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Partner Exercises – Great workout to do as a couple (or with friends!)

Working out with friends and family can be super fun. Having a group of people, or a partner, to workout with can keep you motivated, having fun and constantly pushing harder.

Because I think that working out with others can be a great way to have fun WHILE getting in a killer workout, I wanted to share with you all a few of my favorite partner moves.

I generally use these moves on metabolic days as they can really get your heart pumping when you do them quickly for 20-30 seconds. You can also combine just a couple for a warm up and team-building exercise!

Partner Workout Moves!

1. Partner Get Ups – The goal of this move is to try to stand of from lying down as much by yourself as possible. Your partner is just there for a little support. It is a great move to warm up the legs and core. To do this move, stand facing your partner with your feet between hip-width and shoulder-width apart. Your feet can be slightly staggered if you want. Grab hands so that you are holding right to right or left to left. One partner will then sit down on the ground and roll back onto their back. Without using their other hand, they will roll up and drive through their feet to come to a standing position. The other parter will have move forward with them as they rolled back so that they can help “pull” them back up to standing. Once the partner is standing, the other partner will roll back and then plant their feet and come back to standing. Keep alternating partners for the allotted amount of time and then switch to the other hand and repeat.

partner get ups

2. Partner Pulls – Grab your partner’s hand and step the opposite forward into a strong stance facing your partner. This move is a great upper body move that forces you to each act as the other’s resistance. Your goal is to  keep tension the entire time you are doing this move and create a little arm “shake-age” (as I like to call it). You want to make each other really work for every inch of movement. HOWEVER, you do not want to resist so hard that the other person can’t move. There should be slow and steady movement back and forth. To do this move, set up and then one person should pull toward their armpit while the other slowly allows their arm to extend, resisting the pull. As soon as the partner is fully extended, they should start pulling back toward their armpit while the other person resists. A slight rotation as you pull is fine, but you shouldn’t rotate a lot. Also do not round the shoulders or really lean back. Keep a nice tall posture and a slight leg bend.

Partner pulls

3. Partner Pushes – Partner pushes are just a push variation of the move above. Instead of actually holding hands though, you and your partner will put palm to palm with finger tips pointing up. This will force both of you to really PUSH and not pull at all back and forth.

4. Partner Crawls and Jumps – A great core move. Have one person set up in sort of a pike/downward dog position. They want to have their butt up in the air to give their partner plenty of room to crawl under. The other partner will crawl under. To make the crawl easier, have your knees on the ground. To make it harder, try not to allow your knees to touch the ground while still managing to crawl under your partner. Once you crawl under, your partner will drop to the ground (like at the bottom of a push up) so that you can jump over. To make the drop harder, hold at the bottom of a push up. To make it a bit easier, just rest on the ground. Hop laterally over your partner. Try to hop with both feet together, however, you can jump forward or hop one foot at a time if you are just beginning (Please just don’t land on your partner….they probably wouldn’t like that too much….). Once you’ve jumped over, drop to the ground and set up so they can crawl under you and then jump over. Keep repeating until the time is up.Partner crawl under jump over

5. Partner Hamstring Curls – One of the toughest hamstring moves out there and one of my favorite from training in college. (Sorry I forgot to take a picture of this last night but will try to get one today.) One partner should kneel on a mat or slightly cushioned flooring and flex their feet. The other partner will kneel behind them. The partner behind will grab the ankles of the front partner and really hold them into the ground. The back partner is the anchor that helps the other partner curl back up. The harder the back partner presses into the ground, the more assistance they give the front partner. The front partner will then slowly fall forward toward the ground with their hands outside their chest to catch them once they hit the ground. Go as slowly toward the ground as you can to really work your hamstrings. Basically all that should be happening is that the front partner is straightening at the knees as they go over. Their body should stay in a nice straight line. Once the front partner hits the ground, they will then press themselves back with their hands only as much as needed and PULL themselves back up with their hamstrings. They should keep their body in a straight line. If their butt starts to go back first, they didn’t push up enough with their arms. This move (especially the curling back up part) is very advanced. Beginners may want to start with a wall in front of them. Control your decent toward the wall. Truly go as slowly as possible. Once you hit the wall, press yourself away, trying to curl yourself back up as much as possible with your hamstrings. Repeat all reps and then the other partner goes.

