Partner exercises are a great inclusion to any workout. This is particularly true if you’re one of those people who can’t bear to exercise without a designated buddy.
In the interest of it being the 14th February, and on behalf of all those people (myself included) who don’t have a splashy, romantic evening planned, I’ve put together a quick list of my favourite exercises to do as a duo.
Partner workouts great for motivation purposes. There’s nothing like someone relying on you to force you to up the energy levels! Working out in a team can also increase skills such as coordination and proprioception – the knowledge of where your body is in space. This is because you’ll be subconsciously thinking about where the OTHER person is as well. More often than not you find yourselves instinctively working on the same leg/arm/side as the other person, falling nicely in sync. Personally, I also find it useful to watch other people’s technique to check whether what I’m doing myself could be improved in any way.
I’m super competitive, so I always have to remind myself that when you’re working out with someone else you need to find that balance between pushing yourself and sticking to your own limits. This is especially relevant when you’re training with someone who you absolutely know is bigger/stronger than you. I gave up competing with Tom a long time ago!
Take turns at these exercises and let me know what you think in the comments!
Of course, if your buddy goes AWOL one day and you begin to wonder just how you’re supposed to make it to the gym without them, check out my Novice’s Guide to Working Out Alone.
1) Pull Ups
How: If you can’t do a proper full range pull up yet, have your partner support your legs as you pull up. Go for a wide, overhand grip, which is tougher than the close-grip chin up.
Why: This will take a fraction of the load and all you to train your muscles how to actually perform the contraction correctly.
Difficulty: Relatively easy, but tiring.
2) Weighted Get Ups
How: Grab a dumbbell or kettlebell and lie on your back, on a mat. Have your partner hold down/sit on your feet. The aim is to get from the laid down position, to standing, all without using your hands – which should be holding the weight above your head.
Why: Having the partner there will anchor your feet in place, which will provide some stability and support. This is an all-over body exercise, that works your arms, chest, core and legs all at the same time. Why not!
Difficulty: Average. Practice without the weight at first!
3) Shoulder Press-Ups
How: Start in a conventional press-up position. Have your partner stand behind you and place your feet on their shoulders. As you bend & straighten your elbows in a press up, the standing partner squats with your feet on their shoulders.
Why: Having your feet raised in a press up position helps to target the shoulders, rather than the chest. Meanwhile, the standing partner is working their lower body so it’s a very efficient exercise to practice.
Difficulty: Takes Practice!
4) Pistol Squats
How: Stand facing your partner. Each of you should hold out your left leg straight infront of you. You should be able to hold your partner’s left foot in your right hand. Reach across and both of you hold each other’s left hand. Squat down as low as you can go, keeping the raised legs held off the floor. Create tension in the holding hands to allow yourselves to push back up.
Why: Great for teamwork, balance and coordination, as well as working the glutes and legs.
Difficulty: It’s a challenge!
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!