Tip: The Sweatshirt Workout

Train your back and arms with zero equipment... except maybe the shirt off your back. Here's how.


When you're stuck at home with little to do other than a bunch of bodyweight squats and push-ups, head to your bedroom closet.

Inside rests a piece of "equipment" you're probably unaware of. Grab a heavy duty sweatshirt or towel. What we're going to do is use friction and tension to create resistance for concentric-only reps and isometrics.

Sweatshirt Seated Row

  1. Sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you. Take a sweatshirt and loop it around your feet so that the sleeves are easy to grab. You're about to replicate a seated row.
  2. Position your torso upright and with a neutral spine. From here, reach your arms as far out as you can and grasp each sleeve.
  3. Grip the sleeves hard enough to create an appreciable amount of friction, but not so hard that your hands can't slide. Use your back muscles to "row" your hands down the sleeves. Once you reach the end of the range of motion, reset and repeat.

Disclaimer: The technique isn't the most comfortable on the hands. If you plan to use this method for a decent amount of volume, this is one of the few times it may be acceptable to wear gloves to prevent blisters. You could also just opt for the isometric options.

Now use the same idea to target different muscles:

Sweatshirt Bentover (or Split Stance) Row

Sweatshirt Curl

Sweatshirt Skull Crusher

You can also use a door to anchor the (knotted) material and then pull against it. Pull-ups can be done this way too. And if you have the space, flyes and reverse flyes can too. Here are some other ideas:

Sweatshirt Triceps Pressdown

Sweatshirt Extended Arm Pulldown

Of course, I'd consider these exercises inferior to their weighted or banded counterparts, but if you find yourself without ANY workout gear, they'll work for a temporary routine.

Drew Murphy is a gym owner and personal trainer located in Tiffin, Iowa. Out of his facility, he trains clients using a wide range of strength and conditioning methods.  Follow Drew Murphy on Instagram