Is your favorite way to combat stress recruiting your best friend to meet you for a double latte and scone as a prelude to an afternoon of shopping? Though an effective way to boost your spirits, it probably isn't doing your thighs or wallet any favors. Friendly social interaction is certainly needed for mental health, but it can also be a boon for your physical fitness when you spend time sweating together instead of sipping coffee and nibbling a dessert. Fitness professional Sabrena Merrill, MS, shares the benefits of working out with a buddy and a few partner exercises to get you started.

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Mid-row with Tubing

Rowing with an exercise band or tube strengthens the back and shoulders. The beginning level for this exercise is to be seated while rowing the band (as illustrated). A more advanced version is to perform the rowing movement while in a squat position.

Start position: With each of you holding an exercise band or tube, you and your partner sit with your legs straight in front of you, facing a low horizontal bar or a vertical bar, with tubing wrapped around the bar at chest level. Hold one handle of the band in each hand (palms facing inward) and arms fully extended, shoulders pulled back (the band should be somewhat tight).

Movement: You and your partner will perform the following sequence in synchronization. Exhale and slowly pull tubing towards you, driving your elbows straight back and squeezing your shoulder blades down and together. Think about pulling with your elbows as you bring the handles towards your body. Inhale and gently extend your elbows back to the starting position. Complete 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions with your partner.

Mid-row with Tubing

Next page: Lunge with chest pass

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