Ideas for exercising with your partner or friends

How to develop group exercise sessions

Exercising with friends or family members can be a fruitful experience, allowing for co-operation, motivation and workout competition. Here's the realbuzz guide on some exercise workout ideas that could allow you a fun and active joint workout session.

When you’re thinking of the best way to train with your partner or friend, the key ingredient is to be imaginative with your training sessions. Now that you’re not ‘going solo’, you can get more out of each workout with just a little planning. Try out one of the following ideas to jazz up your exercise sessions together...

Hare and hounds running

It doesn’t matter if you both have different fitness levels, just try this workout for a really competitive, quality workout session.

  1. Pick a short circular route, perhaps around your neighborhood or local park, ideally with some open space so that you can see your training partner.
  2. Calculate your separate predicted finishing times for say five consecutive laps.
  3. Subtract the slowest predicted time from the fastest.
  4. The slower runner sets off first.
  5. After the difference between the two predicted times calculated in 3 above has elapsed, the faster runner starts.
  6. The session is finished when both runners have completed five laps each.

This type of workout is extremely motivating as the ‘hare’ tries to stay ahead and the ‘hound’ races to try and catch the hare. As your fitness levels change, simply tweak the start times slightly and for further variety, vary the number of laps.

Gym partner sets

Another great motivator, whether you are matched with your partner or not, is to train in sets with your gym partner. It helps you to train effectively together and enhance each other’s workout.

  • Partner one executes their first resistance-training exercise.
  • Partner two sets up the weights or equipment for partner one’s second exercise.
  • As soon as partner one finishes their exercise, partner two takes over.
  • Whilst partner two trains, partner one prepares partner two’s next exercise.
  • This process is repeated with each partner helping the other.

This session is extremely dynamic and minimizes wasted time in the gym. Neither partner can duck out of their next exercise because they’re not setting it up! Additionally, always having your partner in close proximity means that safety is covered and you always have a motivator close at hand.

Al fresco active

This session is ideal for a group of friends and different levels of fitness are easily catered for.

  1. You all meet up at your local neighborhood or park.
  2. Each person brings a list of three or four exercises.
  3. Each exercise is carried out for a pre-determined time, say 30 seconds, followed by an agreed rest period, say one minute.
  4. One group member starts by demonstrating their first exercise and then everyone executes it for 30 seconds.
  5. The second group member nominates and demonstrates an exercise, after which everyone follows.
  6. The circuit continues until everyone has completed their list or if the group is large, everyone has completed two exercises.

With this session, the rule is that everyone works at their own pace and level. Because of the variety of exercises, no-one is likely to be strong at them all, so every group member can do well.

A motivating element of the al fresco session is group members bringing in new exercises for each session. Exercise ideas include: press-ups, tricep dips, sit-ups, alternate leg squat thrusts, sprints, back extensions, there are endless choices.

As with any exercise session, don’t forget to include a warm-up and cool-down with these exercise ideas, so that you get the most out of the session and to ensure you don’t risk pulling cold muscles.

A real exercise partnership

By partnering up with friends or family, your workouts need never be dull, and as well as bringing additional training benefits, they are great social opportunities; before – as you prepare for your session, during – as you motivate each other during the session and afterwards – as you relax after your session.

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