If you’re one of those people who never actually gets out of bed for that morning run or consistently skips the gym in lieu of dinner and trashy TV, you’re not alone. Even if you desperately want to gain muscle, drop weight, or tone up, the act of getting in the habit of working out can feel almost impossible. When you know you’ll only disappoint yourself when you hit snooze for the fifth time, you may need a little extra motivation to get moving.
This is when your friends, family, or significant other come into play. Everyone wants to get fit and it’s well proven that exercise partners provide a powerful combination of support, accountability, motivation, and in some cases, competition. Not only will your exercise partner hold you accountable when you say you want to workout at 7 a.m. but working out with a partner can be more fun and more challenging than simply hitting the gym solo.
This powerful duo exercise targets your body’s major hot spots: Shoulders, core, and legs. Make sure you have a dumbbell or medicine ball handy. To start, stand one foot apart from your partner facing away from each other. Keep your feet wider than shoulder-width, holding onto the dumbbell or medicine ball. When you’re both in position, squat so you’re butt-to-butt and then lean forward to pass the weight between both sets of legs to your partner. Stand up in unison and then your partner will pass the weight back to you overhead. This is one rep. Do up to 20 reps and then switch directions so that you pass the weight overhead and your partner does the between the leg pass.
2. High-low twist and pass
Remain in the same starting position from the over-under. Hold the weight overhead on a right diagonal and pass the weight over your right shoulder where your partner will reach to take the weight. Your partner will then draw the weight down and across his or her bodies as their knees bend into a squat. When they’re in squat position, your partner will pass the ball back to you keeping the weight low, by their left shin. From here you’ll grab it and draw the weight up and across your body to the upper right diagonal to repeat the cycle. The actual orbit of the dumbbell or ball should be an oval. Repeat this for 10 to 15 reps before switching directions.
3. Reach-and-touch plank
For a little abdominal burn, try out this partner variation on the classic plank. To start, lie on your stomach facing your partner. Keep your elbows under your shoulders, set your palms flat on the floor and tuck your toes under in plank position. Contract your abs, lift up your torso, and reach forward with your right hand to touch your partner’s right hand. Switch arms before gently lowering back to the ground for a short, timed rest. Complete up to 12 reps ensuring your do both sides fully.
4. Partner walking lunge
If you’re not a fan of lunges, give this partner-inspired variation a try. To start, stand tall with your feet together facing your partner. Reach your arms out straight and clasp each other’s elbows making sure one person takes the overhand grip while the other takes the underhand grip. Step forward with your right foot, lowering into a lunge as your partner simultaneously steps backward with their right foot, lowering into a reverse lunge. Remind each other to keep your abs engaged as you lower before returning to the starting position where you will repeat. This time step forward with your left foot while your partner steps back with their left foot. Continue, alternating legs for a timed minute before switching directions for a full minute.