Making a date with a workout buddy can help you get out of bed when the alarm goes off, can help you burn more calories if you think they’re fitter than you and even, simply, make you perform better.
But what if that „date“ is just that — a date! Working out with your special someone won’t just make you both fitter, you’ll fit better together. “When a couple works out together, the actual exercise itself can physically and emotionally have a positive impact,” marriage and relationship psychotherapist Dr. Jane Greer told YouBeauty. „Both partners come away with feelings of synchronicity, cooperative spirit and shared passion. Then you throw in some spicy endorphins and it can be a real power trip for the relationship.“
That time you would spend at the gym suddenly becomes „us“ time, and that otherwise-boring walk you were planning to take after dinner becomes more fun with good company. Not to mention that if you’re walking with weight loss in mind, you’re more likely to meet your goals with social support.
Plus, you’ll share some of the added benefits of working out, like less stress, better sleep and a sharper brain, all of which can only help you as you navigate the years together. And regular exercise has been linked to a better time in the bedroom, too: Exercise not only seems to protect against erectile dysfunction, it also improves blood flow in a way that can help you more easily get in the mood.
It might not always be easy. Maybe your fitness routines diverge — one of you loves yoga and one of you can’t stomach a Downward Dog. But trying something new and different together can bring you closer.
So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked our readers to show us their favorite photos of their sweaty sweethearts — whether after a hike, at the finish line of a 5K or mid-Pilates.
No matter what stage of life you’re at, it’s hard to spend enough time with your nearest and dearest. We all work, study or look after the household, and often most of the day is spent with other people. Quality time with our partners is generally reserved for the weekends – if you’re lucky.
A great way to do something productive about this is to exercise with your partner. Not only can you motivate each other to get more out of each workout, you can also ensure that they are looking and feeling great.
Stand facing each other, close enough that the tips of your shoes touch, and hold hands. One of you performs a squat all the way down until your backside touches the ground.
Next, while still being held by your partner, lower into a sit-up. As you do this, your partner will perform a dead-lift while holding on. A dead-lift is a forward bend at the hips while keeping your back straight.
The lying partner now sits up and, with the other partner’s assistance, stands up in one flowing movement. Swap roles for your second rep and continue to alternate.
Trainer tip: As the male is generally a lot heavier, he will have to work hard coming out of the squat so that the female is not lifting a weight beyond her limits.
- Chin-ups/shoulder presses
Find a horizontal chin-up bar. One person grips the bar with both hands overhand, palms forward. The partner stands behind them and grips the bottom of their rib cage.
The first person performs chin-ups while their partner gives minimal assistance. Try to get your chin up and over the bar. Lower slowly, with assistance, until your arms are straight. This doubles as a shoulder press for the partner on the ground.
Trainer tip: After about four to five attempts (on different training days), mix things up by performing eccentric chin-ups.
Assist your partner on the way up, but give no assistance on the way down. Instead, give them a three-second count to lower to the ground.
- Swiss ball partner squats
Stand back to back with your partner. One partner places a Swiss ball against the small of their lower back. The other partner places their lower back against the same ball. You both need to lean back with enough pressure to ensure the ball stays in this position.
Now, both take two small steps forward (away from each other), while maintaining enough pressure against the ball so that it doesn’t fall, and neither does your partner. Keeping your back perpindicular to the ground, perform a squat at the same time. You need to talk to each other as your movements should be simultaneous.
Trainer tip: One person needs to be made team leader. They are responsible for being the voice.
Let your partner know when to lower, when to pause at the bottom and when to start rising again.
- Swiss ball leg cycles
One partner lies back on a Swiss ball. The other stands behind their head. Grasp each other’s wrists firmly. The lying partner brings their knees to their chest. Raise your head and shoulders and perform slow alternating leg cycles. Aim for 30 reps and stop if you feel back pain.
Trainer tip: For a great abdominal workout, do 10 Swiss ball sit-ups and 15 Swiss ball crunches before this exercise. If it is too hard, or you don’t have a Swiss ball, do it on the ground and the person doing the abs work holds their partner’s ankles.
- Medicine ball passes
One partner sits with knees bent to 90 degrees and the other stands in front of them, about 1m from their feet. The standing partner holds a ball. The seated partner starts to lower into a sit-up, and the standing partner passes them the ball.
They should hold the ball above their head and keep it there for the entire down phase. Once your mid-back touches the ground, pause and rise. Once you are just short of the top of the movement, throw the ball back to your partner.
Perform 10 reps. Next, the seated partner holds the medicine ball at almost full arm extension and raises their feet off the ground. Keeping strong through the abs, twist from side to side, taking the ball to the ground on both sides. Perform 20 of these before swapping positions.
Trainer tip: Men should try a 3kg to 5kg medicine ball and women a 2kg to 4kg ball.
Find a ledge or chair that is between knee and hip height. One partner sits on the ledge, palms forward, hands beside their thighs. Walk forward so that your backside is off the bench.
Your partner will now grab your ankles and hold them at their hip height. As one dips, the standing person squats. Do as many as the dipper can manage before swapping. Don’t pull the dipper away from the bench.
Trainer tip: When it’s your turn to be the holder, be careful that you maintain a straight back at all times, including when picking up and lowering the legs.