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May 08, 2021 10 min read

Whether you have a hard time getting motivated to work out or you lack accountability in getting to the gym, having a workout buddy is a good way to keep you in check.

Each of these partner moves is perfect for any duo and most of them are bodyweight exercises so they’re perfect for doing outside of the gym. Do a few or combine all of these exercises to create a full-body workout. 

1. Push-Up Variations

There are countless different partner push-up variations you can try. Each of them is going to work your upper body including your triceps, chest, and shoulders.  These are a few of the best:

  • Train push-ups
  • Clapping push-ups
  • Platform push-ups

To do train push-ups, start with one partner standing in front of the other body-length apart.  Have the partner that’s standing in the back drop into a plank position on their feet and hands.  Then, have the partner in front drop into a plank position but put their ankles on the shoulders of the partner in the back.  Do 10 to 20 push-ups together in that position and then switch sides.

Two girls doing clapping push-ups outdoors

For clapping push-ups, get into a push-up position facing one another arms-length apart.  Do a push-up and as you come back up, both partners high-five one another with their right hands.  Both partners should put their right hands back down, do another pushup, and then high-five one another with their left hands. 

Keep alternating between hands. Lastly, to do platform pushups, both partners should face one another body-length apart.  Have one partner drop into a plank position on their toes and hands. 

The other partner should go into a plank position with their hands on the first partner’s shoulders.  Then, alternate doing pushups with each partner doing 10 to 20 before switching positions.

2. Push Sled

The sled is most commonly used to help athletes build strength and generate power.  It’s also great for partner workouts. For each of these exercises, have one partner pushing/pulling the sled while the other partner stands on the sled.  You can apply additional weights to the sled if the partner’s weight is not heavy enough.  To start, try these sled variations:

  • Traditional sled push
  • Traditional sled pull
  • Power squat pulls

While the traditional sled push and pull are pretty straightforward, not everyone knows how to do a squat pull. To do a squat pull, grab a rope and attach it at its center to the sled with your partner standing on the sled.  Then, grab one end of the rope with your right hand and the other end of the rope with your left hand. 

Pull the rope so it has tension between you and the sled, squat down, and pull the sled towards yourself as you power back up from the squat position.  The way that you pull the sled towards you should simulate a row. Partners should switch positions pushing/pulling the sled and standing on the sled in between each variation.

3. Forearm Partner Planks

Planks are an easy workout for partners to do together.  Try switching things up from the normal plank to doing forearm partner planks. To do forearm planks, both partners should get into a high plank position facing one another.  Once they’re down in the plank position, they should be a little more than shoulder-width apart. 

From there, both partners should lift their right hands off the ground and grab onto the forearm of their partner across from them.  Hold on for as long as you can and then switch arms.

4. Burpees

Next, give burpees a try for a good cardio workout.  Both partners should stand more than body length apart and facing one another.  Then, they should do a jump squat, drop into a plank position, do a push-up, and then return to standing and repeat. Also, they should do the burpees at the same rate and clap their hands together at the top of the squat jump.

5. TRX Without the TRX

The TRX is one of the best bodyweight resistance workouts for building lean muscle.  However, you can use a partner instead of an actual TRX to do these exercises.  Try the:

  • TRX knee pulls
  • TRX walkout planks
  • TRX knee tucks

For each of these exercises, partner A should start in a plank position on their hands and partner B should stand right behind them.  Then, partner B should grab the feet of partner A so their body is totally horizontal with the ground, just like it would be with a TRX.

Knee pulls are done with partner A pulling one knee at a time towards their elbow on the same side.  They start on their right side by pulling their right knee towards the right elbow, return to a plank, and then pull the left knee towards the left elbow.  Partner A should do ten pulls on each side before switching spots with Partner B.

For walkout planks, Partner A should start in plank position then walk their hands backward towards Partner B so their glutes go into the air.  Their body should be in a V-shape.  Then, they should walk their hands back out into the plank starting position and repeat 10 times before switching.

Third, knee tucks involve partner A pulling both knees in towards their chest at the same time so that their body forms into a ball.  They should do 10 to 20 reps before switching spots with partner B.

6. Squat Variations

To get your lower body fired up, you and your partner can try these different squat variations: 

  • Sumo squats
  • Sit and stands

For sumo squats, have partner A get into a high plank position on their hands and partner B grab onto their legs so that they’re fully horizontal. Then, partner B can drop into a squat while holding on to partner A’s legs. Partner B should have their toes turned slightly outwards and feet a little more than shoulder-width apart.  After 10 to 20 squats, switch roles.

Second, give sit and stands a try.  Both partners should stand facing one another about arm’s length apart.  Then, they should grab onto one another’s wrists, squat all the way down to a sitting position, and then stand back up by pulling on one another’s arms.

7. Partner Lunges

Another great lower body workout that targets your glutes, quads, and abs are lunges. Do lunges with a partner by facing one another and holding on to each other’s shoulders. Then, partner A should lunge on their left side while partner B does it on the right side. Do as many lunges as you can and alternate feet for each lunge.

You can also do curtsey lunges which will target the outsides of your glutes.  To do a curtsey lunge, rather than stepping directly backward into a lunge, step your leg behind you and slightly curled around your other leg to mimic a curtsey.

8. Bicycle Crunches

Just about everyone knows the bicycle crunch for abs and obliques.  To do it with a partner, both should lay on their backs with their feet pointed towards one another.  Then, both partners should position their feet in a tabletop position.  Rather than just suspending their feet in the air, though, both partners should plant the palms of their feet on one another’s.

