Challenging Bodyweight Partner Workout

Strengthen and tone your core, shoulders, legs and arms with this partner exercise routine inspired by aerial training.
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With this fun partner workout, your focus isn’t just about sets and reps. It’s also about stabilizing your core muscles, finding your balance, and trusting and communicating with your partner. Often, I find that I work harder when exercising with a partner compared to when I’m on my own. The right partner can keep you accountable and push you beyond what you thought you were capable of.

1A Leah Gruber & Taylor Rowland - Mitch Diggs

Taylor Rowland and I are both aerial performers, and we like our training well-rounded. We work out in the air, but we also like to do full-body bodyweight exercises on the ground. Taylor and I found that partnering up can make working out and performing a lot more entertaining.

Partner Exercise Tips

  • Share any injuries you may have with your partner.
  • Communicate with your partner about push/pull and weight transference before and during exercises.
  • Focus on form and staying controlled, engaging muscles instead of using momentum and seeing how fast you can go.

Pulling Squat

Do three sets AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) in one minute.

Grabbing wrist to wrist, partner 1 and partner 2 pull back against each other as they squat down. They squat down as low to the ground as possible. (That may be touching the ground or only going to a 90-degree squat.) Partner 1 and partner 2 work to find the right amount of pull to stabilize each other.

Seven-Up

Do two sets of 10 reps per partner.

Partner 1 lies on the ground. Facing the opposite direction, partner 2 puts her hands on partner 1’s ankles and then gives one leg at a time to partner 1. Both partners keep their core and shoulders engaged. Partner 1 does a sit-up using her abs, keeping her arms locked out as she lifts partner 2’s legs above her head. Partner 2 keeps her arms locked out as she feels like she is pulling her legs to her chest, creating a backward 7.

Squeezing Wheelbarrow

Do two sets of 10 reps each partner.

Partner 1 starts in a push-up position. Partner 2 stands in between partner 1’s ankles. Partner 1 lifts one leg at a time to partner 2. Partner 1 positions her legs right above partner 2’s hips. Partner 1 uses her inner-thigh adductor muscles to squeeze the waist of partner 2 while keeping her bellybutton pulled to her spine and entire body straight. Partner 2 performs a slow, controlled squat. For a greater challenge, at the bottom of the squat, partner 1 can do a push-up.

Flopping Fish

Do three sets in one minute.

Partner 1 and partner 2 lie opposite one another hip to hip. They grab each other’s hands by reaching under their thighs. Partner 1 and partner 2 lift their legs toward the ceiling. They each use their abs to pull back their feet farther toward their head and lift their butt off the ground. They push down through their hands and rotate to the other side of each other. Slowly, partner 1 and partner 2 bring their legs back down to the ground, then repeat.

Partner Scale

Do two sets of eight reps (each leg) for each partner.

Partner 1 and partner 2 grab each other’s forearms. Partner 1 starts with one leg back and leans forward as she lifts her leg toward the sky. Partner 1 squeezes her glute to lift her leg higher. Partner 2 helps stabilize partner 1 while dropping into a deep squat with her feet more than hip-width apart. In the squat, partner 2 keeps a flat back with her knees behind her toes. For more of a challenge, partner 2 can let partner 1 balance without her support. Partner 2 stops holding her and can choose how much support she wants to provide by holding onto partner 1 or loosening her grip.

Plank Clap

Do three sets AMRAP in one minute. Try to beat the number the second and third time.

Partner 1 and partner 2 get into a plank position facing each other. They keep their core tight and pull their bellybutton toward their spine. They also keep their hips level as much as possible the entire time. Partner 1 and partner 2 lift their opposite arm, clap hands and then switch hands. To make this exercise more challenging, they keep their feet together in the plank position. To make easier, they keep their feet wide.

Handstand Hold

Do two sets of 30-second holds — one minute total per partner.

Partner 1 kicks up into a handstand while partner 2 catches her feet and helps stabilize her. In the handstand, partner 1 should stack her shoulders over her wrists, her hips over her shoulders and her toes over her hips. This exercise also can be done against a wall.

8A

Leah Gruber is a certified ACE personal trainer and group fitness instructor, aerialist and bikini competitor. She teaches aerial yoga (AntiGravity Fundaments certified), lyra and silks. She also does freelance aerial work and has performed all over the Las Vegas Strip at various venues, including the Bellagio, Venetian and Wynn Resorts, as well as the Las Vegas Convention Center. She formerly performed regularly at the Flamingo Hotel in the Margaritaville show.

Gruber’s partner Taylor Rowland does stunt and aerial work for the Universal theme park in Orlando, Florida. She is also an aerial instructor for Royal Caribbean Productions and travels and performs a signature doubles trapeze act.

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