One-on-one time with your partner is a precious commodity when there’s kids to wrangle, emails to answer and a million other little things demanding your attention. Why not embrace multitasking by combining some quality time with your SO in your next workout?
Partner workouts for couples can be a great way to stay in shape together, have some friendly competition and a bunch of fun along the way. (Unless, of course, you hate working out — though, there’s also the benefit of a built-in cheerleader/emotional support pal who has to be nice to you and cheer you on because they love you.) These buddy exercises are also super easy and can be managed with some of your favorite at-home workout gear or with bodyweight-only exercises — and even if you don’t feel like a superhero by the end, you and your partner can enjoy the post-workout glow (or “ow, why does my lower back hurt?” workout recovery time) together.
Want to break a sweat with your main squeeze? Here’s a few of our favorite couples’/partner exercises for you to try out.
Wheelbarrow squat push-up
Reminiscent of an elementary school gym class move, this one lets you and your partner take turns working your legs and arms. Have one partner get in a push-up position (feel free to use a BOSU ball if you need) while the other stands behind them with legs apart (a little wider than the width of your hips). Hold on to the push-up partners’ ankles and do a squat — put your weight on your heels and get your knees at a 90-degree angle. Once the squatting partner has completed their move, the push-up position partner does a push-up.
Take turns alternating squats and push-ups for a minute — then switch positions and go again!
Take some time to give your legs and core a little love with leg throws. Lay flat on your back with your legs stretched out while your partner stands behind your head and shoulders. Grab their ankles and lift your legs up toward their arms, focusing on the feeling in your core. Have your partner try and push your legs away back to the ground while you work to resist the throw. Hold your feet a bit above the ground and try and lift up to go again.
Do 20 of these and then switch positions.
Exercise Ball Sit-Ups
Time to play catch! Break out your exercise ball for this next activity. Sit facing your partner with your legs slightly bent, heels on the ground and toes and balls of your feet pressed together. Keeping the ball behind your head, reach up and use your core to lift the ball up and over to your partner in a sitting position. Your partner then takes the ball back over their head and repeats the move.
Do 20 of these (or however many you can in a minute) and don’t be afraid to cheer each other on!
This one’s pretty simple but an easy (and cheap) way to get a bit more resistance in your workout — get in a push-up position (good form, folks) and have your partner gently press on your upper back as you begin pushing up out of your 90-degree angle.
Do 10 of these and then switch! (and don’t forget to communicate about how much resistance you need to complete the move).
Bodyweight Chest Press
This one has big acro-yoga vibes (but like easier!) and requires you and your partner trust each other and be willing to get up in one another’s business. Have your partner lay on on their back, feet hip-width apart; plank on top of them, facing the other way with your hands alongside their shins and feet by their shoulders (heights permitting!) When you’re ready, shift your hands to your partner’s shins to use their legs to support the plank (and make sure this feels comfortable for everyone as you move forward!)
From there, your partner can hold your ankles and use your legs as weights, pushing them up toward the ceiling and back down toward their chest. Meanwhile, keep engaging your core to hold the plank position. If you’re feeling particularly strong, try adding a push-up to the mix, coordinating so you’re bending your elbows as they lower your legs back down.
Start out with 15 of these and see how many (with good solid form) you can do in a minute.
See how strong (and sweaty) you and your partner feel after a few of these moves and maybe consider turning gym night into date night on a regular basis.
A version of this story was published February 2020.
Before you go, check out our favorite at-home gym accessories that won’t break the bank: