Strength Training for Two

Studio 5 Health and Fitness Contributor Melanie Douglass shares her top picks for partner exercises.

Here are 6 great partner exercises. You can perform 2 – 3 sets of 12 – 20 reps of each exercise, or try doing them in 1-minute intervals, with a 30-second rest break in between.

Squat to row
*works back, abs and legs
Face your partner and stand 3-4 feet apart. Fold your resistance band in half and hold the 2 black handles in your right hand. Then give your partner the other end (the folded mid-point) — your partner should hold this end with his/her left hand. Next, turn your palms inward and straighten your arms in front. Then lower down to a squat (don’t go lower than a 90-degree bend at the knee) as you pull your elbows back into a row. Bring your wrists right next to your rib cage. Then slowly stand back up.

Leg Criss-Cross
*works inner and outer thigh
Have your partner stand on your left side, both of you facing front, with shoulders touching and your feet shoulder width apart. Have your partner step on the middle of your band with their right foot, then put both black handles in your left hand. Your partner will do the same (you step on the band with your left leg, they hold the band with their right hand). Then, slow, controlled, and coordinated, both of you take a big step away from each other. Squat down and then step back together.

Lateral Raise
*works shoulders
Stay in the leg criss-cross position. Let your inside arm (arm closest to your partner) hold one handle and rest on your hip. Then, with the outside handle in your outside hand, raise your arm straight up to the side. Have a slight bend in your elbow and raise to shoulder level, then bring it down to cross in front of your belly button.

Medicine Ball Pass
*works abs and obliques
Kneel down on the floor, back to back. Scoot back until your toes are in line with your partner’s knees. Line up, from your knees to your head. Keep your back straight and your abs tight. Hold the ball at chest level and rotate to your right and pass the ball to your partner. Then lean left and receive the ball from your partner, in a continuous clockwise motion.

Medicine Ball Toss with Lunge
*works total body, especially chest and legs
Face your partner and stand 5 – 8 feet apart. Hold the ball at chest level and keep your back straight and abs tight. Lunge forward and push your weight through your front heel (don’t let your knee jet past your toes), as you do so, pass the ball to your partner. As your partner catches the ball they need to step back into a reverse lunge, pushing their weight through their front heel as well. Toss back and forth with a lunge forward as you toss and a lunge back as you receive.

V-crunch with Medicine Ball
*works abdominals and core
Sit on the floor facing each other. Bend your knees and touch toes with your partner. Lean back to form a “v” shape with your body. Contract your abs and keep your back straight and shoulders pulled down and back. Hold the ball at chest level, then, lift slightly (6-12″) and toss the ball to your partner — they should catch the ball as they start to lean back into the start position. Toss as you lift and receive as you lower.

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