Looking at your schedule and wondering how you’re going to fit in work, family obligations, quality time with your partner, and a challenging workout? We can’t do much about dentist appointments and the sales report that’s due on Monday, but we do have a plan for a spicy partner workout that checks off both the “fitness” and “bonding” boxes on your to-do list.
This high-intensity, full-body workout requires enough space for running (a track or 200-meter stretch of sidewalk will do) and a medicine ball that both of you can carry and lift for multiple reps. Each move requires teamwork and communication, so you’ll need to stay present and work with your partner to execute each exercise successfully. But remember: It’s still a date! Feel free to laugh, show off, act a little silly, and even sneak in a kiss or two.
Medicine Ball Sit-Ups
Face each other in a seated position with the soles of your feet pressed together. (Each partner should be creating a diamond shape with their legs.) Holding the medicine ball with both hands, bring it up and over your head as you lower your back to the ground, then sit up. Your partner should also perform a sit-up at the same time, sans medicine ball. As you both sit up, pass the medicine ball to your partner. Repeat the synchronized movement, this time with your partner performing the weighted sit up. Continue for a predetermined number of reps or time (e.g. 20 reps or 60 seconds), passing the ball back and forth as you sit up.
Plank High Fives
Begin facing each other in a plank position. (Start with a couple feet of space between you and adjust as necessary.) Balance your weight on your hands and toes, engaging your core and maintaining a flat back. In unison with your partner, lift your right hand up and across your body to slap your partner’s hand. Return to the plank position and repeat on the left side. Don’t allow your hips to sag, pike, or swish side-to-side. Challenge yourself and your partner by seeing how many high fives you can get in one minute without sacrificing form.
The goal is to execute every part of each burpee in synch with your partner, so you may need to take turns giving each other verbal cues. Start by standing next to each other with your feet shoulder-width apart. Drop to the floor, touching your chest to the ground, and lift up into a push-up position. Jump or step both feet forward to meet your hands, and spring upward, clapping your hands overhead. Repeat for reps or time. Want to increase the level of difficulty? Try jumping up onto a barbell plate.
Medicine Ball Partner Run
Pick a distance that both you and your partner can run at 75–95% of your maximum capacity — 400 meters is a good option for most people. Have one partner begin the run with medicine ball in tow, handing it off to the other partner at an agreed upon marker (e.g. every 100 meters) or when they get tired. Continue to pass the medicine ball back and forth for the duration of the run. Once you finish, rest for two minutes and go again. Try to beat your previous time.
This one is old-school calisthenics meets Simon Says. Set the clock for five minutes (or as along you want) and face your partner. Taking turns as “the leader,” randomly cycle through bodyweight movements like air squats, lunges, push-ups, knee raises, and jumping jacks. It’s “the follower’s” job to mimic the leader’s movements and pace. Test your partner’s quickness by adding a single burpee to a string of jumping jacks, or challenge their balance with one-legged hops.
Are you a fit couple? Sign up for Muscle & Performance magazine’s America’s Fittest Couple Challenge and train alongside Chris and Heidi Powell from ABC’s hit show Extreme Weight Loss. Not only will you and your partner get in the best shape of your lives, but you can earn a shot at winning a romantic getaway and celebrate your success with the world on the cover of Muscle & Performance! For more info to go to muscleandperformance.com/fitcouples.