6. Partner Drags or Pulls – So this move can be done two different ways. My favorite is with the valslides/sliders/furniture movers just because both partners are working hard the entire time; however, if you are outside/at home/don’t have sliders, the other move is still challenging and fun! To do partner pulls, one partner stands with each foot on a valslide. They will sink into a squat (90 degrees) and extend their arms out in front, crossing one arm over the other. The other partner will grab their hands and then drag them, walking backward as quickly as they can. This kills the legs of both people and really works the core of the person on the sliders. Do not allow yourself to fall forward or round when on the sliders. Also do not let your knees cave in. Maintain proper squat form. (It may take a round to get used to the balance). If you are pulling, try to be steady and smooth in your steps. If you jerk your partner, they will have to work doubly hard to balance. Then switch and the other person pulls while the other is dragged. To do partner drags, one partner will stand with their back to the other partner. They will cross their hands over their chest. The back partner will then reach up under their armpits from behind them and the front partner will then lean back into the back partner. The back partner will then be holding the weight of the front partner. The front partner will not be supporting themself. Their feet will just be relaxed on the ground as the back partner is holding them. The back partner will then “drag” the front partner. After completing the round, the partner that was dragged will then be the “dragger.”partner drags

partner carry

Poor Carla…having to be carried by the sweat monster! (Luckily I wasn’t even sweating that much for me!)

7. Partner Carries – This is an advanced move and a very full body one. Please be careful when attempting this as you must keep your core tight or risk back injury. To do this move, one partner will be carried. To pick up your partner, have them face you while you are sideways. You are going to reach through their legs and hook your arm around and up. As you reach through though, you should have their other hand over your back and in your other hand. Get the partner over your back right up by your shoulders. Brace your core and have your partner put their bottom, free hand, on your low back to help brace. Get them situated up high on your back and then walk. When done, switch and have them carry you.

8. Partner Medball Sit Ups and Throw – Take a light medicine ball. One partner will be standing while the  other is on the ground performing a sit up. The partner on the ground should bend their knees and lay back on the ground with the ball extended overhead. As they sit up, they are going to throw the ball to the partner that is standing. The partner standing will then pass the ball back to the partner that is seated and then will lie back down and repeat. Switch once the time or reps are completed.

sit up and pass

9. Partner Medball Russian Twists – Sit side-by-side with a foot or two of space between you. The farther apart you sit the more difficult the move will be since you have to pass it that distance. Both of you should lean back slightly and raise your feet off the ground to balance on your bums (if you are a beginner, you can keep your feet on the ground, but still remember to lean back to engage your abs). The partner with the ball will rotate the ball to the outside of the hip that is away from their partner. They will then toss the ball across their body to their partner. The partner will catch it and rotate the ball out to their side farthest from their partner and then throw it back. Repeat all reps and then face the other direction so that you can throw the other direction.

partner russian twists

10. Partner Medball Chest Passes and Shuffle – Stand facing your partner. The farther apart you stand the harder the move will be because you will pass further. You can also use a heavier ball to make the move harder. We demonstrated this move as just a chest pass, however, I like it as the chest pass and shuffle. Beginners may want to start with just the pass though. To perform this move, you are going to pass the ball back and forth in a chest pass. As you pass the ball back and forth, you are also going to shuffle sideways down and back. The faster you shuffle and pass, the harder the move. Make sure to not get ahead of your partner. You want to work together not smash the ball at each other’s faces.

chest pass

Bonus move: Partner sled complex….Because sometimes it is just fun to sit on a sled and go for a ride! (Do Tsunamis off the sled. Pull the sled toward you, push it back and then crawl backward back!)partner sled

Note: A big THANK YOU to Carla and Jaydee of the Vanguard Volleyball Team for helping me snap some photos! These moves are best done with a partner at your similar fitness level and/or size (if you are short and working with a tall person the crawls will not be easy for that taller person).

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