Going to the gym is one of the best forms of #selfcare. However, as much as you may relish the challenge of completing a tough workout, that doesn’t mean you have to take a business-only approach to getting in shape.
As a matter of fact, making fitness fun will help you stay engaged and motivated over the long haul. And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with putting on some headphones and blasting your favorite playlist, crushing a workout with a friend by your side can make your journey even more enjoyable.
YouFit Gyms supports that “strength in numbers” mentality by encouraging members to come to the gym with a companion. Premium+ and Premium members can bring a friend every time they want to break a sweat – at no extra cost.
But what exactly should you and your partner do when you hit the gym together? From the benefits of training with a friend to the best tandem exercises to perform to an effective and efficient workout protocol for two, you’ll soon discover just how much fun fitness can be when you’re with the right company.
Benefits of Working Out With a Friend
Training solo isn’t the only way to go. Sure, working out alone has its perks, but don’t underestimate the power of breaking a sweat alongside a friend.
Here are some of the rewards you can reap from partnering up in the gym:
Self-motivation is key to succeeding at whatever endeavor you choose. But having that extra push from a friend can make all the difference when times (or workouts) get tough.
Finding a gym partner who inspires you to push beyond your boundaries is a blessing. You can feed off each other’s energy and form a bond that extends beyond the walls of the gym.
When it comes to getting results, consistency matters most. And even if you consider yourself a goal-oriented person, life can get in the way and cause us to push priorities like our physical health to the side.
However, having a supportive workout partner can help you stay accountable. Not only do you need to show up for that person, but you also need to show up for yourself. That synergistic relationship will ultimately benefit everyone involved and lead to better accountability from all parties.
Build stronger relationships.
As you strengthen your body, you can also form a closer connection with your training partner. Adversity allows us to learn more about ourselves and those around us, so treat the gym as an opportunity to build an even more solid foundation of trust, respect, and care with your workout buddy.
New exercise ideas.
Even experienced gym-goers will admit it’s easy to fall into the same routine. Failing to switch things up can cause you to lose motivation and leave you wanting more out of your workouts.
To avoid burnout or boredom, train with a partner who brings fresh ideas and a positive attitude to the gym. Having someone with a flexible approach to fitness that includes trying new exercises and being open to challenging your body and mind in different ways is only going to benefit both of you.
Fuels competitive spirit.
Competition forces you to bring your “A” game every time. While you should be competing with yourself to unlock your full potential, it can also be helpful to have someone who keeps you on your toes.
Whether it gets you moving faster through a circuit or it convinces you to bang out a few more reps on the bench press, the pressure of keeping pace with your workout partner can drive you to go just a little bit harder–even when you feel like you have nothing left in the tank.
5 Exercises You Can Do With a Friend
Personal Trainer Nick from YouFit Gyms Suwanee and his long-time personal training client and YouFit member Natalia show us how it’s done.
Push-Up With Shoulder Tap
A great upper-body-focused exercise that involves the triceps, biceps, and no equipment, this partner-friendly version of push-ups tests your core strength, too.
How to perform: While facing each other in plank position, perform a push-up. At the top of the plank, tap your partner’s shoulder. Alternate between left and right shoulder taps for a target number of reps or time.
Med Ball Sit-Up Pass
Take your ab workout to the next level by incorporating a medicine ball–and a friend. The former will stimulate your core, while the latter will ensure you knock out each sit-up perfectly.
How to perform: Sit and face your partner with both sets of feet flat on the floor and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. While one person holds the medicine ball with both hands, each you must execute a sit-up. The ball holder has to make a chest press pass to the other partner at the top of the movement. Repeat for a set number of reps or time.
Partner-Assisted Nordic Hamstring Curls
Your hammies will be put to the test in this variation of the Nordic hamstring curl. This advanced-level isolation exercise also involves the abs, calves, and glutes.
How to perform: While in a tall kneeling position with your torso completely upright, have a partner hold your ankles as you lower yourself as slowly as possible until you cannot control the descent. Fall to the floor in a controlled fashion in which you brace yourself with your arms to avoid injury.
Lateral Shuffle Chest Pass
A dynamic exercise that works on your upper- and lower-body strength and cardio, you must coordinate your movement patterns to stay in rhythm as a tandem.
How to perform: With you and your partner facing each other in an athletic stance, alternating, execute a chest pass with the medicine ball as you shuffle laterally in one direction. Continue passing and shuffling back and forth for an allotted amount of time, reps, or distance.
Resisted Sled Push
Already considered a difficult exercise, the sled push becomes even more challenging when you have someone pushing back against you. For a full-body movement that’ll leave your legs on fire and your lungs gasping for air, let your partner try to stand their ground as you work your way down the turf.
How to perform: Line up on opposite sides of the sled, hold onto the handles, and maintain a flat back and neutral head position. As you drive your knees and push forward, your partner should provide resistance until you reach the finish line. Then, you must dig in and do the same as your partner pushes the sled in the opposite direction.
Bonus: 20-Minute Full-Body Partner Workout
Make the most of your time in the gym together with an intense training session that covers all the bases. From isolation movements to compound exercises, follow this protocol for a full-body workout you and your friend can complete in 20 minutes.
Instructions: Perform each exercise for 40 seconds with 20 seconds of rest in between. Repeat the circuit 3-5 times, with approximately 2-3 minutes between rounds.
- Wall sit with triceps dips – Perform dips using partner’s knees as base. Switch halfway through.
- Wheelbarrow push-up with squat – Hold partner by ankles and perform a squat as they do a push-up. Switch halfway through.
- Clapping planks – Reach and clap your partner’s hand as you maintain a plank position.
- Medicine ball sit-up pass
- Lateral shuffle chest pass