In everyday life, we react and move in every direction. However, all too often our cardio workouts only have us moving one way – forward.
When most people do cardio workouts, they run. Or they hop on a piece of cardio equipment that has them moving in one direction, which really doesn’t make them functionally stronger for everyday life. Being able to react and move quickly in every direction is important. It helps us prevent injury when we react or twist or turn in everyday life.
That is why it is important to include cardio exercises that force you to react and move in every direction. It is even better if that cardio move forces your upper and lower body to move independently.
Moving each hemisphere of your body independently while you twist and turn and push and move in every direction will not only make your body stronger in every direction, but it will also improve your coordination and mind-body connect so that you can react quicker.
One of the best cardio move that will get you moving in every direction uses only a towel and can basically be done anywhere – The Towel Taz.
The Towel Taz is a great full-body workout that strengthens your entire core, including your glutes and shoulders. Plus it will get your blood pumping and heart beating hard within seconds.
All you need is a towel. A moving blanket or heavy sheet works even better and adds a little extra challenge, although a simple beach towel or two can work.
To do the Towel Taz, grab a bath towel, moving blanket, fleece blanket or whatever towel or blanket you have on hand. The bigger and heavier the towel, the harder the move will be.
Hold a corner of one side of the towel in each hand and stand up nice and tall. Then begin to side shuffle as you start shaking the towel up and down with your arms slightly bent in front of you.
Take a few steps shuffling right then take a few steps shuffling back left as you shake the towel up and down in front of you, lifting your arms up above your shoulders before snapping them back down. The bigger the movement with your arms and the quicker you shuffle, the harder the move will be.
Shake the towel as powerfully and as quickly as you can up and down. You will want to sort of side shuffle in every direction. You can sort of do big monster lateral steps forward or backward as well although you will probably not want to fully “run” forward or backward.
All of your steps should be slightly lateral even when moving forward or backward so that you don’t step on the towel.
As you move around quickly, keep your chest up and do not round your back. You can shake the towel up, but you can also bring it in and out almost like a chest press while holding the towel up at about shoulder height.
The quicker you move your arms and legs and the more you move around and really shake the towel, the harder the move will be. Move quickly and get that blood pumping!
Click here for a video of the Towel Taz (shown at 38 seconds in).
Cori is the owner of Redefining Strength, a functional training facility in Orange County, California focused on helping each client find their strong. She started training and writing a fitness blog in 2011 because she wanted to empower people through diet and exercise so that they can lead healthier, happier lives.