12 Couple Workouts to Try

Whether you want to tone up, lose weight, or build muscle, you need to commit to regular and consistent workouts. Joining a gym can help, as will setting goals and following a schedule. Ultimately, you’ll need to find ways to stay motivated. Not just for a week or a month but for as long as you want to maintain or improve your fitness.

Many people are quite happy exercising alone and even welcome the time they spend away from family and friends. Others are more sociable and prefer to work out with a partner. For some, working out alongside someone else is very motivating. If nothing else, it gives you someone to talk to during your rest periods!

There are lots of workouts you can try with your partner, but before you embark on any couple workout, make sure both participants are similarly fit. Why? If there is a big difference in fitness, one person could end up training harder than is comfortable, while the other could end up doing a workout that’s too easy to be productive.

In this article, we reveal some of our favorite couple workouts and exercises.

12 Couple Workouts

Grab a partner and get to work with our 12 best couple workouts!

1. Walking, hiking, jogging, and running

Couple HikingWalking, hiking, jogging, and running are more fun as a couple. You’ve got someone to talk to, which provides a valuable distraction.

The miles will fly by as you chat. Take it in turns to plan your routes. If one partner is much faster or fitter than the other, don’t try and make the slower person keep up; that can be demoralizing. Instead, move ahead and then double back to your slower partner.

Stay with them for a while and then speed up and loop around again. For the fitter partner, this will become a type of interval training.

2. Back-to-back squats

Working with a partner adds a whole new dimension to what is a very common lower body exercise. Don’t be surprised if this feels a lot harder than regular squats.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your back to your partner. Interlock your arms and push your backs together. Move your feet forward slightly, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keeping your backs pressed together, squat down until your thighs are roughly parallel to the floor.
  3. Stand back up and repeat.

3. I-go-you-go running intervals

I-go-you-go running intervalsWith this workout, your rest periods are as long as it takes your partner to complete their work interval.

You can do this workout using a single cardio machine or while doing something like sprints outdoors.

How to do it:

  1. Decide on your work interval, such as row 500 meters, or run 100 meters.
  2. The first partner completes the work interval as fast as possible.
  3. On completion, the second partner does the same workout interval while the other person rests.
  4. Continue alternating until you’ve both done the required number of reps.

4. Rep pyramid battle

You can use this couple workout with almost any strength training exercise. It’s a fun way to add some competition to your training.

Make things interesting; maybe the loser has to buy the post-workout protein shakes?!

How to do it:

  1. Choose an exercise that you can both do at the same time, e.g., push-ups. Get into the starting position.
  2. Partner one does one rep, and then partner two does the same. Next, partner one does two reps, and so does partner two.
  3. Continue doing one more rep until one of you is unable to continue. The last person standing is the winner.

5. High five push-ups

High five push-upsThis couple workout makes traditional push-ups more fun and challenging and increases core activation.

How to do it:

  1. Facing one another, both partners adopt the push-up position.
  2. Bend your arms and lower your chests to the floor.
  3. Push yourselves back up and then high-five your partner with your right hand.
  4. Descend into another push-up, come back up, and then high-five each other with your left hand.
  5. Make sure you both keep your cores braced during this exercise.

6. Partner bent-over row

Bent-over rows usually need a barbell or dumbbell. With this exercise, all you need is a willing partner to work your back and biceps.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on the floor on your back. Your partner should stand astride your abdomen. Reach up and grab their forearms, instructing them to do likewise. Your partner should then brace their abs and lean back slightly. They should try and remain motionless.
  2. Bend your arms and pull yourself off the floor and up toward your partner.
  3. Extend your arms and repeat.
  4. Swap over and let your partner do their set.

7. Wheelbarrow plank walk

Wheelbarrow plank walkPlanks are a great abs workout, but you may find yourself doing them for several minutes at a time if you are reasonably fit. This partner variation is a lot more challenging and gives your arms and shoulders a good workout too.

How to do it:

  1. Drop down and get into the push-up position. Instruct your partner to stand behind your feet and lift your legs off the floor.
  2. Keeping your core braced, walk forward on your hands as your partner carries your legs. Keep your body straight and your core tight.
  3. Continue for a set distance or time, and then swap roles.

8. Plank-off

This workout is a test of determination as well as core strength. Use it to see who is the king of the plank!

