Happy Valentine’s Day, FBGs! To help us all celebrate this day of L-O-V-E a bit more healthily, Amanda Ebner (M.A, M.Ed., ACE-Certified Personal Trainer, AFAA-Certified Group Exercise Instructor, Schwinn-Certified Cycling Coach, IndoRow Certified Coach) put together a fun little workout for couples routine for all of us on behalf of BodyMedia and FitOrbit. If you’re in a romantic relationship, consider it foreplay—and if you’re single, grab a buddy and consider it just FUN! Either way, it’s a fabulous way to Love Yo’Self!
Let’s visit a familiar scenario: you meet someone special. You fall in love. You get into a comfortable routine, and suddenly, your waistline expands beyond recognition. These “happy pounds,” borne of countless romantic dinners, movie marathons on the couch and perhaps a few too many bottles of wine tend to pile on around the start of a new relationship—and often don’t drop off as time goes on.
The good news in all of this is that working out with your spouse—or your best friend, parent or coworker—can actually be more successful than trying to get in shape alone. A recent study from Michigan State University showed that people actually perform better aerobically when working out with a partner, and working out with a partner increases your motivation, accountability and consistency as well.
Before committing to a workout partner, make sure to have a brief conversation about your shared goals, time constraints, schedules and workout style. For example, an avid runner seeking to train for a marathon might not be the best match for a yogi looking for mindful flexibility training. If possible, hire a certified personal trainer to start you off with proper form, a progressive and safe routine, and the know-how to help structure a program tailored to your fitness goals. You may also want to invest in a tracking tool, like BodyMedia to keep track of your calorie burn, levels of physical activity and sleep efficiency while training.
Need more incentive to partner up? Try making a friendly bet with your partner, such as who will lose the most weight, run the fastest mile or do the most push-ups at the end of six weeks (a typical period during which early exercise adaptations occur) of consistent workouts together. Often, you and your partner can reach your goals even faster with the motivation of some fun and healthy competition.
Below is a short workout that you can do in the gym or at home to get both you and your workout partner started with only a medicine ball and a few basic movements. Grab your buddy and get going today!
Workouts for Couples
1. Cardio Alternates. Partner A will begin with 30 seconds of jumping jacks as Partner B starts 30 seconds of plank jacks. Every 30 seconds thereafter, switch exercises, so that one partner is always doing jumping jacks and the other plank jacks. Repeat until 3 minutes is up.
2. Wheelbarrow Sprints. Have the stronger partner begin in the plank (top of a push-up) position while the other partner picks up their feet. The partner with hands on the ground will walk their hands forward as the carrying partner walks quickly forward to a point about 20 yards ahead. Switch partners and “wheelbarrow” back to the starting point. Repeat the pattern three times per partner.
3. High-Five Push-Ups. Both partners will now come down to the plank position, facing each other, with shoulders approximately 18 inches apart and parallel to each other. Both partners complete a push-up simultaneously, then reach their right hands out to “high five” across the space between them. Partners return to the push-up, then reach their left hands out to “high five” again. Repeat, alternating sides, for 10 push-ups total.
4. Ball Squat Toss. Partners will stand about 10 feet apart, facing each other, with a medicine ball in Partner A’s hands. Partner A will gently toss the ball to Partner B, who will catch it as they drop deeply into a squat. On the way back up to standing, Partner B will use the explosive power to jump up and toss the ball back to Partner A, who will catch the ball and squat deeply. Continue the toss and squat pattern until both partners have caught the ball 20 times.
5. Assisted Pull-Ups. Find a sturdy tree limb, set of monkey bars or at-home pull-up bar that is sturdy enough to support both partners’ weight. Partner A will jump up to grip the bar, bending their knees 90 degrees, so that Partner B can catch her feet and support some of her body weight. Partner A will pull up as many times as possible, ideally between 5-10, before coming down from the bar and switching with Partner B.
6. Ball Twist and Pass. Partners will stand back to back, knees bent into a half squat, with Partner A holding a medicine ball at waist level. Partner A will twist to the left to pass the ball as Partner B twists to the right to receive the ball. Partner B will quickly twist to the left as Partner A twists to the right to take the ball back. Feet should stay planted as the waist does the work on the twist. Complete 10 passes in the same direction, then switch directions and do 10 more passes.
7. Shared Tree Pose. If your partner is unsure about balancing on one leg, place your arm around him or her to steady their balance, then lift one leg and bend at the knee, pressing the foot into the opposing thigh for balance. Press the palm of the free hand into your partner’s palm for further balance assistance, then hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides by turning to face the other direction, then repeat for 30 seconds.
Now, how fun are those couple workouts? We feel the workout love! Tell us, what’s your favorite buddy workout move? And how are you celebrating Valentine’s Day in a totally fun and healthy way? —Jenn