Valentine’s day is fast approaching and the sweet smell of love is in the air… Or is that the smell of sweat? Working out alone can often be boring and manumits, resulting in a loss of focus and motivation. Studies show working out with your partner can not only benefit your workout but the health of your relationship. If you are looking for inspiration to start working out with your loved one, check out the top 10 couples exercises to try this Valentine’s Day season.
Working out with your significant other has many perks, including spending more time together. Research shows that couples who exercise together felt more satisfied in their relationships. This satisfaction, combined with the release of endorphins during exercise, helps to reduce stress and leads to fewer arguments. “Nonverbal mimicry”, or a behavior that a person copies from a conversational partner while they interact (Genschow et al., 2018), has also been shown to develop in partners who exercise together. Couples who workout together often sync up their actions such as running in unison, breathing together, or lifting weights in rhythm. This phenomenon affects the brain and increases emotional bonds between others.
Having a workout buddy can also increase your accountability to work out. It is easy to hit snooze in the morning or skip the gym after having a long day. When your partner is relying on you to spot them, it makes staying accountable a little easier. Give these top couple exercises listed below a try.
Top 10 Couple Exercises
* For these exercises you will need a weighted ball (a basketball, soup can, or gallon of milk can substitute) a long cut resistance band and optional boxing gloves.
- Medicine Ball Pass: Sit back to back with your partner, keep your back nice and tall, lift your feet from the floor engaging your core muscles. Use a weighted ball, turn to the side, and pass the ball to your partner. Continue the loop by having your partner pass the ball back to you. Repeat this 15x in each direction.
- Lunge High Five: Stand and face your partner, step one foot forward into a lunge position, making sure to keep your trunk up tall, hips forward, and your knee in line with your toe. As you lunge down, high five your partner with each repetition. Complete 15x on each leg.
- Squat with Arm Hold: Start by standing and facing your partner. Reach your arms out, hold on to each other, and squat simultaneously. Maintain a flat back and hinge at your hips, while keeping your knees behind your toes to reduce any knee strain. Repeat this 15x.
- Plank Hand Taps: To get into a plank position, get on your hands and knees, line up your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Allow your spine to reach a neutral position and engage your shoulder blade muscles by pulling them down away from your ears. Engage your belly and step one foot out at a time into a tall plank position. From this position, reach your left hand up to tap each other, then move back into a plank position. Hold your plank and complete 5 taps with each hand for a total of 10.
5.Wall Sit with a Ball Pass: Find a bare wall or closed door for you and your partner to be able to stand comfortably next to each other. Slide yourselves down the wall until your hips and knees are at about 90 degrees creating a sitting like position. Maintain this position with your back against the wall as you pass a medicine ball back and forth to each other. Hold the wall sit for 30 seconds and repeat 3x.
6.Tricep Kick Back with Single Band: Start by standing and facing your partner with each of you holding either end of a long piece of resistance band on the same side. Bend forward at your hips, maintain a neutral spine and bend your elbow 90 degrees. At the same time, maintain your elbow at your side and extend your arm back feeling the resistance through your tricep, slowly rebound your elbow back to 90 degrees. Repeat this 15x on each arm.
7. External Rotation with Long Band: Start by standing side by side with your partner holding onto a long piece of the resistance band in your outer hand. Lock your elbows in at your sides and engage your shoulder muscles pulling them down away from your ears. At the same time, move your outside forearm to the side while maintaining your locked elbow. Perform 15x before switching spots to repeat on the other arm.
8. Side Lunge with Ball Throw: Start by facing your partner with a few feet in between you. One partner holds a weighted ball close to your chest, at the same time each of you lunges to the side. As you both come back to the center, the person with the ball tosses it over to the other and you each repeat a side lunge to the same side. Continue this sequence for 10x then switch legs.
9.Jump Squat High Five: Start by facing your partner then one of you take a step to the side so that only one of your feet is inline. At the same time, move into a squat position, making sure to maintain a neutral spine and fold at your hips. From a low squat position, both of you explode up into a jump extending your arm out to high five each other. Perform 10x then switch sides to high five your other hand.
10.Boxing (use gloves) : Start by facing your partner with one person wearing boxing mitts to protect their hands while engaging their core muscles. (If you do not have mitts you can try holding small pillows in your hands). The partner without gloves on will start by crossbody punching the mitts getting a nice rotation at their trunk and extension at the elbow. Perform 20x with each hand before switching.
It is important that all of the above exercises are pain-free! If you find that you are consistently having pain prior to trying these exercises, consider seeking professional help from a physical therapist or doctor. Physical therapy is a great resource in managing multiple conditions and can help improve overall posture and body awareness. For more information on how Action Potential can help you, request an appointment today.
References: Genschow, O. , Klomfar, S. , d’Haene, I. , & Brass, M. (2018). Mimicking and anticipating others’ actions is linked to social information processing. PloS One , 13(3), e0193743. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0193743 [Crossref], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®], [Google Scholar]