The latissimus dorsi (lats) of the back and the upper-arm biceps are important for pulling and lifting strength, both common onboard movements. Plus, short sleeves beg for sculpted “guns!” Likewise, the gluteus muscles of the buttocks (glutes) provide power for speed and safe, effective lifting — and they make your pants fit so much better!
Towel squats and tube lat pulls are two exercises that can easily be done on board and in small spaces. Towels are easily accessible, and tubing — with or without handles — is available in sporting good stores or online.
Wrap a hand or bath towel around a rail or pole and pull your elbows into your body as you ease down into a squat. Keep your knees in line with your toes, and your feet parallel and hip distance apart. Hold the squat for at least 30 seconds, then drop a little deeper into the squat and hold for another 30 seconds. Add one more descent and 30-second hold, then rise back up, again holding 30-seconds at each interval. The entire exercise takes 2.5 minutes.
Tube Lat Pull:
Loop the tubing around a pole or railing, and either wrap the tube around your hands or hold onto the handles, standing far enough away to create resistance. Bend your knees enough to straighten your back in a partial sitting position, with ears, shoulders, hips and heels in alignment. Engage your abdominal muscles, squeeze your glutes and pull the tube handles to your rib cage. Hold, then release slowly back to the starting position. Repeat at least 10-12 times, focusing on your lats and biceps, squeezing your abs to your spine and engaging your glutes.
Alternate both exercises for as many sets as your schedule allows.
MARILYN DEMARTINI IS A CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER AND YOGA INSTRUCTOR, AND WAS A FITNESS WRITER FOR 10 YEARS BEFORE ENTERING THE MARINE INDUSTRY.