Mix Up Your Workout With Unique Partner Exercises

Torch your body and have fun with these partner bodyweight exercises.

It's only natural for athletes to want to lift as heavy as they can. The go-big-or-go-home mentality goes hand in hand with their competitive nature. Problem is, "only lift heavy" ignores many fantastic exercises.

One type of training that often gets passed over? Bodyweight exercises.

RELATED: The Simplest Bodyweight Workout Ever

Bodyweight exercises do a great job of building foundational strength. Arguably, nothing is more important for an athlete than the ability to control his or her body weight. Without this critical skill, you won't be able to play your sport at a high level, and you may be more prone to injury.

But bodyweight exercises are easy! If you're ripping out heavy reps on something like the Bench Press, then yes, the bodyweight counterpart—the Push-Up—will no doubt seem easy for you.

However, like any other move, bodyweight exercises can be made more difficult. And when done with a partner, they can also be made more competitive, more fun—and more effective.

At the 2015 NSCA National Conference, STACK observed elite strength coach Juan Carlos Santana taking a group of about 20 strength coaches through a bodyweight training session that included many partner-based moves. The participants were in peak fitness, yet they were challenged by the workout.

Here are some of our favorite partner bodyweight exercises, inspired by what we saw in Santana's session.

Partner Plank and Push-Up

Partner Plank and Push-Up

This adds a new twist to the Plank and Push-Ups for both athletes. The one doing the Push-Up is working against a surface less stable than a floor and using unconventional hand placement. The one holding the Plank has to continue to hold that position against the resistance of his partner's weight.

How to:

Partner 1: Assume a Plank position on your hands or forearms, depending on your core strength. Keep your back straight and tighten your core. Hold this position throughout the set.

Partner 2: Place your hands on your partner's back. Perform a Push-Up. Repeat with your hands on your partner's shoulders, then on the opposite side of his back.

Sets/Reps: 3-4x5 each

RELATED: Five Steps to Perfect Push-Up Form

Partner Plank

Partner Plank

This makes a standard Plank more difficult. When you lift an arm, your core muscles must work overtime to keep your torso stable. And tapping your hands together creates additional force the core must brace against.

How to:

Partners 1 and 2: Assume a Plank position with your elbows on the ground. Lift your left arm and touch your left hand to your partner's right hand. Place your arm back on the ground and repeat with your right hand to your partner's left hand. Continue in alternating fashion.

Sets/Duration: 3-4x30 sec.

RELATED: Exercise of the Day: Plank to Push-Up

Wheelbarrow Push-Ups

Wheelbarrow Push-Ups

If you don't have a Bench, this move allows you to perform foot-elevated Push-Ups to strengthen your upper chest.

How to:

Partner 1: Grab your partner's ankles and hold them at your sides.

Partner 2: Assume a push-up position with your legs held aloft by your partner. Perform Push-Ups.

Sets/Reps: 3-4x10-20

Wheelbarrow Walks

Wheelbarrow Walks

Wheelbarrow Walks build shoulder strength and conditioning. The person standing doesn't do much, but he will need time to recover between sets of this brutal move. Your shoulders will be thanking you.

How to:

Partner 1: Grab your partner's ankles and hold them at your sides.

Partner 2: Assume a push-up position with your legs held aloft by your partner. Walk forward with your hands.

Sets/Reps: 3-4x20 yards

Partner Row

Partner Row

OK, we admit it. This one looks weird. But it's very, very effective. The focus of the exercise is the athlete performing the Rows. However, what you don't see is how hard the other partner has to work, holding the squat position throughout the entire exercise.

How to:

Partner 1: Assume a quarter-squat position. Reach down and grab your partner's hands. Keep your core tight and your back flat throughout the exercise.

Partner 2: Lie on the ground with your torso between your partner's legs. Grasp your partner's hands. Keeping your body in a straight line, perform Rows.

Sets/Reps: 3-4x10

RELATED: Improve Your Back Strength with the Inverted Row

Pallof Anti-Rotations

Pallof Anti-Rotations

You must train your core to resist unpredictable movements on the field. This move will help you do that. Fighting movement during the exercise will torch your abs and deep core stabilizers. Plus, it's kind of fun—especially for the partner not doing the work.

How to:

Partner 1: Stand in front of your partner. Randomly tap his hands in all directions.

Partner 2: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and extend your arms in front with your palms touching. Keeping your core tight, resist your partner's attempts to knock you out of position.

Sets/Duration: 3-4x30 sec.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: CORE | PUSH-UP | BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES | EXERCISE | TRAIN