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your front on the floor next to your partner. Rest your weight on your elbows and forearms. Brace your abs.
  2. At the same time, both partners lift their hips, so their weight is resting on their arms and foot only.
  3. Hold this position for as long as possible.
  4. The last one to quit is the winner!

9. Medicine ball sit-up and pass

For this fun exercise, you and your partner are going to work your abs at the same time.

Medicine ball sit-up and passYou can do this exercise one of two ways; either sit up and pass the ball to each other or move further apart and throw it. The second option is more intense, more fun, but you’ll need to be good throwers and catchers to do it safely.

How to do it:

  1. Facing your partner, sit on the floor with your legs bent and feet flat. Ask your partner to do the same.
  2. Holding a medicine ball in your hands, sit up and pass or throw the ball to your partner as they sit up at the same time.
  3. Lie down and then repeat, with the ball being passed or thrown back to you.
  4. Continue for the prescribed number of reps.

10. Boxing with focus pads

Focus pad work is a big part of boxing training. It also makes a great couple workout. To do it, decide who is the boxer and who is the coach. The coach should then put on a pair of focus pads while the boxer throws punches at them.

Don’t throw heavy punches. Instead, the coach should move the pads to make them harder to hit, forcing the boxer to move their feet and stay mobile.

This is more for cardio and endurance than for strength or power. Continue for 2-3 minutes and then swap roles. No pads? No problem! You can also do this work out barehanded, but you really must take care not to punch too hard, as you could end up bruising the coach’s palms.

11. Partner carries

Partner carriesProviding you and your partner are similar sizes, carrying them can be a very challenging, fun workout. There are several different ways to carry a person, including across your shoulders (fireman’s carry), on your back (piggyback), or in your arms (baby carry).

Choose a distance, e.g., 400 yards, and take it in turns to carry one another until you have covered the prescribed distance.

12. Side to side crunches

This final exercise is probably one of the least challenging, but that’s no bad thing if you’ve been training hard and are looking for an easy move to bring your workout to an end.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet flat. Place your arms by your sides flat on the floor. Get your partner to do the same, so they are opposite you, and your legs are intertwined.
  2. Both partners should then lift their heads and shoulders a few inches off the floor.
  3. Maintaining this position, lean to the left and right, touching your partner’s fingers each time.


Got questions about couple workouts? We’ve got the answers!

Q: What are the best exercises for couples?

A: The best exercise for couples is the one you both enjoy. If you can’t agree on a workout, choose one each and alternate between them. So long as you both work hard and enjoy what you do, any couple exercise will help you get fitter, stronger, or lose weight.

Q: Is it good for couples to work out together?

A: Working out with your partner can be very rewarding and should help to strengthen your relationship. You can encourage and support one another, so you both have a great workout.

However, working out with your partner may be an issue if one person is a lot fitter than the other. This could disrupt the workout and cause unwanted friction. Make sure you modify your couple workout so that both participants are working equally hard.

Q: What are couple workouts good for?

You can use couple workouts to achieve almost any fitness goal, from burning fat to getting fit to building muscle. You can also stretch together to improve flexibility. Partner stretches are both effective and relaxing – for the person being stretched, at least!

Couple workouts work best when both partners have similar workout goals. Training for very different goals, e.g., where one person wants to lose weight while the other wants to build muscle, is not always possible, and some compromises may need to be made.

Bottom Line

Working out with a partner can be a lot of fun. Not only will you be able to offer each other encouragement and motivation, but you can provide coaching and feedback, making for a safer, more effective workout.

Your partner can also make your workout more challenging; think of them as a workout machine or barbell that breathes. Don’t call them a dumbbell, though!

You can use your partner as a source of resistance for exercises like squats, rows, and carries, or for doing exercises that would otherwise be impossible, like medicine ball sit-up passes or throws.

So, while you don’t have to work out with your partner, doing so can add a whole new element to your exercise program. If nothing else, it’ll be nice to have someone to talk to while you train, especially if you need a distraction from your aching muscles!


Patrick Dale is an ex-British Royal Marine and owner and lecturer for a fitness qualifications company. In addition to training prospective personal trainers, Patrick has also authored three fitness and exercise books, dozens of e-books, thousands of articles, and several fitness videos.

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