The Ultimate Workout For Friends To Do Together

The rules

  • Warm up with a few minutes of marching on the spot, building into a gentle jog. At the same time move your joints through their comfortable range of motion, e.g. circle the arms, lift the knees high, kick your heels to your backside etc.
    Take turns with your partner to suggest the next move
  • Aim for two sets of 12 reps of each exercise with sufficient resistance to experience mild fatigue on the last couple of reps
  • Remember to take turns, alternating so that both of you get to perform all of the exercises in both positions
  • Perform all exercises slowly, under control and taking care not to lock out the knees and elbows at the end of each movement
  • Communication is vital, so talk to your partner to ensure that the correct amount of resistance is applied
  • Trust your partner to slowly lower and lift you when you are acting as the resistance – she won’t simply drop you as she’ll probably end up worse off than you!
  • The exercises are shown using a step platform, but all can be performed on the floor, although the range of movement may have to be slightly reduced

  • Leg press
    Lie down on an elevated step and place one foot comfortably (use a towel if you wish) against your partner’s midsection.

  • Slowly lower until the knee reaches a right angle and then push to return to the start, taking care not to fully extend the knee joint.
    This is an exercise of trust! take time to perfect it and keep your movements slow and controlled
    Your partner will need to maintain abdominal tension through each repetition and will need to assist you in achieving balance, which comes with practise and improved non-verbal communication.
    You can increase resistance through your partner by taking her front foot further back. repeat the set on the other leg.

  • Upright row
    Stand astride you partner (who should lay on the decline of a step) in a wide stance, bent knees and abdominals pulled in tightly in order to resist your back bending against your partner’s weight.

  • With your palms facing towards you, lock fingers with your partner and draw your hands up your body to give a bend at the elbows, which should finish pointing up and out to the side.

  • Biceps curl
    Start in the same position as for the previous exercise but this time your palms should face away from you.

  • Now, keeping your elbows pinned to your ribs, lift your palms up towards the ceiling, raising your partners upper body off the step.
    This is tough so your partner may need to perform a semi sit-up to assist you

  • Chest press
    Lay on your back on an elevated step, with your partner standing at your feet. Then either interlock fingers or rest palm to palm, making sure your hand placement is comfortable and stable so your wrists can remain firm throughout the set.

  • Slowly lower your partner down by bending your elbows until your hands come close to your armpits, then press up again by extending your arms to lift your partner to the start position.
    The standing partner can adjust the resistance by moving her front foot forwards (easier) or backwards (harder). in both cases she should avoid bending at the waist but maintain a straight line from the head through to the hip down to the heel, letting the bodyweight be controlled by you.

  • Triceps dip
    Your partner should stand behind you, with you at the end of the step, with your hands forward, slightly wider than hipwidth, and feet positioned comfortably with knees bent.

  • Lower your backside to the floor and then extend your arms, being careful not to lock out your elbows on the top part of the movement.
    Your partner should control the amount of resistance through pressure on your shoulders, and mirror your movement by squatting on the downward phase to ensure a constant load throughout.

  • Calf raise
    With your heels hanging off the end of the step, hold your partner’s hands and bend your knees.

  • Next, raise and lower your heels, aiming for a full range of movement on the downward phase of the exercise and maintaining good postural alignment by resisting the temptation to look down at your feet.
    The heel raise requires both partners to be working simultaneously, using each other’s bodyweight for balance, so you need to work together here.

  • Sit-up
    Lay on the elevated step with your feet either on the floor or raised and crossed over at the ankle, whichever is more comfortable for your lower spine. Place your hands behind your head to help support its weight and your elbows out to the side.

  • As you sit up, ensure the movement is brought about by a strong contraction of the abdominals not by throwing the elbows forward. Your partner should gently apply pressure to the upper arm, ensuring there is resistance in both directions so you cannot just flop back down, but instead have to work against her on this phase.
    Resistance from your partner will ensure you perform this correctly

  • Reverse curl
    Lay on your back with your knees drawn up to your chest and your ankles crossed over.

  • Now lift your bottom off the step – this movement should be very small and brought about by contracting your lower abdominals. Your partner should merely apply gentle pressure to your lower shin, as with the last exercise, in both directions.
    The key here is to remain controlled throughout the entire movement. try not to generate momentum by kicking your legs –your heels should stay as close to your bottom as possible. the contraction should create just a small movement that really works your core muscles.

Cool down by performing similar moves to your warm-up, only this time gradually decrease the intensity as opposed to increasing it. And remember, partner stretching will enable you to work through greater ranges of motion than you can alone so don’t pass up the opportunity!

Dean Hodgkin