Laura Williams, M.S.Ed. is a personal trainer, freelance writer and entrepreneur who works with a wide variety of fitness clients. She's the founder of the popular website, - Girls Gone Sporty, and she's the host of the High Impact Blogg...
How to use your exercise partner's body weight to intensify your workout
Almost everything is better when you do it with friends — and your workout is no different. Exercising with a buddy is a great way to stay accountable to your sweat sesh while bonding with your BFF.
The great thing about this body weight partner workout is that it requires absolutely no equipment — it can be done any time, anywhere, and is guaranteed to deliver a healthy dose of laughter while you work. Complete the full workout three times through for a heart-pumping, muscle-building circuit.
1.Squat and push-up
Assume a full push-up position on the ground, your arms extended and core tight. Your partner should stand behind you, legs slightly wider than hip-distance apart. Your partner bends down and grasps your ankles, lifting your feet off the ground as she returns to standing, holding your feet together at hip height.
As your partner continues holding your feet, she starts doing a squat by pressing her hips back, her weight in her heels, as she lowers her butt toward the ground. When her knees form a 90-degree angle, she presses back to standing. You remain in a push-up position throughout this portion of the exercise — your core engaged and your arms extended.
Once your partner is standing, perform a push-up by bending your elbows and lowering your chest toward the ground. Return to the full push-up position.
Continue performing the exercise for one minute, then switch roles and repeat.
2. Assisted pistol squat
Both partners stand facing each other, a few feet apart.
Reaching cross-body, grasp your partner's right forearm with your right hand. Shift your weight to your right foot and extend your left foot. Your partner should do the same.
Using each other as support, you both begin performing a one-legged pistol squat. Keep your left leg extended in front of you and press your hips back, bending your right knee as you lower yourself toward the ground while keeping your chest lifted.
When both of you reach a "sticking" point, reverse the movement and press back to start.
Continue performing the exercise for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Start in a full push-up position on the ground, your arms extended, your palms planted beneath your shoulders. Your partner should stand to the side of you before placing her palms lightly on your upper back.
Bend your elbows and lower yourself toward the ground. When your elbows form a 90-degree angle, begin reversing the movement to press back to start.
As you start pressing yourself back up again, your partner presses lightly down on your upper back, adding resistance to the push-up. The goal isn't to keep you from pressing back up, but to make the exercise harder.
Perform eight repetitions, then switch.
Note: This can be done from a modified push-up position — on the knees — as well.
4. Plank and bridge
Your partner should assume a full plank position, palms planted beneath her shoulders, core tight and her body forming a straight line from head to heels.
Lie on your back, perpendicular to your partner and lift your legs, placing them fully extended so your calves are across your partner's back.
Your partner maintains her full plank position as you engage your core, glutes and hamstrings to lift your hips off the ground until your body forms a straight line from heels to shoulders.
Lower your hips back toward the ground and continue lifting and lowering.
Continue the exercise for 60 seconds before switching positions.
Note: If 60 seconds straight is too difficult, perform each exercise for 30 seconds, switch positions, then perform both exercises a second time through.
Lean against a wall, your back flat, your feet positioned about a foot in front of the wall, hip-distance apart. Bend your knees and slide your back down the wall, engaging your glutes, quads, hamstrings and core until your knees form a 90-degree angle. Hold this position.
Your partner should stand in front of you, facing away from you, before she squats down so her hips are just in front of your knees.
From here, your partner places her hands on your thighs, just above your knees, using them for support. She steps her feet out in front of her so her legs are fully extended, heels on the ground.
As you hold the wall squat, your partner bends her elbows and lowers her hips toward the ground. When her elbows form a 90-degree angle, she presses herself back to start by extending her elbows.
Continue for 60 seconds before switching positions.
Note: If you or your partner finds the dips too challenging with your legs fully extended, you can perform a modified version with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. The exercise is otherwise performed as described.
6. Power leg lift
Lie on your back on the ground with your legs fully extended.
Have your partner stand just behind your shoulders so you can grip her ankles.
Lift your legs straight up into the air, pressing your low back into the ground and engaging your core.
Keeping her core tight, your partner bends forward (almost as if doing a deadlift) and pushes your legs away from her, "throwing" them toward the ground as she returns to standing.
As your partner "throws" your legs down, engage your core and resist the throw, allowing your legs to lower toward the ground, but remaining in control of the movement so your heels never touch down.
Let your feet "hang" above the ground for a moment before you engage your core and lift your legs back into the air again.
Perform 15 repetitions before switch positions.
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Note: Communicate with your partner about how hard she should press your feet away from you. If you're having a hard time maintaining control, ask her to ease up. If you're doing the exercise without a problem, ask her to push harder.