There are two things I find contribute most to my overall health and happiness: 1. Working out 2. Spending time with friends. We all know exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, but did you know being social is too? According to a new study in Perspectives on Psychological Science, a lack of social relationships is associated with an increased risk for coronary heart disease and stroke. Hopefully that helps you see where I am going with this. Merging our exercise routines with our friends offers a ton of benefits. Here of someone the reasons I always think it’s better to exercise with a “workout buddy.”
Strength in numbers
No one said working out is easy, so why not include as much social support as possible? Having a friend or a whole group to sweat along side with always seems to make things better. Plus, they are also there to spot you on those heavy squats. Remember there is no rule against having fun and laughing during a workout!
There are tons of reasons why “we can’t make it to the gym today.” As a trainer, I’ve heard them all! However, when a commitment is made to an actual person we are psychologically more inclined to follow-through. At the beginning of the week try setting up some days and times when you and your workout partner(s) will train together. This is a great way to keep each other accountable and healthy!
There is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition between you and your workout buddy. When you workout next to a fit friend, there is more motivation to push yourself to keep up. How about trying a friendly game of who can hold the longest plank or do the most consecutive pull-ups?
Partner Workout Challenges
Partner workouts are a great way to push each other and have fun! They are also great for meeting new people within your group fitness class. Next time your coach tells you to grab a partner, find someone you haven’t worked with before. You never know what you guys will have in common! Here are some of my favorite partner workout challenges:
1. Cardio/Squat Hold Warm-up Partner A. Completes 30 reps of a cardio movement (jumping jacks, high knees, mountain climbers, etc.) while partner B. holds a squat.
2. Medicine Ball Rotational Passes Stand in an athletic stance (knees slightly bent, core engaged) facing partner. Partner A. holds medicine ball with both hands, elbows flexed, at chest level. Use abdominal muscles, hips, and glutes to rotate body quickly to right hip and throw explosively toward partner B. Partner B catches ball and quickly brings to their right hip before throwing back. (10 reps on each side)
3. High-five Push-upsBoth partners begin in a push-up position facing each other. At the same time complete a push-up and slap hands at top. (12-15 repetitions or find your partner max!)
4. Sit-ups With Plank Hold Partner A. lays on back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground while partner B. holds their feet in plank position. Partner A. completes full sit-ups. (30 seconds of sit-ups, immediately followed by 30 seconds of Russian twists.)
Having someone there to give you an extra push while stretching helps improve flexibility and
increases your range of motion. It is also helpful to have someone there to remind you to breathe deep and relax. Just remember to go slow when applying pressure to your partner and use good communication. Here are some great stretches to do with your workout buddy.
1. Partner Chest Stretch: Hold your arms out behind you, parallel to the floor. Your partner should be standing behind you and holding your lower arms and gently pushing your wrists together.
(Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds and switch)
2. Partner Lat Stretch: Bend at the waist and have partner in front hold onto your arms. Sit back and allow arms and lats to relax.
(Hold stretch for 20-30 seconds and switch)
3. Partner Straddle Stretch: Sit facing partner in a wide-legged straddle position, feet touching. Grasp hands. Have your partner lean back, drawing shoulder blades together as you bend forward at the hips. (Hold for 10 deep breaths, then switch)
Name: Stephanie Pollan
Nick Name: Steph Strong
G+O's Newest Group Training Instructor
Favorite Food: Lobster
Favorite Quote: "You got to be a beast. That's the only way they will respect you." -Nicki Minaj
Favorite Exercise: Lunges all day.
If she had one super power it would be: Don't need one.
Current goals: To get my clients stronger and keep them motivated in reaching their own goals.
Why she works at G+O: I work at G+O because of the amazing community and sick workouts.