Pair Up and Slim Down: The Couple Workout

Did you know that working out with your partner is a great way to get fit while putting some muscle on your relationship? If you want to really reach your goals and strengthen your relationship with your Other at the same time, then this is something that you maybe ought to try! You will motivate each other to get up and go, while at the same time you will both be able to break out of your usual weeknight reality TV-glass of wine-sitting on the couch routine. You will get to learn the new moves together as a team and have the opportunity to share a nifty new experience at the same time. The following partner exercises require two people to do correctly, as the moves use the other person as resistance and for support. So grab a partner and let’s get to it!

Hook Squats:

Targets glutes

Hook Squats require constant willpower from both partners. If one of you stops the motion, the exercise cannot be completed. Use your partner for motivation and support throughout the move.

  • Stand back to back with your partner and get into proper squat position with knees over ankles
  • Squat down together and slowly walk clockwise while still squatting in a circle
  • Once circle has been completed, count to 20 and walk in a circle counterclockwise
  • Complete 3 sets

Alternating Box Jump:

Targets hamstrings and quads

This low-impact plyometric move effectively strengthens yours legs while challenging your stamina. Though this move can be done solo, pairing up for the rapid hip flexion motion ensures you’re both maintaining proper form. Any stable surface will work – just make sure to pick a height that you are both comfortable with.

  • Face each other and place a 6- to 10-inch box between you
  • Take turns jumping on and off the box in a squat position, making sure to land lightly with each jump. After landing back on the ground, your partner completes the same move
  • If needed, lightly join hands with outstretched arms for balance
  • Each partner jumps 15 to 20 times for 2 to 3 sets
  • Make it harder: Add 3- to 5-pound dumbbells to each hand during jumps

Biceps and Triceps Challenge:

Targets shoulders, biceps, and triceps

Two-person resistance training is much more effective than doing a series of traditional curls on your own. Rather than relying on weights to provide resistance, take turns with your partner using a towel.

  • Stand facing your partner, approximately a foot apart
  • Keeping knees slightly bent, grasp towel in the middle with palms facing upright while your partner holds the ends of the towel
  • Complete a biceps curl as your partner creates resistance, being sure to keep his core tight and shoulders relaxed, not hunched toward ears
  • Your partner completes a triceps extension while you create resistance on your way down from your biceps curl
  • Complete 15 to 20 reps for 2 to 3 sets
  • Try it solo! Using a resistance band, stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding band in both hands so that it’s taut when arms are straight out to sides at shoulder level. Keeping arms at shoulder level throughout, bend left elbow to bring left hand in front of chest, palm facing in; extend left arm to return to start. Complete 12 reps. Switch arms and repeat. Complete 3 sets

Partner Push-Up:

Targets shoulders, chest, biceps, and triceps

As with a traditional push-up, your own body weight will work as resistance, but in this case your partner can create more opposition by placing weight on your upper back. If you find this to be too tough, try using a modified knee push-up instead

  • Start by lying with your stomach on the floor, elbows bent at 90 degrees and palms on the floor in a lowered push-up position
  • Have your partner stand over you and place hands on your upper back
  • As you rise up into your push-up, your partner creates slight resistance, being sure to keep his core tight at the same time
  • Complete reps until you feel fatigued, then switch

Push-Up High Five:

Targets shoulders, chest, biceps, and triceps

Want to see your Other grunt through a set of push-ups with you? Use this exercise to work both of you at the same time.

  • Face your partner arms-length apart. Get in push-up position, hands directly under your shoulders, legs extended, abs engaged
  • Do a push-up, bending elbows 90 degrees. Push back up to starting position and give each other a high five, extending arm straight out, rather than up
  • Complete reps until fatigued

Seated Medicine Ball Twist:

Targets arms and abs

This exercise targets your obliques to help you both build a stronger core and back. To avoid lower back pain, start off with a lighter medicine ball and build your way up.

  • Facing each other, sit tall on a mat with your feet touching the floor and a slight bend in the knee. Keep heels firmly planted on the ground
  • Lean back slightly and balance on your tailbone, without rounding your shoulders or back. Hold this position and keep core engaged
  • Pick up a medicine ball and move it right to left, keeping your body still as your arms move back and forth. Your partner should mirror your movements with his hands
  • After a set of 10 twists, toss the ball to your partner, who then rotates the ball right to left for 10 twists before passing it back
  • Repeat this sequence for 3 sets of 10
  • Try it solo! Using a resistance band, Sit on floor with legs extended and together, center of band wrapped around soles of feet, holding one end of band in each hand. Bend knees slightly, keeping heels on floor, and clasp hands to bring both ends of band together. With abs engaged and back flat, lean back 45 degrees and extend arms in front of you at eye level. Keeping lower body still and band taut, slowly rotate torso to right as you bend elbows slightly and lower hands beside right hip. Rotate back to centre with arms extended, then rotate to left to complete one rep. Do 3 sets of 10

Swimming Stretch:

Targets abs, glutes, hamstrings, and lower back

Try this stretch for an exercise to increase stamina and flexibility.

  • Lie on stomach, facing your partner head-to-head with outstretched arms. Your arms should be able to slightly overlap
  • Place hands atop your partner’s and lift your head, chest, arms, and legs to begin
  • Anchor your chest into the floor and slowly paddle arms and legs in a swimming motion, using your partner’s rhythm and pressure to resist yours
  • Keep shoulders away from your ears, continue to paddle for 5 long breaths, reaching and lengthening with each paddle
  • Lower gently and switch hand placement to complete one full set. Complete 3 sets

Crisscross Crunches:

Targets abs

An easier move to do in between more difficult reps, these crunches will give you incentive not to fall behind. Set a number and see if you can match your partner’s pace to complete it.

  • Sit on ground in crunch position, back flat on the floor, knees bent, abs engaged. Hands should be behind your head or crossed in front of your chest
  • Hook legs with partner, with your legs locked in between theirs. Crunch up, keeping abs engaged and hands not pulling on your neck or head if they are behind you
  • Complete 10 reps for 3 sets, or until fatigued
  • Make it harder with bicycle crunches: Lie next to your partner, face up with right arm extended out to side, palm on ground, and left hand behind head. Lift left leg 6 inches off ground and bend right knee 90 degrees so shin is parallel to ground. Bring left shoulder toward right knee. Keeping left leg elevated and right knee bent, lower torso. Do 10 crunches. Lower legs. Switch sides; repeat

Superman Wrestle:

Targets lower back, butt, and hamstrings

Knock all your trouble zones out with this exercise that’ll cinch belly fat, sculpt your legs, and strengthen your lower back all in one shot.

  • Lie face down on ground, facing your partner so that your arms are extended with palms completely touching
  • With palms still touching, lift chest and feet off ground a few inches, squeezing glutes and keeping head up, looking at partner
  • Hold for 30 seconds and gently lower. Complete 3 sets
  • Do it solo: Lie face down on ground with arms by sides, raising them a few inches off ground so that palms are facing forward, thumbs pointing up. Lift chest and feet off ground a few inches, squeezing glutes. In lifted position, use arms to form letters, holding each pose for 3 counts: First bring arms out from hips at 45-degree angle (to form an M); then move out to sides at shoulder level (to form a T); then bend elbows about 90 degrees (to form a W); lastly extend arms diagonally overhead (to form a Y). Reverse movement (forming Y, W, T, M), then lower chest and legs. Complete 3 
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