We've all heard the expression "couples who sweat together stay together". Training with your partner is an awesome way to increase your motivation and get into tip-top shape this Valentine's Day!
Working out sometimes takes a little extra motivation and whether you're training with a personal trainer or in a group, having people holding you accountable can lead to improved exercise habits overall. According to a 2011 study published in "Psychology of Sport and Exercise", "romantic partners may model exercise behaviour" and fosters healthy relationships. Taking the emotional support of your relationship into the gym can lead to better results and greater dedication to achieving fitness goals. According to personal trainer Richard Woolrich, "when both you and your partner are invested in the same goals, there will be a greater chance of success".
There are a range of exercises to try with your partner — from body sparring to creating a circuit that you can work through together. Couples yoga can be another way to strengthen your yoga practice as well as your relationship. "Yoga teaches you live in the present, helps you relax and promotes patience. It also increases self-awareness, making you a better partner," says Woolrich. Dylan van Vuuren, 29, says that when he first tried yoga with his partner, it was an interesting shift from what he was used to in his practice. "It is definitely different as you move at a different level or pace than on your own. Either faster or slow depending on where you are in your yoga journey versus your partner." It was something new and fresh, "like starting yoga all over again and it will take practice to do the poses [with your partner] properly". While working out with his partner is not something Van Vuuren ordinarily enjoys, a couples yoga class was a welcome new experience. "Working out is usually my personal time, but this was a fun activity together as we both like bonding."
Try taking your partner along to the gym and add Woolrich's ideas for a couples workout to your routine.
Partner Pull-Ups: Standing face-to-face, about half a metre apart, reach out, taking hold of your partner's hand with both thumbs crossed. Using the same hand as they are, form a cross-like shape. Once you have a firm grip, begin to lean back simultaneously into a squat position and then lower yourselves further into a sitting position. Once you reach the floor begin to stand up again using your body weight and arm strength to pull yourself as well as your partner up off the floor. Repeat for 20 reps before changing arms.
Resistance Band Lunge Twists: Standing side-by-side, both you and your partner will hold one end of the resistance band with both hands. Stand far enough apart from each other so as to create a light tension in the band. Simultaneously lunge forward with your outside leg, sinking into a lunge with both knees bent. Keep a tight core and straight back. From your lunge position, keeping a firm grip on the band, rotate away from your partner, twisting only the upper body. Rotate back to the centre and push back up to the starting position. Continue for 12 reps before switching sides.
Medicine Ball Throws: Get down onto the mat in a seated position. Your partner will stand facing you at the end of the mat — medicine ball in hand. Proceed to do a sit-up, catching the ball that they're throwing as you come up back into a seated position. Throw it back to them immediately before going into the next sit-up. Sit-up, catch, throw, repeat for at least 20 reps before switching over. Co-ordination is key, and you can also play with speed. It's a great workout for toning abs, arms and strengthening your back and shoulders.