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5 Partner Workouts You Can Do Anywhere

Many find sticking to an exercise routine a challenge.

Life happens. It can crash right into your healthy routine and destroy any and all progress you’ve made in a moment. But, that’s okay. You can pick yourself back up again. You can find strategies that help you adhere to a regular exercise regime.

For many, the buddy system helps them stay accountable and keeps them motivated.

Exercise is what you make of it; you only get as much as you put in. It can be a lot of fun working out with a friend. It can challenge you. It can help you keep your form in check. And you may find you reach your goals faster than you ever thought possible.

Researchers at Michigan State University found that those who work out with a friend are 40% more fit. So, if you are in search of some new fitness inspiration, grab a friend. Get ready. We have the workout for you!

Warm Up & Cardio

First and foremost, make sure you warm up properly. A warm-up prepares the body for your exercise session. It gets the heart pumping and the blood flowing. The goal is to warm up the muscles to encourage blood flow. Increased blood flow helps promotes oxygen uptake in the muscles, and oxygen drives your workout! Warming up creates energy, enhancing your workout performance.

Aim for a warm-up of 5-10 minutes. Jog, jump rope, or do a combination of multiple exercises—whatever gets your heart racing and your body warm.

Once your warm-up is complete, you are ready to get started! The 5 following exercises can add the inspiration and fun you’ve been looking for in your workouts. Are you ready?

Partner Exercises

1. Back-to-Back Squats

The squat is an exercise that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It is a compound movement, meaning you engage more than 1 joint. During a squat, the hip joints and knee joints both go into flexion.

This exercise targets the major muscles of the legs, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. The great thing about the squat is that it helps with mobility in everyday tasks. We squat down to lift up objects, to clean the floor, or to reach for a dropped item. Thus, it’s important to build these muscles and to maintain the mobility in the knee and hip joints.

This squat exercise is a partner variation that can further challenge your stability and balance. This one might be just the fitness inspiration you’ve needed to revisit an otherwise boring exercise! Communicate with your buddy throughout this movement. Talking to each other can help prevent falls or injuries from occurring.

  1. Face back to back with your workout partner.
  2. Position your feet hip-width apart.
  3. Lean onto each other’s backs. Go slow here! Don’t rush into the movement.
  4. Use the support of your buddy to slowly lower into a squat. This is where communication is of utmost importance. The squat must be performed at the same time.
  5. As you squat, slowly bend your knees. Try to avoid the knees turning outward or from tracking over your big toes.
  6. Stop when your thighs are approximately parallel to the floor.
  7. Slowly push back up through your heels into the start position. Again, communication is important here! Do the movement together.
  8. Perform 10 repetitions for 2-3 sets.

Modification: You and your partner can hold the squat at the bottom point for up to 10 seconds to challenge yourselves even further. For an easier variation, face each other and hold hands. Lean back into a squat this way instead. Make sure you both have a good grip, so no one falls backward.

2. Medicine Ball Russian Twists

If you don’t have a medicine ball, don’t panic. A lot of households don’t. You can use a regular weight, a soccer ball, or even a yoga block. Whatever works. The heavier the object is, the harder the exercise will be.

Russian twists work your oblique muscles, part of your abdominals. These muscles are responsible for twisting your midsection. A strong core helps to build a strong foundation and can help protect the spine. This exercise involves passing a weight or object from you to your partner. Let us explain.

  1. Sit on a mat or a comfortable surface. You and your partner should have your backs facing each other with your knees bent and both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Hold a medicine ball in both hands in front of you. Lift your feet slightly off the ground. Your knees can remain slightly bent.
  3. Without moving your legs, twist to one side and pass the object to your partner behind you (they will twist to the same side to receive the medicine ball or object).
  4. Your partner takes the medicine ball or object from your hands.
  5. They then turn to face their front, and then turn to the opposite side to hand you the ball.
  6. You twist to the same side and receive the ball.
  7. Continue to do this for 10-12 repetitions for 2 sets.

Modification: Extending your legs straight is a more challenging core workout.


3. The Helping Hand Exercise

Sometimes you just need a little help from your friends! And that is what the helping hand exercise is all about.

It is a full body workout. You use your upper body during your partner’s turn. During your turn, you use your core and legs.

  1. Start standing tall holding the opposite hand of your partner, with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Keeping your grip within your partner’s, slowly squat down as far as you comfortably can. (This part is where your legs and glutes are working!)
  3. Touch your buttocks to the ground.
  4. Maintain control and slowly lean your back all the way down to the floor. (Feel your core burn!)
  5. Carefully rise back up to the start position in the same way.
  6. Now it’s your partner’s turn.
  7. Your partner starts at step 2 and proceeds through the movement in the same way.
  8. Continue to alternate. Do 10 each for 2-3 sets.

Modifications: If you find it tough to get all the way down to the ground via a squat, slowly sit down on the ground however you see fit. Try to use your core muscles as you lower yourself back. If you feel this movement in your back muscles, take a break. You want to be using your abdominals, not your back. Using your back could cause injury, which you definitely don’t need.

4. Squat & Push Up

So we haven’t quite had enough of squats yet! Are your legs burning? Good. That means you’re working! Take breaks if you need to, or alternate each strengthening exercise with a minute or more of cardio. Doing this, you have your own DIY HIIT workout, or High Intensity Interval Training workout, which burns tons of calories and fat. This squat exercise includes a push-up, working your chest and shoulder muscles as well.

  1. Your partner should position themselves in a high plank. Their hands should be directly under their shoulders and their legs should be straight back.
  2. This is where you come in. Grab onto your partner’s ankles and carefully pick them up off the ground. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
  3. Let your buddy know you are about to lower into a squat. Then, as you squat down, they bend their elbows and come into a low push-up position.
  4. As you straighten back up, they push back up into a high plank.
  5. Perform this exercise 10-12 times. Then, switch spots. Do 2-3 sets each way.

Modifications: To challenge yourself and your partner further, the person performing the push-up can have their feet up on their friend’s shoulders. For an easier variation, swap between knee push-ups and regular or jump squats.

5. Side Plank High Fives

Side Plank High Fives target the entire abdominal muscle group. Building strength in these muscles can help protect your low back and ward off back pain.

  1. Start in a high plank, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your legs straight back. Position yourself right beside your partner, who is also in a high plank.
  2. Shift your weight into one hand and unfold out into a side plank facing away from your partner. The hand you aren’t balancing on should stretch up towards the ceiling. Make sure your hip stays high and your body straight. Tighten your core. Hold here for about 5 seconds.
  3. Slowly return back to a full high plank.
  4. Then, rotate to face your partner in another side plank.
  5. High five your partner with your free hand!
  6. Continue to alternate sides for 10 rounds and 2-3 sets.

Modification: For an easier variation, you can perform the high plank and side planks from your forearms and knees.

Conclusion

Always make sure to stay hydrated throughout your workout. Include a cooldown at the end, and stretch out the major muscles worked, such as the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, chest, and shoulder muscles. Stretching helps clear lactic acid buildup from the muscles.

Partner exercises are a fun and challenging way to shake up your usual fitness routine. Most of all, remember to have fun with it and be patient with yourself and your partner. Become a stronger, more confident, and healthier you!

Related Article: Spring Clean Your Workout Routine

Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden

"Believing in yourself is really half the battle," says Krista. Anything is possible and you really can achieve anything you set your mind to, is her motto. Physiotherapist, Piano player, skydiver, yogi, adventure traveler and energetic force of positivity, Krista is herself a (delightful) force to be reckoned with! As... Read More

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