Gym Shorts: The Towel Curl

New to the towel curl or looking for a quick technique tutorial? Learn correct form in one short video.

How to Perform the Towel Curl

Gym Shorts videos provide short video demonstrations of correct form for various exercises.

Follow these steps

  • Feed a towel through a kettlebell handle.
  • Grasp the ends of the towel with each hand using a hammer grip (thumbs up).
  • Deadlift the kettlebell into the starting position.
  • Stand tall with abs tight.
  • Finish with high elbows and palms facing you.
  • Limit torso movement: keep it strict.
  • Use steady, controlled movement. Don’t let the kettlebell swing.

What It Is

The towel curl is an accessory lift that trains the biceps and forearm muscles using a kettlebell or another object with a closed-loop handle and a towel.

The towel curl is a variation on the more familiar barbell curl and dumbbell curl exercises. The towel modifies the more traditional movements, adding an element of grip training or it can be used to turn household items and odd objects into weights for this accessory lift.


We tend to program this exercise for two different groups. Some advanced athletes need varied stress for their biceps femoris and forearm muscles and benefit from the additional grip training. We may also prescribe this lift to someone with limited equipment.

Perform this lift for higher reps and sets, so 3-5 x 6-20. Often, kettlebell weight options are limited, so you may perform these for an AMRAP (as many reps as possible during a set time) or as part of an upper-body or full-body circuit.

If you have a towel and a kettlebell and want to train your biceps, the muscles of your forearms, and your grip strength, consider adding the towel curl to your routine.

Click HERE for a similar gym shorts video on the barbell curl and HERE to learn more about how to program accessories into your program.




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