the towel is slick, it will be more difficult to hold than a rough, textured towel.
If you're not yet strong enough to do a full pull up it's better to avoid towel pullups until you develop enough strength; but you can still use a similar technique to thicken your forearms by doing a towel hang. Set up the towels as if you are going to do a pullup. Grab the towels and lift your feet off the floor. Hang there as long as you can. Try to increase your hanging time or use different towels to increase the difficulty of the hang exercise.