Partner Exercises

Over time, many clients lose interest in training by themselves. This often leads to clients losing motivation and falling off their fitness program. As their trainer, it is your job to help keep them motivated and consistent with their workouts.


Partner exercises are a great way to diversify exercise and create a more enjoyable lifestyle for clients. Clients can still achieve their fitness goals and they might even accomplish more with the extra push a partner provides. Knowing how to design a fun and effective partner workout can make or break a client’s perspective on fitness.


Let’s explore the best ways to keep clients motivated and how to implement partner exercises to fit both workout partners’ goals.


Finding the Right Workout Partner


Clients are most comfortable around friends and family, so that is a great starting point for finding a workout partner. Clients who ask friends or family avoid having to take extra time to build new relationships.


There is nothing wrong with building new relationships, but they will have to learn the interests and abilities of their partner first. Most clients already have a difficult time completing workouts. Trying to connect with someone new can just become another obstacle in the situation. Processing and completing their workout program is a lot for them already.


If friends or family are not an option for your client, suggest a workout partner who goes to the same gym. Even better, recommend one of your other clients. Most people go to the gym on similar days and times. Consider pairing up a client who works on similar days and times. Encourage them to find a partner they can see often and communicate with regularly.


Workout partners who have different fitness styles can still workout together. You do not need to change the entire workout or have different levels of partner exercises. Apply these techniques to the training program.

  • Slow down or increase the tempo. Adding tempos to the exercise changes the difficulty. Time under tension makes it more challenging for clients to sustain the weight applied.

  • Add pauses at certain points in the exercise to make the same exercise more challenging. Especially halfway through a repetition. You may not be able to just increase the weight of a medicine ball. Including pauses though can help make it feel heavier.

  • Adjust body and hand position to create modifications or progressions.

  • Integrate isometric holds during exercise to increase the level of difficulty.

  • Increase range of motion. The more the targeted muscle lengthens the better the eccentric contraction. This is where most micro-tears occur, leading to greater gains.


Benefits of Partner Workouts


Once a client starts partner workouts it is usually smooth sailing. The hard part is encouraging clients that partner workouts are effective. Especially if they show no interest at first.


Group setting or partner workouts have been shown to produce better results. This is a result of increased intensity levels when working out with someone else.


Partner workouts create healthy competition. They instill a never-give-up attitude between two clients. Clients realize there is always still room to improve. No matter how long or hard they have been training with you, this helps produce the motivation to keep going.


A client’s workout buddy might be able to do more reps than them. In turn, your client aims higher each workout session. Also, it can be more affordable for two clients to train with you at the same time. This can help build your business and help clients remain committed.


Be sure to plan the exercises you will have clients perform. One of the biggest mistakes personal trainers make is creating workouts on the fly. Having a plan in place lets you focus on cueing and teaching clients rather than worrying about what you are going to do next.


7 Partner Exercises to Keep Clients Fit and Motivated


You can modify many exercises to include a partner. Here are seven exercises to work the whole body in a partner workout.


1. Palloff Press

Partner 1 holds one end of a resistance band and partner 2 holds the other end. They stand far enough apart to create tension on the band. Both partners hold the band at the upper chest level. They begin by pressing the band away from the body.


Make sure the arms press the band straight away remaining at the same height they started at. Cue clients to focus on fighting against the lateral tension of the band. To engage the core the band should provide enough tension that it feels like it is pulling the partners together.


2. Medicine Ball Slams

Partner 1 and partner 2 start by standing one arm’s length apart facing one another. Partner 1 squats down and grabs the medicine ball. Standing back up they perform an overhead slam straight in front of partner 2. At the same time, partner 2 is completing a bodyweight squat.


After partner 1 slams the medicine ball, partner 2 squats down to pick up the medicine ball. They both stand back up while partner 2 performs an overhead slam. At the same time, partner 1 performs a bodyweight squat. Repeat alternating medicine ball slams for time or repetitions. Increase clients’ heart rates more through timed sets or reps.

3. Push-up with High Five

Partner 1 and partner 2 assume push-up positions facing one another. Both partners begin by performing a push-up. At the top of each push-up partners alternate high fives and then repeat starting with the push-up again. Complete this bodyweight exercise for time or repetitions. Even though this is bodyweight training, it mimics a chest press exercise.


4. Wall Sit Medicine Ball Pass

Partners begin in a wall squat position with one partner holding a medicine ball. As they remain in the wall squat position with knees fully bent, have them rotate and hand off the medicine ball to one another. Make sure both partners touch the wall with the medicine ball to the opposite side of their partner first before handing it off.


5. Partner Plank and Pushup

Partner 1 assumes a high plank position. Partner 2, perpendicular to partner 1, assumes a push-up position with their hands on partner 1’s back. Partner 2 places one hand on the upper back and the other towards the middle back.


While partner 1 holds the pushup plank position, partner 2 performs pushups. Be sure to have partner 2 complete a set on each side of partner 1 to make sure they are balanced. To make this more challenging you can have clients raise one of their legs off the ground. This stimulates the core and upper body muscles. It puts more weight on one side of the body.


6. Wheelbarrow Push-up Walks

Partner 1 will assume a push-up position with their feet in the hands of partner 2. Partner 1 walks 10 yards on their hands and then performs five push-ups. Partner 2 has the job of holding the legs of partner 1 for a total of 50 yards. Once partner 1 completes 50 yards, they switch.


7. Pistol Squats

Partner 1 and partner 2 stand side by side. Partners take their left hand and grasp them together. Using each other as assistance, they lower down into a single-leg squat. Instruct them to pull as little as possible against one another to help them squat back up by pushing through their left foot. Ensure that when they squat down if their left hands are together, their right legs are extended straight out away from them. Perform the necessary repetitions and then switch sides. This is a great workout to target the quads and hamstrings.


Are you considering reaching more people at once as a personal trainer? Increase the impact you have by learning how to manage groups of clients. Expand your knowledge on how to help clients still reach their health and fitness goals with partner workouts. Check out ISSA’s Group Fitness Specialization.


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