If exercising solo just isn’t cutting it, recruit your favorite gym rat and try this killer total-body partner workout. Not only will it work your legs, glutes, upper body, and core, but it’ll really get you moving and help increase your heart rate. The goal is not to hit a certain number of reps, but to go at your own pace and push through the 30-second time frames. Enlisting a buddy to sweat it out with you will motivate you through the workout so that you don’t give up!
In the video above, fitness influencer and trainer Anna Victoria and Health’s senior fitness editor Roz demonstrate nine partner exercises—from high knees to planks to bicep curls—that will have you and your gym bestie really feeling the burn together.
In the first exercise, one person does squats while the other person does burpees for 30 seconds. You’ll then switch, and do 30 seconds of the other exercise.
Squats: Make sure you’re squatting back like you’re sitting in a chair, pushing your knees out and keeping your chest up. Holding the dumbbells at chest-level helps you to keep your back straight, however you can modify this move by holding the dumbbells down at your sides.
Burpees: Don’t want to do the jump during the burpee? Rise up on your tippy-toes instead. If you need to modify your burpees, step back one leg at a time and then bring your feet back up one at a time. If you’d like to make the burpees more difficult, do a push-up when you’re on the ground.
Next, one person does a dumbbell row and bicep curl while the other person does squat jumps for 30 seconds. You’ll then switch, and do 30 seconds of the other exercise.
Dumbbell row, bicep curl: When you do these, bend over so that you’re almost parallel, keep your chest up, and squeeze your shoulder blades as you bring the dumbbells up to your torso. Tip: Your back should not be rounded!
Squat jumps: This is similar to regular squats, however, after pausing at the bottom of the squat, you’ll then jump upward. At the top, try to point your toes and squeeze your quads.
In the third move, one person does high knees while the other person does a step back lunge for 30 seconds. You’ll then switch, and do 30 seconds of the other exercise.
High knees: Keep your chest up, use your core, and try to bring your knees up as high as you can, grazing your partner's hands. If you can’t get your knees up that high, substitute butt kicks (a.k.a. running in place).
Step back lunge: Alternate your legs in step back lunges, and hold your arms out straight in front of you, so that your partner just barely hits your hands while doing their high knees. You should feel the burn in your quads and your core for this one.
The final partner exercise requires one person to hold a plank for 30 seconds, while the other person does a squat jump. Switch, and do 30 seconds of the other move.
Plank: Begin with a more difficult plank and then move to an easier version, like on your knees or up in a high plank. As tough as planking can be, don’t forget to breathe through it. Be sure your booty is not raised too high or dipping down- it should be in a straight line with your back.
Squat jump: After doing a squat on one side of your partner, you’ll jump or step across your partner who is planking and do another squat on the other side of your partner. Continue this for 30 seconds.
Ready for a bonus round? We know you can handle it (wink).
Partner squat: Criss cross your hands with your partner, squat back, and hold for 30 seconds. Be sure you’re leaning back far enough like your sitting back in a chair, keep your chest up and your core tight. Chat it through with your partner! Trust us, it’ll help distract you both from the burn!