Once the partners have their feet planted against one another’s, then they can lift their upper backs and do the bicycle crunches while rotating their obliques from side to side.

9. Wall Sits

There are a couple of different variations of wall sits you can do with a partner. For starters, you can stand side by side on a wall and pass a medicine ball back and forth in order to add some more weight to your squat while working out your obliques.

Or, you can take turns doing the wall sit and have the partner who's not doing the wall sit press down on the shoulders of the one who is doing the wall sit.

10. Medicine Ball Wall Sit Toss

Another wall sit variation that’s going to add extra difficulty for your upper body is tossing a medicine ball with your partner while in a wall sit. It’s simple: Both partners should get into a wall sit right next to each other and start tossing a medicine ball back and forth. 

Rotate at your obliques to throw the ball in the direction of your partner.  Avoid hunching at the back by keeping your lower back pressed against the wall. Do as many as you can on one side and then switch spots with your partner to work the other half of your obliques and upper body.

11. Suspended Tricep Dips

Unlike regular tricep dips where you have your feet on the floor for balance, suspended tricep dips with a partner force you to work your triceps more than usual as well as your core. To start, have partner A grab a bench and get into the typical tricep dip position. 

Then, have partner B grab the feet of partner A so that partner A’s legs are parallel with the floor.  Partner A can then do the tricep dip with their legs extended out in front of them.  They can do about 10 to 20 dips and then change places with Partner B.

12. Hamstring Curls

This simple hamstring exercise looks easy but fires up the backs of your legs. Have one partner lay on their stomach keeping their arms and legs straight.  Then, as if they were on a hamstring curl machine, have the partner curl one of their lower legs towards their glutes while the other partner presses against their leg as it curls. This should create extra resistance and make the move more difficult. Do each leg 10 times and then switch spots.

13. Leg Pres

As long as you have a partner, you can do leg presses without having a leg press machine. Have partner A lay on their back and imprint their spine on the ground so that their lower back stays flat and doesn’t arch.  Then have them lift their feet into a tabletop position, keeping their feet and legs together.

Partner B should then lean forward against partner A’s feet so they’re standing at a 45-degree angle.  Partner A should use the strength in their quads and hamstrings to hold partner B up and then push them back into a straight up and down standing position. The push should simulate a similar movement to that of the leg press machine.

people on a meadow play wheelbarrow together

14. Wheelbarrows

A classic exercise that is both fun and challenging is the wheelbarrow.  Give this one a try as a new way to get cardio while working your shoulder muscles and core.

Have partner A get into a plank position while partner B grabs onto their feet so partner A’s body is in a horizontal position with the floor.  Then, partner A should walk as far as they can on their hands before changing spots with partner B.

15. Resistance Band Jumps

This resistance band exercise challenges the cardio endurance and lower body power of one partner while working the upper body and core of the other. Take a long resistance band and have partner A hold onto one end of the band in their right hand and the other end in the left hand.

Then, have partner B step into the resistance band and step away from their partner so that the band is wrapped around the front part of their waist and has some tension to it.

Have partner B face away from partner A and jump forward to create more resistance in the band. Partner A should hang on tight to the band to maintain resistance. After each leap forward, partner B should step back into their original position and then jump forward again.

Two fit young people in sportswear sitting on a gym floor working out together with a medicine ball

16. Sit Up Medicine Ball Pass

To work the core and upper body, do these sit-up medicine ball passes.  Both partners should get into a regular sit-up position and have the tips of their toes touching one another’s.  Have partner A start with a medicine ball in their hands.

Both partners should curl up at the same time and, as they come up, partner A should toss the ball to partner B.  Partner B should catch the ball, go back down to the floor, and then curl back up again while tossing the ball to partner A.

17. Chest Pass

Work your chest by passing a medicine ball back and forth with a partner.  Point your elbows outward and push the ball outward from your chest level towards your partner.  Go back and forth for as long as you can.

You can also try and do the chest passes while squatting or doing lunges.  Rather than just throwing back and forth, drop into a lunge or squat and then pass the ball to your partner as you rise back up to a standing position.

18. Planks and Ski Jumps

Have one partner get into a plank hold on their forearms.  Then, have the other partner do ski jumps back and forth over the lower legs of the partner doing the plank.  Go for as long as partner A can hold the plank and then switch positions.

19. Leg Throws

Fire up all of the muscles in your core with partner leg throws. Have partner A lay on their back and grab onto the ankles of partner B who should stand right behind the head of partner A.

Partner A should lift their legs straight off the ground and bring their feet towards their partner.  Partner B should then throw the legs of partner A back towards the ground. The key is for partner A to try to control the throw from partner B and not allow their legs to drop back down to the ground super quickly.

20. Fireman’s Carry

Last but not least, try the fireman’s carry. Reach between the legs of your partner and lay them across your shoulders. From there, you can walk, do squats, or lunges.  Switch positions when the first carrying partner can go no more.

Do Partner Exercises For a More Effective Workout

These exercises are not only effective but they’re designed to be done with a partner so they’re perfect for days when you’re not feeling motivated.  Also, almost all of them can be done without ever going to a gym.  Try these partner exercises to challenge your body in a new way and have a better time doing it.

Bonus tip: Most of these slam ball exercises that are designed to build explosiveness can be done with a partner.