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Best Couples Exercises: Seriously?! Yes, Seriously

By Fitoru | 15 June 2018
couple having a run along a trail in sepia

You’re jazzed about your new workout routine and then life conspires to get you off track. This disease comes with a simple cure: get a workout partner. If that workout partner also happens to be your life partner, it’s all the better. Here’s a plan for the two of you designed to support your embracing of the fit life.

Exercise Has No Gender

First, let’s dispel a common myth–there are no male exercises. Conversely, there are no female exercises. In other words, anything a male can do to stay fit a female can too (and vice versa). Sure, common sense says that women won’t be able to lift as heavy as their male counterparts, but who said that powerlifting was the only way to go? Once you get it into your head that each and every exercise can be co-opted by either sex, your split-gender workout efforts will make perfect sense (of course you’ll still want to make sure that the exercises you do perform are appropriate for each of your fitness levels).

The Couple Who Sweats Together…

Besides the fact that exercises were created gender-neutral, there’s also another key reason why couples workouts make perfect sense. Researchers examined a proposed effect of couples shared participation in novel and arousing activities (e.g., exercises such as hiking) on their experienced relationship quality. In other words, they attempted to determine if couples who engaged in exciting activities reported greater degrees of satisfaction with their relationships.

Here’s what they found:
  1. Engaging in exciting activities makes couples perceive their relationship as “not boring,” thus leading to the point below.
  2. Surveys of previous studies, as well as the results of the present study, support the hypothesis that shared participation in novel and arousing activities (like exercise) increased marital quality.
  3. Points #1 and #2 were held to be true among both male and female respondents.
10 of The Best Couples Exercises

via GIPHY

  • Take a Dip. Dips are great for building triceps for him and her. This version requires the help of your partner. Simply take a seat on a workout bench (or couch if you’re at home) and place both hands firmly on its surface (at your sides). Then stick both legs straight out. From here, your partner holds onto your ankles to help control your weight as you push up and down with your triceps. Alternately, you can do a wall squat (keeping your knees at a 90-degree bend) while your partner places his/her hands above your knees (palms facing out) and dips from there!
  • Leg Throw Downs. Everyone loves abs. Build yours with leg throw downs. Have him lay on his back while you stand up (he should be holding onto your ankles for support). From there, with his legs straight up, you give them a gentle push downward. This forces him to focus all his core strength on raising them back up to your waist.
  • Hiking. This one has nothing to do with needing a partner to hold your legs or ankles and everything to do with couple bonding. What better way to do that then on a long hike together? With this exercise, you’ll be getting tight and toned, clocking in your low-level aerobic activity for the week, while in a peaceful environment that’s conducive to long, uninterrupted conversations.  
  • Bodyweight/Free Squat. This one couldn’t be any easier. You simply face one another, link hands, and squat away. You and your partner keep one another accountable by watching each other perform the movement throughout.
  • Wheelbarrow Squat. Funny name (and look), solid results for both of you. First Ladies of Fitness DC demonstrate how to perform them in this helpful video:

  • Tandem Cycling. Cycling can be both a grueling and highly beneficial exercise. So why not go for a long ride with your partner? If you’re a competitive couple you’re bound to get even more out of this activity by encouraging one another to push faster and further.
  • Pull-ups. Bodyweight exercises are soooooo beneficial, on so many different levels. A common sticking point though is how—given their degree of difficulty— they can be notoriously difficult to knock out in multiple reps. However, by turning popular bodyweight exercises like pull-ups into a couples activity (by holding your significant other’s lower back or legs while they perform them) they become so much easier. And your partner looks at you as a real life-saver.
  • Sit-ups with Medicine Ball. Your desire to develop a strong, defined midsection comes much closer to becoming a reality when you add a medicine ball into the mix. Here’s how this one works: your partner tosses a medicine ball into your hands as you come up on your sit-up to catch it. This forces you to fight through added resistance. As you descend, throw it back to your partner for their turn. And back of forth for as many reps as you can muster. This novel addition forces your body to get stronger: fast.
  • Medicine Ball Squat with Rotation Pass. More medicine ball fun. Keep your core guessing by standing back-to-back and passing one another a medicine ball (without turning your body fully around).
  • Dueling Planks. Get into a plank position and see who can last longer!

Besides these 10 exercises, you and your partner have a huge variety of choices available to you. If you ever do get stuck, just take a look at these excellent suggestions from Pinterest.

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