Sometimes we all need a little kick in the butt to head to the gym. That’s where a workout partner comes in. Studies have shown that exercising with someone else can provide better results after a few sweaty sessions and can serve as a motivator to stay in shape.
Even “virtual” workout partners—think health videogames via Wii Fit or Playstation—have been on the rise, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Spot and Exercise Psychology. Workout partners in general can increase motivation, while virtual partners can remove the social anxiety some feel when working out in public.
With this workout created by personal trainer Elizabeth Brooks of Effervescence, you can get the best of both worlds. Grab a friend and follow Brooks along with her client Lexi Schultz as they do six exercises together.
“You can do this with your boyfriend, husband, girlfriend, or mom,” Brooks says. It’s a great way to really challenge yourself in a workout and to mix it up so your workouts won’t be stagnant and stale.”
Warm-Up Play shoulder-tag with your workout partner. Stand in a slight squat or “football stance” and try to slap your partner’s shoulders without getting hit yourself. Play this game until you both feel an increased heart rate.
Exercise 1: Wall Sits and Dips Muscles Worked: Quads, core, gluts, and triceps Reps: One set of 30 seconds One person squats against a wall. The other partner does tricep dips, using the partner’s knees as support. Do this for 30 seconds and switch.
Exercise 2: Partner Push-Ups Muscles Worked: Arms and core Reps: One set of 10 to 12 One partner gets in the push-up position while the other holds his or her feet elevated. Do a set of push-ups and switch. The partner holding the feet should stabilize his or her own arms to restrict any unwanted movement during the push-ups.
Exercise 3: Bosu Ball Toss Muscles Worked: Core and arms Reps: One set of 15 to 20 One partner sits on a Bosu ball. The other partner stands about six feet away. He should throw a light medicine ball to the other so that it lands a little above his or her head. The partner should catch the ball, do a sit up, and throw the ball back.
Exercise 4: Bosu Shoulder Lift Muscles Worked: Shoulders, legs, and core Reps: One set of 10 to 12 One partner stands on a Bosu ball. The other stands with his or her back to partner. As he raises his arms to the side, the partner on the Bosu ball should provide resistance by pushing down on the partner’s arms.
Exercise 5: Partner Squats Muscles Worked: Quads and gluts Reps: One set of 30 seconds Stand back to back and lower into a squat position. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
Exercise 6: Partner Chin-Ups Muscles Worked: Core, arms, and legs Reps: One set of 10 to 12 One partner lies on a mat with knees bent. The other stands over and holds his arms at a 90-degree angle. The partner on the floor grips the other’s wrists as he pulls up. The standing partner must maintain a sturdy stance during the exercise.