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What’s the point of a towel?

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What’s the point of a towel?

A truly popular kind of sport is recognized by everyone, millions go into it, it involves great budgets, competitions gather crowds of people and all youngsters look up at renowned athletes. 

Weightlifting has taken off remarkably in the last 10 years thanks to fitness which has shown it off on the TV and the Internet. Many people have changed their minds about this kind of sport. They got rid of the image of a short chunky weightlifter who is as clumsy as a duck. It has also turned out that weightlifting does NOT take a toll on women’s health. It all goes without saying as long as you are sensible at planning your training, and maintain proper techniques.

I also recall my university years when we studied a subject called Recreational Sport. We were talking about jogging, walking, swimming, gymnastics, etc. But weightlifting has never been associated with health or recreation.

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But if you go deeper into the whole topic, you will figure out that the mechanics of competitive and preparatory exercises don’t only form strength training but are also the cornerstones of any rehab workout. You can check it in any book on fitness. They all say that a healthy person should be capable of performing these movements:

  • squats;
  • deadlifts;
  • vertical and horizontal presses and pulls;
  • lunges;
  • rotational movements.

Moreover, the ability to do all these exercises in different combinations, in order and with various speed is also important.

You have to admit that it reminds a typical weightlifting workout. 

While traveling in Brazil, I ran into children playing football in the yard all the time. A bad ball or a shabby field didn’t bother them at all since it is an unbroken tradition of their culture and national identity. And then it dawned on me why football is a top sport in this country. 

I questioned myself: is it possible to turn weightlifting into something similar? How can I make it closer to ordinary people? How can I enlighten them about all the benefits of these exercises?

The first idea that came into my mind was to put a platform and a barbell in every yard, even 5 platforms, or, eventually, a whole gym would be the best decision. Unfortunately, at the moment, I don’t have a clear idea of how to put it into practice but I promise to think it through. 

Clean & Jerk

So my main idea was: if thanks to fithess, a lot of people found out about the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk, even though they hadn’t planned to do that, can even more non-athletic people be attracted to weightlifting? 

After drilling down into Google searches on Fitness and Wellness, I realized that most people are involved in physical activity because they have the following things on their mind:

  • back pain;
  • the lack of energy;
  • poor posture;
  • being overweight;
  • low productivity.

The solution popped into my head: what if instead of a barbell, athletes use something light, simple, and more available? Of course, the easiest option is a plastic pipe (PVC) but not everyone has it at home. But a TOWEL is always at hand. Yes, that’s right: to keep a towel straight, you have to strain all your upper body and arms. And if you maintain that position for a long time, you can not only sweat but also tire yourself out. 

That’s how the name of a new program was born – TOWEL WEIGHTLIFTING. I created a set of workouts that consist of simple and accessible weightlifting exercises:

  • squats;
  • one-leg deadlifts variations;
  • thrusters, presses, and muscle snatches.
thrusters, presses, and muscle snatches

Additionally, I picked up different planks, superman exercises, and crunches for improving posture and strengthening small core muscles. And in order to add more variety, warm up your body and make you breathe, I included some simple running exercises such as jumping jacks and burpees, of course. 

According to all up-to-date tendencies, circuit and intensive interval training are the most beneficial for maintaining and improving overall health conditions. 

It is scientifically proven that HIIT workouts significantly contribute to human wellness:

  • boosting productivity;
  • preventing heart and vessels disease;
  • reducing insulin resistance;
  • fat burning;
  • enhancing memory and cognitive skills.

Of course, it works only with a systematic approach, sensible day schedule, and healthy meals. If one isn’t reasonable at nutrition and sleep, all training programs for losing fat are frankly useless and there is no chance of lifting heavy weights.

Finally, our team called the program STRONG CORE. This plan can be both separate or a part of your usual daily training. You get 21 workouts, each of them is a set of exercises and a whole video file. 


Athletes should warm themselves up on their own or follow video instructions and then start a workout video. Together with me, an athlete performs interval exercises: 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest. After that, there are always a stretch and a cool down. 

There are only 3 main rules:

  1. Devote 40 minutes.
  2. Take a mat and a towel. Confident athletes may use a barbell.
  3. Follow a video at a comfortable pace. Always mind the technique. 

There are two ways to plan your workout frequency:

  1. If you aim to get in shape, 21 days of workouts in a row is what you need. Since the main part of a workout takes 27 minutes, you won’t overstrain your body. Moreover, every 7th workout is a short test of your current condition: set a stopwatch and perform 8 exercises for 10 reps. Track your progress within 3 weeks paying attention to your productivity, weight, and state of health!
  2. If you want to stay in shape and maintain your overall body tone, 3-4 workouts per week will be enough.

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   In my opinion, such weightlifting with a towel is accessible to athletes of all levels and can be a great basis for newbies. Those who are familiar with a heavy barbell can use this program to add some variety to a transition period or when you get tired of a usual barbell or it isn’t at hand, for example, during a vacation!

What should you expect from a program STRONG CORE?

  • you will strengthen back muscles and get rid of lower back pain;
  • you will stop slouching, start keeping your back straight and chest open;
  • you will strengthen abdominal, oblique, and core muscles;
  • you will feel more energy and well-being.

Wish you fun weightlifting and a strong core!

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Sergii Putsov

Author: Sergii Putsov
Head of Sport Science, PhD

Experience: 20 years
Best ResultsSnatch – 165 kg,
C&J – 200 kg

Sergii Putsov, Ph.D., is a former professional weightlifter and National team member, achieving multiple medals in the 94 kg weight category at national competitions. With a Master’s degree in “Olympic & Professional Sport Training” and a Sport Science Ph.D. from the International Olympic Academy, Greece, Sergii now leads as the Head of Sport Science. He specializes in designing training programs, writing insightful blog articles, providing live commentary at international weightlifting events, and conducting educational seminars worldwide alongside Olympic weightlifting expert Oleksiy Torokhtiy.

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