Working out with your partner isn't always easy, especially if you're at different levels of fitness or what you want to focus on isn't the same. These are both reasons why I don't usually work out with my boyfriend, but this weekend we gave a bodyweight couples workout a try and it was really successful!
Image from Austin Raye.
This isn't the first time my boyfriend and I have tried working out together, and to be honest, I'm nowhere as in shape as he is, which is part of the problem. The couple workout we did took exercising together to another level since it focused on using each other's body weight rather than equipment or only your body weight. Here's why doing a couple workout was more successful than just working out together.
- We had a shared goal. Since each exercise relies on you and your partner to work together to execute them, we had a shared goal, like me not kicking my boyfriend in the face and him not getting kicked in the face by me. These exercises are also tougher than I was expecting because they require you to use balance and stabiliser muscles that you don't frequently use in other workouts.
- Each exercise is customisable. Since my boyfriend and I are at two different fitness levels, being able to adjust the exercises (like reps or positioning) was key to making this a solid workout for both of us.
- It was challenging... and fun. I'm no fitness model so this workout was tough, but great, for me. Unlike the couple in the video above, we aren't a strongman and trapeze artist who escaped from a 1930's circus, so some of the exercises were challenging just because we had to figure out how to make them work for our fitness levels and being closer in size than a lot of the couples in videos we used for reference. I fell over on my boyfriend a lot, and he was a good sport and laughed with me.
You don't have to have a romantic partner to give these workouts a try, but you should be OK with the possibility that you might fall on your partner or be in semi-awkward positions. The exercises we tried included:
- Squat and push-up: One person gets in a push-up position and the other holds the first person's ankles. As the first person goes down in their push-up, the second person does a squat. For a more difficult version, the second person can also hold the squat and keep the first person's legs higher.
- Throwdown and squat: One person lays down and the other person goes into a squat position. The first person raises their legs and the second person pushes them down. To also work your obliques, the second person can push the first person's legs to the sides as well as straight downwards.
- Bodyweight leg press: One person lays down and puts their legs at about a 90 degree angle. The second person rests their chest or shoulders on the first person's feet and the first person does a leg press. I did this one using my boyfriend's bodyweight, but he didn't do this exercise since I weigh much less than him, and it wouldn't have been a good workout. You can modify this so the second person rests their hands on the first person's feet and does a push-up at the top of leg press (as shown in the linked video).
- Duo push-up: The heavier partner lies down and extends their arms with palms facing upward. The other person stands, puts their hands on top of the first person's and moves their feet back so their body is at an angle. Then they do the downward part of a push-up. Once they're at the bottom of their push-up, the first person lowers their arms so the two of you are several centimetres apart. The first person then pushes up and the standing person pushes up to the starting position.
There are a ton of couple workouts online, so you if the above ones aren't something you want to try, or you want to go for something more difficult, you have options.