When you’re lacking motivation, a workout buddy can be just the thing to help you break through plateaus. Not only do you have a built-in spotter—and someone to stop you from repeatedly hitting the snooze button at 6 a.m.—but you also have an extra motivator; that person who cheers you on, encourages you to push out one more rep, or makes sure you stick to that 90-second rest time between sets. Next time you feel your workout motivation waning, grab a buddy and integrate some of these must-try partner exercises into your lifting schedule.
Med-Ball Russian Twists
A strong core isn’t only a beach-day bonus, it’s important for a strong, balanced physique. Twist your way to sleek obliques with med-ball Russian twists. The constant twisting motion involved in passing the ball back-and-forth at waist level will improve your core stability and rotational strength.
- Sit with your back to your partner. Allow for about a mats distance—or a few feet—between you both.
- Balancing on your glutes, lean back. Have your partner do the same. One person should hold the ball.
- The partner with the ball will rotate their upper body and arms, reaching around so they can hand the other person the ball. Once the second person has the ball, the first partner should twist to the opposite direction, bringing their hands across their body as they anticipate being handed the ball.
- Continue the medicine ball twist for reps.
Test your balance and strengthen your core with this partner exercise. Not only will you work on conditioning your core, you’ll also hit your glutes and hamstrings, build your balance, and even perfect your posture since planks engage your neck, shoulders, chest, and back.
- Face your partner and both get in a plank position with your elbows under your shoulders, your palms flat, and your toes tucked.
- Pull your stomach in while keeping your butt down—and in line with your spine. To keep your back flat, think about pulling your elbows towards your toes.
- Keep your core tight as you reach forward with one hand, having your right hand touch your partners right hand or vice versa. Then switch arms. That’s one rep.
- If needed, lower your bodies back to the ground and reset between reps.
Resistance Band Chest Press
No gym, no problem. One of the benefits of having a workout partner is being able to make the most of all equipment—bands included. While resistance bands work great for solo training too—and can be very effective for targeting shoulders with the overhead press or abductors with a high-resistance banded shuffle—they’re extra effective when training with a partner. Having the ability for someone to hold part of the band for you opens up many more options. Ditch the machines and fight against the well-intended resistance of a partner who’s got your back with the resistance band chest press.
- Grab the resistance band, placing one handle in each hand and allowing the band itself to fall behind you.
- Allow your partner to hold the back of the resistance band, anchoring it in place.
- Raise both hands to your sides with elbows bent at 90 degrees and biceps and forearms parallel to the ground.
- As the “anchor partner” holds the band steady, you should push forward until both arms are fully extended. Then bend at the elbow and return to the starting position. Repeat for reps before switching partners.
>> Read more: Zone by Zone Resistance Band Exercise
This exercise might sound a bit more aggressive than it is, but don’t let the name scare you away from a great core and lower-body workout. This movement will engage your abs and require you to fight resistance and demonstrate real control over your lower body.
- Lie with your back on the ground and have your partner stand directly behind your head.
- Grab your partner’s ankles and raise your legs up straight, keeping them close together.
- Allow your standing partner to grab your feet and throw your legs down towards the ground. Have them mix things up for an unexpected challenge—directing your legs to the left, right, or straight down in front of you.
- As your legs are being thrown, try to stay in control and counter the resistance of the push. Fight to keep your heels off the ground and engage your abs to decelerate the throw. After completing the desired number of reps, switch roles.
Partner Clap Push-Ups
Take core stabilization to a new level with this exercise that forces you to not only engage your shoulders, core and chest, but also throws in the challenge of a partner-coordinated push-up.
- Begin by facing each other in a plank position, orienting so there’s about a two-foot distance between you and your partner.
- With your belly button drawn in to your spine, your pelvis tucked, core engaged, and hands shoulder-width apart, lower into a push-up at the same time as your partner. Your elbows should be driving back (as opposed to flared out).
- At the top of the push-up, give each other a high five with your right hands. Descend, come up, and then clap with your left. Repeat for reps.
If you usually hit the gym solo, check out a few of our favorite reasons why a workout buddy leads to better results!