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Double Strength!

Doing a workout with these partner exercises has a double benefit: It strengthens your muscles and strengthens your relationship with the person you’re working out with.

Plus they’re more fun than regular ol’ solo exercises (especially when you workout outside).

Here are seven of Kim and my favorite partner exercises along with some ways to spice things up if things start getting stale.

Partner Workout Exercises

1. Chariots

How To:

The running partner loops an elastic band or other type of strap around their waist and the supporting partner holds on to the other end. The runner then sprints all out for 8-10 seconds as their partner holds them back. Alternate roles once the person who did the hard work recovers.

Don’t resist too hard. The partner who’s running should be able to cover about 40 meters in the 8-10 second working period.

But hold on tight! Chris’ aunt once accidentally let go of the elastic band while holding Kim back, giving Kim a nasty welt on her butt.

Spice Things Up:

  • Change directions. Try doing it forward, backward, and sideways.
  • Change the running surface. Do chariots on the sand or up a hill.

2. Races

How To:

Pick a point 50 paces away from you and race your partner to it.

To make your race more fair and competitive, have the faster training partner start further back and/or let the slower partner do the countdown.

Spice Things Up:

  • Race forward, backward, and sideways, up hills or to a point and back.
When doing any partner exercises for your workout, squeeze your butt like Chris shows here.

Squeeze Your Butt!

For all of the following partner workout exercises, squeeze your glutes as if you’re holding a pencil between your butt cheeks. This will force your body to stay in a solid and straight position.

3. Partner Pull-Ups

How To:

As the working partner does a pull-up or chin-up, the other provides support or resistance by holding their legs just below the knees.

Try to give a level of resistance or support that enables your partner to do 5 to 8 reps.

Spice Things Up:

  • Try different grips: wide, narrow, hands facing in, hands facing out, etc. Really strong people can even try supported one-arm pull-ups.
  • Couples can try holding the bar at the same time facing each other, with the weaker partner wrapping their legs around the other, then pulling up simultaneously

4. Partner Rows

How To:

The rower hangs from a bar and the supporting partner grabs the rower’s legs and holds them so that the rower’s body is roughly parallel to the ground. The rower then pulls up, trying to squeeze their shoulder blades together and touch their chest to the bar, then lowers down in a controlled movement.

Spice Things Up:

  • Hold only one of the rower’s legs at a time for extra difficulty and a bit of an extra ab workout.
  • Do both overhand and underhand grips, and even one-handed grips once you’re strong enough.
  • For a more complex and challenging movement, let go of the rower’s legs after each row so they go back to a vertical hanging position, then have the rower use their core and lats to lift their feet in front of them and back into your grip and a horizontal position to do another row.

5. Wheelbarrows

How To:

The working partner starts in a push-up position, then the supporting partner grabs their ankles and holds them at waist-level. Walk together approximately 15 meters.

Spice Things Up:

  • Try going backward, going faster, or going up or down a slope.
  • For extra difficulty hold only one leg at a time.
  • Do push-ups, or clapping push-ups, in the same position.

6. Partner Push-Ups

How To:

A regular push-up, but with the partner providing resistance with part or all of their body weight. The resisting partner should put most of their weight onto the working partner’s shoulders.

Spice Things Up:

  • An easier alternative is to have the supporting partner lie flat on their back as the working partner stands facing them, grabs their hands, moves their feet back to get into an inclined position, and does a push-up.
  • Vary the width of your hands when doing the push-ups. Narrow hands work the triceps more and wider hands focuses more on the chest.

7. Headstands

How To:

There are two headstand positions. Most find it easiest to balance on their head and two hands by making an equilateral triangle between the three points, with their elbows bent 90 degrees. The other position is to cup the back of your head with both your hands and balance on the top of your head and your forearms.

In either position, the supporting partner stands behind the working partner to save them from falling over flat onto their back and grab their legs for balance support as needed.

Spice Things Up:

  • Once balancing becomes easy, try tucking into a ball or a pike position and straightening back out again. See if you can tap the ground with your toes and bring them back up into a vertical headstand position again
  • Work on any of the above in a handstand instead of headstand.

More Partner Exercise Ideas

RedefiningStrength.com shares some more creative and intense partner exercises to try and the video below has a few for couples.

Give them a try, then invent your own.

How to Plan a Workout

Pick any 5 of these partner exercises and do 3 to 5 sets of each to make a full workout. Or just pick one or two and do a few other non-partner exercises too.

Whatever exercises you choose, give yourselves ample time to rest between each set. People are often too eager and don’t let their muscles fully recover. This reduces the strength training benefits. Consider your rest between sets to be the part of the workout where you’re strengthening your relationship with your partner.

How to Keep Spicing Things Up

Doing workouts with partner exercises is one of many ways you can mix up your routine to make getting more fit more fun.

Check out our archive of unconventional exercises and workout ideas and ditch the gym to work out outside.

And to spice up other areas of your life too, sign up for our monthly newsletter that gives you one new unconventional idea a month:

Say Goodbye to the Status Quo

Push this button if you want to live outside the box:

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