We know that exercise is an essential part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle, but often times we feel it could be more fun. Sometimes we just choose to tune out our surroundings by listening to music or watching whatever is on TV (and sometimes doing this makes a lot of sense). However, working out with other people can also be a great source of motivation! Whether it’s workout games, group fitness, or just working out with a partner, there are plenty of ways to add fun and variety to your usual gym routine.
As a certified personal trainer and women’s weight loss coach, I personally know how important having a workout buddy can be! Altogether, it’s a built-in support system, accountability partner, and someone to share the fun (and good pain!) with.
In particular, partner workouts can be done with a friend, a trainer, or a significant other. The exercises in the partner workouts below help to strengthen and tone the entire body. In fact, in many of these exercises, having your partner exercising with you helps to maintain the integrity of proper form and alignment!
Check out this full body workout below. I recommend doing 10 repetitions of each exercise and then repeating this circuit for a total of three times. Let the fun begin!
Holding Hands Squat
Stand with your feet as wide as your hips and face your workout partner. Reach your arms out so that you can touch and hold onto each other’s hands with straight arms. This will dictate how close or far away from each other you stand. Then bend your knees and lower your glutes back into a squat while holding on to each other’s hands. The tension created by holding hands helps maintain the integrity of the squat, since it forces you to lean back into the squat without allowing your knees to come forward past your toes. Pull your naval in towards your spine and relax your shoulders. Press down through your heels to come up and then repeat a total of 10 times.
This squat is perfect to do at the beginning of a workout because it focuses on balance and establishing trust with your partner! The exercise also warms up the body to do more complex exercises later in this workout.
Single Arm Rotation Squats
This squat variation works the core and the internal and external obliques. It also helps to tone and tighten the quads and glutes. Stand a little bit closer to your partner and grab onto their forearms. Lower down into the squat and keep holding on to each other’s opposite arms so that you twist to different sides. Make sure that when you’re twisting to the left, you keep your right knee in alignment with your left knee instead of allowing it to jut forward. Press down through the heels, coming up to a standing position, and then switch the grip to the other arm and twist to the other side. Repeat for a total of 10 times for each side.
This squat is fun to do both in the workout sequence we have listed here OR in between sets of abs. Since the core and internal and external obliques are targeted in this move, it’s a great way to change up your ab exercises and get in more cardio and lower body strength training by standing up in between core exercises on the ground.
Holding Hands Backward Lunge
This one can be sped up to increase your heart rate and get more of a cardio workout in! Holding hands with your partner, step back with the opposite leg as you and your partner move into a reverse lunge. Try to keep your front knee over your foot’s second toe and bend your back knee towards the ground. Holding hands again with your partner helps to maintain proper form with this exercise because you cannot step back too far into the backward lunge – you can step back just enough to create close to 90-degree angles with your legs. Press down through your front heel and then come up to a standing position. Alternate to the other side and repeat 10 times for each side.
To make this move even more challenging, add a little jump or hop to this move and try to time the jump with your partner! This is fun to do if you’re both in good shape and want to add in more cardio. You’ll have to be in sync and really focused to get the timing right on this one!
Plank Hand Taps
Facing your partner, you should each come down into a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists and abs pulled in. Shift your balance onto one hand and then clap your partner’s opposite hand into a low high five. Try to keep your hips level without moving sideways as you alternate hand claps 10 times.
This exercise can also be done after a push up. For example, do a push up and then do the hand tap. Do another push up and then do the hand tap with the alternate hand. Alternatively, if you’re looking for an easier version of this, you can perform this exercise on your knees in a modified push-up position.
Standing Push Abs with a Squat
For this exercise, have your partner lie on a mat on their back. You’ll stand at their head and have them reach out their arms to grab onto your ankles. They will relax their shoulders. Bring their legs up towards the ceiling and have them pull their naval in towards their spine. Gently push their legs down towards the ground so that they engage their abs and keep their inner thighs hugging together as you bend your knees and lower into a squat. Then they should use their abs to bring their legs back up to the ceiling, and you should then push down through your heels to come up to a standing position. Repeat 10 times and then switch positions!
As a personal trainer and Pilates instructor, this is one of my favorite partner exercises to do because both people have to be super focused. The standing partner needs to position themselves correctly to do both the squat and the push without falling onto the partner on the ground! Plus, the partner on the ground gets a real core workout and has to trust the standing partner to not push too hard. It takes a lot of coordination and balance on the part of both partners.
This exercise works the core and the internal and external obliques to create a more defined mid-section. Lying on your back, bend your knees and, without using your hands, touch the bottoms of your feet together. Then with your hands behind your head, curl up and pull your naval in towards your spine. As you turn to your right knee and extend your left leg, your partner will bend their left knee and extend their right leg so that you both are riding a bike and twisting to opposite sides. Really press through the extended leg’s heel to increase the intensity of this ab exercise. Repeat 10 times for each side.
Even if you’re lying on the couch with a friend or family member, you can both easily do this exercise by each lying down on opposite ends of the sofa! Another idea is getting down on the ground while you’re playing with the kids and doing this ab move. For any number of different purposes or social situations, it’s simple to get in the right position for this exercise and get moving!
In conclusion, this workout routine is great for strengthening your legs, glutes, core, chest, and back, so enjoy these partner exercises with your workout buddy soon! There are a lot of ways you can have fun while working out, but working out with a partner is a great way for you to motivate each other. And since helping another person is a key way to be happier yourself, it’s all the better for both your and your partner’s health and wellbeing.
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