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10 partner exercises that make sweating your butt off a little more fun

There’s nothing like a killer partner workout to heat up your relationship. The sweating, the heavy breathing and the complete reliance on your partner to help you make it through each tough move promote a level of bonding you’re unlikely to find outside the bedroom.

And because I, quite literally, just wrote the book on partner workouts, I’m going to loop you in on a few of my favorite next-level moves that are practically guaranteed to help keep your fire burning — at the gym and in your love life. Consider this your sneak peek.

1. Bear crawl down dog

Bear crawl partner exercise
Image: Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

A little active stretching combined with a cardio-friendly bear crawl makes for the perfect warmup exercise. Just make sure you have some room to travel. You’ll be moving forward, switching roles with your lover throughout the exercise.

  1. Start in a plank position, balanced on your palms and the balls of your feet. Your partner will start perpendicular to your body on his hands and knees.
  2. Press your hips up toward the ceiling, extending your arms and pushing through your palms until you form an inverted V with your body, entering downward dog. Your partner lifts his knees from the floor, balancing on the balls of his feet and palms.
  3. As you maintain your downward dog, your partner bear crawls under your body, bending his elbows and hips as needed to fit under your hips.
  4. When your partner crawls all the way under, he turns 90 degrees and forms his own plank as you lower to plank and turn 90 degrees to face his hips.
  5. Continue the exercise, this time, bear crawling under your partner’s downward dog.
Continue crawling forward until you run out of space, then turn around and go back the way you came. Continue for one to two minutes.

2. Squat and pushup

Squat partner exercise
Image: Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

Grab a BOSU ball or other balance tool for this challenging total-body strength move. One partner fires up her core, glutes, quads and hamstrings while the other partner targets her core, chest, shoulders and triceps. Each of you performs 10 repetitions before switching positions. Aim for three sets of each half of the exercise.

  1. Start in a plank position, your hands grasping the edges of a BOSU ball with the flat side facing up. Your partner will squat down between your legs.
  2. When your partner is in the squat position, lift one leg off the ground so your partner can grasp your ankle before placing it across her same-side shoulder. Once your foot is secure, tighten your core to maintain a straight line from heels to head, and lift the opposite leg off the ground so your partner can secure it over her other shoulder.
  3. Your partner now stands up, lifting your legs toward the ceiling as she does. Maintain a straight, tight core. This is the starting position.
  4. As a unit, your partner squats, pressing her hips back and keeping her weight in her heels as she lowers her hips toward the ground. You simultaneously bend your elbows, lowering your chest toward the BOSU to perform a pushup.
  5. When both of you reach the bottom of your respective squat or pushup, reverse the movement, and return to the starting position.

3. Plank and hop over

Plank partner exercise
Image: Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

This fun exercise offers one partner a burst of heart-pumping cardio while the other partner holds a steady plank, working his core.

  1. Position yourself to the left of your partner’s left shoulder, your feet pointing forward toward his head. Your partner starts in a high plank position balanced on the palms and balls of his feet, core tight.
  2. Bend down, and place your palms lightly in between your partner’s shoulder blades. Bend your hips and knees, and engage your core, preparing to jump.
  3. Powerfully spring up and laterally over your partner’s back, keeping your palms on his shoulders for support. Land softly on the opposite side with your knees and hips slightly bent. Immediately jump back up and laterally the way you came, returning to the starting position.
  4. Continue jumping back and forth over your partner’s torso for 30 to 60 seconds. Switch roles with your partner, and continue.

4. Toasted split squat

Split squat partner exercise
Image: Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

You’ll completely toast your lower body with this challenging partner exercise. One of you will hold a wall squat while the other brings the heat by performing single-leg Bulgarian split squats. The partner performing the split squats is in charge, performing six to 12 repetitions per leg before switching roles.

  1. Your partner starts in a wall squat, her back pressed against a wall, knees and hips bent at a 90-degree angle, feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Stand perpendicular to your partner on one side of her body, facing away. Lift one leg, bending your knee and raising your foot behind you to place your ankle across your partner’s same-side thigh.
  3. From this position, keep your weight in your supporting heel, and squat down, bending both knees as you reach toward the ground. At the bottom of the squat, press through your supporting foot, and spring into the air, extending your body as you jump. Land softly, knee, ankle and hip slightly bent.
  4. Continue immediately to the next split squat. When you perform six to 12 reps on one leg, move to the other side of your partner’s body and switch legs, performing the same number of reps to the opposite side. When you’ve finished your reps, switch roles with your partner.

More: 5-minute partner workout for a full-body burn

5. Plank and row

Plank and row partner exercise
Image: Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

After killing your lower body, you’ll appreciate the slightly more relaxed plank and row exercise. Grab a dumbbell to complete the movement.

  1. Start in a plank on the floor with your palms under your shoulders, feet extended, forming a straight line from heels to head. You’ll maintain this position for the entire movement.
  2. Your partner will stand to the right side of your body with a dumbbell in his right hand and his toes pointing forward toward your shoulders.
  3. He’ll bend forward from the hips, placing his left hand just under your right shoulder for support. From this position, he’ll lunge his left leg backward to more effectively use your body as a weight bench. The dumbbell is hanging under his right shoulder, right arm extended fully.
  4. As you maintain your plank, your partner uses you for support as he rows the dumbbell toward his chest by bending his right elbow and squeezing his shoulder blades together.
  5. He reverses the movement and extends his right arm before performing another row.
After performing 10 to 15 repetitions on one side, your partner will switch to your other side to row with his opposite arm. After completing the same number of repetitions to each side, you’ll switch roles.

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