When the alarm goes off at 6 a.m., getting out of bed and heading to the gym may seem like an impossible task. Good news: Recent studies have found that exercising with a partner boosts motivation, and it’s more fun than going it alone.
Ivy Ingram Larson, the trainer and star of the “Full Fitness Fusion” DVD, created this partner workout. Larson suggests moving quickly between exercises in order to keep your heart rate elevated. Repeat the circuit three times.
Medicine ball toss
Face your partner while standing 6 feet apart. From a standing position, toss a weighted medicine ball (4 pounds is good for beginners) to your partner, who will catch it while moving into a squat, thighs parallel to the floor. Your partner should toss the ball back to you while rising into a standing position. Each partner should throw and catch the ball 20 times.
Single-leg bridge with foot press
Lie on the floor on your back in a straight line, with knees bent, so that your feet touch your partner’s (see photo at top). With the sole of your right foot touching the sole of your partner’s left foot, lift your feet about 2 feet off the floor. Keep your left leg (and your partner’s right leg) bent and push your body off the floor into a bridge position. Your left thigh, abs and chest should form a straight line with your lower back, and your glutes should be off the floor. Keep your right leg engaged by actively pressing into your partner’s left foot as you raise and lower your body from bridge position to floor position 10 times, holding the bridge position for three seconds with each repetition. Then switch feet and work the other side 10 times.
Airplanes holding hands
Stand at your partner’s side with both hands outstretched to your sides. You should be far enough away from your partner that only your hands are touching. Hold one of your partner’s hands while you both face forward, looking in the same direction. Both of you should lean forward at the same time while raising your innermost legs up and back. Stretch the leg up and back until your chest, abdomen and innermost legs are parallel to the floor. Hold this position for three seconds before returning to an upright position. Repeat 10 times before turning to face the other way to exercise your other leg.
Arm resistance shoulder toning
Facing your partner, stand arm’s length apart. Raise your arms to shoulder level in front of your body at about 45 degrees. Your hands should face the floor. Start by having your partner push your arms down by placing pressure on the back of your hands and wrists. Actively resist your partner’s efforts so that it takes about three seconds for your arms to be down at your waist level, and then start raising your arms against your partner’s continued pressure for three more seconds until you are back at shoulder level. Repeat this 10 times before switching positions and letting your partner do 10 repetitions.
Face each other with your arms fully extended in front of you, holding hands with your partner. Both should be standing on tiptoes and holding that position for three seconds. Next, both should drop into a chair position by bending your knees, squatting down and pushing your behind backward until your thighs are parallel to the floor. While doing this, you should still be on your tiptoes holding hands. Hold the chair position for three seconds before lifting back up to the starting position on your toes. Repeat 10 times.
Couple’s hamstring and biceps curls
Lie on the floor face down. Your partner should kneel on the floor on a mat, rug or towel, just behind your feet and grasp the back of your ankles as you raise your feet toward your back while keeping your knees on the ground. Stop the motion once your lower legs are perpendicular to the floor. Your partner should actively resist this movement. It should take about three seconds for your feet to travel from the floor to the upright position. Once at the top, your partner will start to actively pull your ankles and feet back down to the floor as you resist the effort for three more seconds. Your partner should remain kneeling on the floor so biceps and arms are working. Repeat 10 times, then switch.
Face your partner and extend your arms toward each other so you are holding hands. Lift your right foot while your partner lifts his left foot until both of your thighs are parallel to the floor and your toes are touching each other’s. Squat with the other leg, trying to get as low as possible. Stay in the low squat for three seconds before lifting back to upright position. Keep your toes touching each other’s and continue holding hands the entire time. Do 10 repetitions per leg.