Exercising with a partner is a great way to help you be consistent with your workouts, while enjoying companionship at the same time. Knowing that someone is counting on you for a scheduled sweat session, you’re less likely to back out and let him/her down. Ideally, the same holds true for your partner, who will keep you accountable by providing motivation and support.
Although some of us like to plug in our earbuds and tune out when exercising, there is some value to incorporating partner workouts periodically. In addition to increased exercise adherence, partners can encourage and challenge each other to work harder and get results. And for busy people, partner workouts with friends facilitate multi-tasking by catching up while you get your heart pumping.
Virtually any physical activity you can do together constitutes a partner workout. Read on for a variety of recommendations, whether you belong to a gym, work out at home or exercise outside. Then pick your favorites, or mix and match to keep things interesting.
- Cardio machines – If you and your partner belong to the same health club, hop on adjoining treadmills, ellipticals, cross-trainers, stationary bikes or rowers and get after it. This way, you can either exercise at your own pace, with your personal resistance level and program, or you can choose the same routine and take on the challenges together. Try steady state workouts or interval routines, where you increase the intensity for 30-120 seconds and then lower it for another 2-4 minutes. Intervals blast calories and boost metabolism, and are easier to do with someone pushing themselves alongside you.
- Outside — Walking, jogging or running through the neighborhood or on a track is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and keep each other going. The same goes for cycling, inline skating or cross-country skiing. You do have to maintain the same pace, however, or agree to alternate paces if necessary to accommodate differences in ability levels. But it’s easier to log miles when you have a friend sharing the load and conversation.
- Group exercise class – Etiquette generally discourages chatting during group exercise classes, but these are a fun shared experience, and you can visit with your partner before and after class. There’s nothing like conquering a boot camp, striking a yoga pose or busting some serious moves in Zumba together!
- Strength training – Again, if you and your partner can access a variety of strength training machines and free weights at the health club, work in tandem, with one lifting while the other rests, or you both doing the same exercises side-by-side with dumbbells, barbells or resistance bands. Alternatively, if you have some strength accessories at home, work together there or follow a workout video or online session.
- Calisthenics – There are lots of routines online that have you and a workout buddy doing exercises with body weight or accessories such as medicine balls and resistance bands. These include partner squats, push-ups with alternating high fives, forward and lateral lunges and medicine ball rotational twists and sit-ups, among others.
- Circuit training – Again, check out routines online that describe circuits for two-person workouts. For instance, one person can jump rope or do jumping jacks while the other performs squats for one minute. Then the partners switch exercises. This continues as one person does cardio and the other completes a variety of strength exercises.
Personal training – Hiring a trainer with your workout buddy saves each of you money, and the trainer designs the routine and supervises your form and progress. All you two do is show up and sweat!