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Towel Pull-ups Full Guide: Insane Arm Gains

Towel Pullups may look silly at first glance, but they are extremely effective and is often used by arm wrestlers and rock climbers.

If you find regular pull-ups to be easy, you will be humbled because the towel pull-up is much harder!

The towel pull-up will not only challenge you back but literally every muscle in the upper body including your chest to stabilize and your forearms and the smaller muscles in the hand to grip the bar.

How To Do Towel Pullups

Find a medium sized terry towel that is thick and not stretchy.

You can perform with just one towel, however if you want to be able to control the grip width, you will need two towels.

Find a Pull up bar, and place the towel around the bar.

We recommend a narrower grip for this exercise since we are working on the forearms.

Do this in the beginning of your workouts as it is a very challenging exercise that requires all the energy you can muster.

If you are too fatigued you will barely be able to hang onto the towel.

Easier Variation of Towel Pullups

If towel pull-ups are too challenging for you, not to worry! We have some variations that will offer you the same benefits!

Assisted towel pull-ups

Use a resistance band, pullup assistance machine or have a partner help you perform the towel pullups!

Towel Inverted Rows

Find a barbell on a squat rack or smith machine and perform wrap you towel over the barbell. Perform the inverted row holding onto the towel.

Towel seated Rows

Attach the towel onto the cable and perform the row just like a regular seated row.

Towel Dead hangs

You don't need to perform a pullup to get the benefits. Simply hanging on the towel will do wonders for your grip strength! Try to hold it from anywhere between 5-30 seconds. If it becomes too easy try adding weight or try to perform a pullup!

Harder Variation of Towel Pullups

If bodyweight is too easy, try adding some weight to increase the intensity!

Use a weight vest such as the Kensui EZ-VEST shown in the picture or a dip belt to add the weight!

How Often Should I Train Towel Pullups?

1x a week for 3 sets is most likely enough to really benefit from this exercise.

Another option is just to replace your regular pull-ups with these every 3rd or 4th time in your training regime.

Be sure to train these in the beginning of the workout when you are fresh and have plenty of energy!

Wrapping Up (pun intended)

Use towel pull-ups to take your grip and pull-up game to the next level

Towels are essentially free and this exercise can be performed anywhere you would perform a regular pull-up or row.

Try them out and you will not be disaappointed!

About the Author

Remy started calisthenics in 2014 and has mastered advanced movements such as the one arm pull-up, front-lever, one arm muscle-up and more.

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