While bodyweight workout is often underestimated, bodyweight workout with a partner seems almost forgotten. Training with another person is not only fun, but it is also an opportunity to discover some great new exercises, which would be hardly possible to do on one’s own. In the previous article there are 6 ideas for lower body workout in pairs, and now it’s time for the upper body.

1. Partner Leg Raise/Throw

This one is the best exercise for abs I know – you need to use both the upper and the lower abdominal muscles. Done properly is very efficient in terms of improving strength and developing the six pack.

One of you lies on their back, with their arms extended beside their ears. The other one stands behind the partner’s head, feet a little bit wider than hip-apart, so that the lying person could hold their ankles. The lying person lifts up their legs up to 90 degrees, straight in knees. The standing person push their partner’s legs down towards the floor. You can also push diagonally to the sides to work the obliques.

When you’re lying, your task is to prevent the legs from touching the ground, and come back up as fast as you can; whereas, your partner’s task is to push the legs strongly enough to make them touch the floor. Very important detail in this one is that when you’re down, you shouldn’t let your lower back go up – keep it sticking to the ground all the time. Try to do 7-20 reps in a series before switching places. Sore abs on the next day will be entirely natural outcome.

2. Partner Push-Pull

Very nice alternative for bench press, if you work out without weights – and a great equivalent of classic push-ups. One person lies on their back, with their knees bent, feet on the floor, and their arms extended up in the air. The other person stands behind the partner’s head, and holds their hands.

The partner who is standing does an extended push-up leaning against their partner’s arms – remember to keep your body in one line from the top of your head to the heels. As they go back up, the person lying on the floor bends their elbows to press back up. Perform 7-20 reps in a series, depending on your advancement level, before you switch places.

3. Partner sit-ups

You can of course do sit-ups on your own, but with a partner it requires some more core strength to keep your balance. Plus, you’ll have to fit your rhythms together, so you will probably try harder at the end of each series to keep up – and that’s good, too.

Sit one in front of the other, face to face. Intertwine your feet, legs bent in knees 90 degrees. You may sit up at the same time, or interchangeably – as one person is up, the other is down. Make sure your lower back is sticking to the ground all the time.

4. Partner Back Extension

Always remember to balance the exercises for abs with some exercises for the back. A great one is back extension, and you don’t need any gym equipment if only you’ve got a workout partner.

You can do it on a bench or on the floor. Lie face down on the bench, ask your partner to hold your legs on the level of calves. Lift that upper body up, and go back down. Perform 7-15 reps in a series, depending on your advancement level. The fact that someone is holding your legs gives you the opportunity to extend the range of motion in this exercise.

5. Partner leg circles

Yet another one great for the core. Again, you can do leg circles on your own, but somehow when doing it in pairs it seems a little more challenging because of the pace, the level on which you both keep your legs, etc.

Sit in front of each other, lift those legs up – get into the V-sit with your hands on the ground. You can do the circles together, that requires a moment to find a common pace and coordinate your movements. Or one person can hold the V-sit position whereas the other one is doing the circles around their partner’s legs (just like in the video). You don’t need BOSU to do this one, I’ve been always doing that one sitting on the floor.

6. Plank and Reach

Do plank with someone else, and you’ll actually feel the motivational boost. Here’s a nice version with some hand clapping. Plank in front of each other and reach one hand at a time towards your partner. Try to hold for 30 seconds, or do 10-20 reps, counting left-right as one.

Now we’ve got 12 exercises for both upper and lower body to arrange a complex workout with a partner. In the upcoming article, I’ll give you several ideas on stretching in pairs – in fact, that’s the most efficient way of stretching I know. Stay tuned!

About Cathy Patalas

The sports soul and the alleged specialist in words of 52Challenges.com. The main 52C Blog writer. A diligent student at the English Department of the University of Wroclaw, majoring in applied linguistics. An ex-acrobat and aerobic gymnast with the 13-year long experience in „training for winning”. A multiple medallist of Poland nationals in acrobatic gymnastics, and academic nationals in aerobic gymnastics. A fan of gymnastics of every existing type. Personally, finds making everyday choices in a healthy lifestyle even more demanding a challenge than making everyday sacrifices in the athlete’s lifestyle.