Looking for a way to work off that box of chocolate from your sweetie? Try adding a workout for two to your romantic Valentines’ Day plans.
“Working out with your partner is a great way to spend quality time with someone you care about while doing something good for each other,” says Vancouver-based personal trainer Sherri McMillan. “Studies show that working out with a partner helps you stick to your program – you can’t back out of a workout because [you’d be] letting down your partner, too.”
As our Valentine’s Day gift to you, Reader’s Digest asked McMillan to help us create a workout to target all your body parts in five challenging exercises you can do with your partner.
Warm up for five minutes with light cardio such as walking or climbing a set of stairs 2-3 times. Wear a supportive pair of athletic trainers, have a towel close by and cool down and stretch after the workout.
Stand back-to-back, pressing shoulder blades together, knees shoulder-width apart. Walk your feet out a foot, so that you are supporting one another with your upper bodies. Slowly bend your knees, lowering your tailbones down to the ground as you squat as low as you can go without your knees moving forward past your toes. Hold the squat position for as long as you can – start with 10 seconds, then build up to 30 seconds. Pressing against one another, straighten legs back to standing.
Beginners: Do 5-8 squats
Advance: Do 10-15 squats
Note: Do not wear slippery clothing, such as nylon, when performing partner squats.
Partner One takes plank position: Lying on the floor, come up onto elbows, straighten one leg at a time so you are balancing on your toes (beginners can keep knees on the ground). Pull belly button into the spine, keeping glutes down, engaging the inner abdominal muscles as though you were sucking in your belly to zip up a tight pair of pants. When Partner One is in position, he/she yells, “go,” then Partner Two walks or runs up and down a set of stairs. Partner Two then takes the plank position, and yells, “go,” prompting Partner One pushes up into a standing position and runs the stairs.
Beginners: Repeat 5 times
Advanced: Repeat 10 times (and try taking two stairs at a time!)
Start on all fours and face your partner, lining up your hands with your arms a little more than shoulder width apart.. Walk legs back so that they are directly behind you and you are balancing on your knees or toes in a push-up position. Lower down to the ground and as you come up, give your partner a diagonal “high five,” switching sides each time.
Beginners: Do 5 push-ups
Advanced: Do 2-3 sets of 5 push-ups
Seated Back Pull
Sit facing your partner with your legs extended and feet touching. Each partner should hold one end of a towel with his or her right hand, pulling it taut. Partner One pulls the towel towards the centre of his/her body, arms narrow, tucking the right elbow slightly behind the ribs, as Partner Two resists the movement with his/her upper body. Hold and pulse for three counts, then switch so that Partner Two is pulling the towel and Partner One is resisting. Switch arms.
Beginners: Do 10 pulls each arm
Advanced: Do 20 pulls each arm
Sit facing your partner with both knees bent, feet on the floor. Then, each partner slides to the left so that your right knees are touching and bodies are parallel but still opposite one another. Resting your head in your hands, elbows wide, you and your partner each do a full abdominal curl, each pulling up towards his/her knees. At the top of the movement, rotate left elbow and shoulder towards centre – try to get your elbows as close to your partner’s as possible. Complete your repetitions, then switch sides.
Beginners: Do 5-8 crunches each side
Advanced: Do 10-15 crunches each side