Full-body twist ()
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I always say a workout should focus on the task at hand — and that if you want to socialize, you should join a bridge club.
But if you do it the right way, you can take your workout up a notch when you "partner up." A good partner will not allow you to ease off, will push you to do that extra rep, can set the bar a bit higher and may even tell a good joke at the end.
This workout involves a partner as part of each exercise, using different fitness tools.
Partner-assisted horizontal pullup
This body-weight exercise can really raise the ante. One person, the "setter," gets into a ¼- to ½-squat, flexing at the hips, back neutral. Brace elbows on knees with forearms and hands set forward. The "setter" is required to stiffen and act as a pullup bar.
The partner slides between the setter's legs, tightens the core, grasps the setter's forearms and completes a horizontal pullup to maximum height before returning to the start. Both partners get intense core strengthening and stabilization work. Work up to 10 reps.
You'll really feel this one along the obliques. Both individuals start in plank position, facing each other, feet at shoulder width (progressions will narrow the feet separation).
Partner A keeps the arms at 90 degrees while partner B extends the arm (slight elbow bend) and grasps partner A's opposite side hand. Each partner brings his connected arms off the floor, keeping hips level. Partner B pulls partner A's arm toward him until the starting position is reversed. Partner A should provide resistance as necessary during the pull. Switch sides and complete the same number of reps. Work up to 10.
Medicine ball toss on BOSU balls
This straightforward exercise is excellent for balance and stabilization. The BOSU ball provides an unstable surface. Set up close and speed up the throws for power. Set up farther apart for strength. Try to keep an athletic stance throughout. Concentrate on starting each throw from the chest. Keep tossing for a predetermined time.
This can get the heart rate up very quickly, especially if you add a slope to the run. One partner puts the band around the waist or wears it as a sash from shoulder to opposite hip. The partner holding the band must maintain a steady amount of resistance so the runner can hold an even tempo. Switch positions for the return run. Run for a predetermined time or distance.
This works the core and obliques. Stand back to back, about 18 inches apart. Adjust so you can achieve a full twist.
Partner A holds a medicine ball at chest level and turns through the right shoulder. Partner B turns through the left shoulder and takes the ball. Both partners rotate, turning through the opposite shoulders, and exchange the ball again. Don't go too fast; you can get dizzy. Keep handing off the ball for a predetermined time or number of reps.
Core-stabilizing ball slap
This one is fun and can be done sitting or standing, holding a stability ball (aka. "yoga ball") in a hug or with arms extended.
Both partners take an athletic position, knees flexed, back neutral. One partner holds the stability ball, and the other slaps the ball from all angles. You'll achieve an easier start if you hold the ball against your chest. (No need to stand on an unstable surface.) Keep slapping for time or reps.
Bob Thomas is a Military Times fitness writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.