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Partner Training: Why Having a Workout Buddy is Worth It

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Two women working out in a park together

Sticking to your fitness routine can be a challenge, especially if you’re trying to do it alone. While some people prefer to exercise alone—and are great self-motivators—the same is not true for everyone. For many people, working out with a partner is just what they need to stay on track and reach their goals.

What are the benefits of training with a partner?

“Several research-based benefits of working out with a partner include increased motivation, improved accountability and increased exercise intensity,” says Mary Edwards, Fitness Director and Professional Fitness Trainer at Cooper Fitness Center. “People actually work harder when they are working with someone. It makes it more fun for those who are not self-driven, it can be helpful to have a partner in their exercise routine with them.”

Simply put, when you have a workout buddy, you’re more likely to show up for your workout and you’ll work harder. Nobody wants to let a friend down. When you know a friend is waiting for you at the gym, you’re far less likely to bail out and skip your workout for the day. Workout partners also push us to ramp up the intensity. One study in the UK found that those who work out with a buddy burn on average 41 more calories per session than they would burn working out alone.
Another piece of advice Mary offers: When choosing a workout partner, it’s important to consider each other’s goals (though it’s not necessary to find someone who has the same goals as you), schedule and commitment level.

Cooper Fitness Center offers our members both individualized professional fitness training, as well as partner training.

Are there training differences for men and women?

Many times, workout partners are not of the same gender. Couples often work out together, and while men and women may be at different fitness levels, there is no real drawback to men and women working out together. A workout routine can easily be modified to meet the individual’s fitness level.
The principles of fitness training “don’t change in regards to volume, intensity, calories burned versus calories in,” when training men or women, explains Shannon Edwards, Professional Fitness Trainer. “However, the routine and training may change depending on the individual’s goals,” he says. Women are often more focused on calorie burn, whereas men are often more concerned about building strength. To help each individual achieve his or her goals, different speeds and weight loads may be used.

What exercises are best for partner training?

While you can certainly exercise side-by-side with your workout buddy without doing the same exercises, there are some exercises both partners can do together.

Here are a few examples:

Plank/Lateral Step — With Partner One in a front plank static hold, Partner Two lateral steps or bounds over Partner One’s legs.

Two women doing a plank/lateral step exercise

Push-Up/Hand Taps — With both partners in the push-up position, facing each other, both partners perform a push-up and alternate hand taps at the top of the push-up.

Two women doing push up/hand taps

Medicine Ball Slam — Again using a medicine ball, partners stand facing each other with some distance between them, passing the ball to each other. Partner One holds the ball overhead and slams it to the ground in a bounce pass to Partner Two.
Two women doing the medicine ball slam exercise

Wall Sit — Rather than using a wall, partners stand back to back, and drop into the wall sit position, using the other person as the “wall.”
Two women doing a wall sit exercise together

Lunge Stance/Rotational Ball Pass — Standing side-by-side in a lunge stance, partners perform a rotational medicine ball pass to each other.
Two women doing a lunge stance/rotational ball pass

Resistance Walk or Run — Using a Cook Band, Partner One holds the band around Partner Two’s waist as Partner Two walks or runs away from Partner One.
Two women doing a resistance walk/run exercise

When working out with a partner, communication is most important, Shannon stresses. “Talk up front about goals, what kinds of exercises you like and take turns planning the workouts to give variety and keep it fresh.”

Remember, there will be times when schedules don’t work out and you are unable to get in your workout with your partner. “Have grace in the process,” says Mary. “As soon as you can, get on the bandwagon. Work out on your own when you have to, and look forward to the times when you can train with your partner again.”

For more information about professional fitness training at Cooper Fitness Center, visit or call 972.233.4832.

Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.