A few weeks ago, I wrote an article that featured a 10-minute total-body workout that you can do anytime, anywhere. This week, I wanted to give you a routine that is still efficient, quick and convenient—no fancy equipment or gym membership required!—but is designed specifically for two.
Whether it's with a friend, family member or significant other, I think we can all agree that exercise is more fun when done with others. Not only that, but we often push ourselves harder when we're sweating alongside someone else and are less likely to skip warmups, skimp on stretching or snip the workout short.
As I like to mention every time I program a workout, be sure to dedicate at least five minutes to stretching at the end of your session, focusing on the muscles most emphasized that day, as well as any areas that feel particularly tight or sore.
Stretching improves circulation, increases flexibility, helps maximize the range of motion in your joints and reduces soreness and stress! Each stretch should be held between 15 and 30 seconds and should feel good. If it becomes painful, ease up a bit, breathe deep and go slower.
Also essential to any workout, whether wrestling, weightlifting or water aerobics, is a proper warmup.
Why Warm Up?
Because warming up properly is full of benefits, including:
- Elevation of body temperature
- Increase blood flow in the muscles
- Improves efficient cooling
- Improves range of motion
- Reduces incidence and likelihood of musculoskeletal injuries
- Supplies adequate blood flow to heart
- Provides rehearsal of movements performed in the workout
- Mental preparation
Warming prepares us for an effective and rewarding workout. When the workout (the fun part!) begins, our blood is flowing hot, our hearts are pumping strong, and our minds are thinking fast, each part of us giving 100 percent to the exercises at hand.
Below, you will find a thorough warmup, followed by a 10-minute workout that will only require a pair of dumbbells (perhaps two pairs if you and your partner are on different fitness levels). The workout targets the entire body in a high-intensity format, strengthening your muscles while conditioning your cardiovascular system and burning fat—win, win, win!
- 20 Lunges With Twist Over Lunging Knee
- 15 Slow Air Squats (lower for 5 seconds, then explode up)
- 20 Jumping Jacks
- 30 Arm Circles Each Direction
- 5 Burpees
Set a timer for 10 minutes and repeat the circuit below as many times as possible. Divide the reps up however you wish, but only one partner can work at a time. For example, in the first exercise (Air Squats), Partner 1 may do six repetitions while Partner 2 rests. Then Partner 2 may jump in and complete the last six reps for a total of 12.
- 12 Air Squats
- 8 Dumbbell Thrusters
- 10 Partner Burpees
- 12 Dumbbell Rows
Exercise Instructions, in order listed:
Lunge With Twist Over Lunging Knee:
a. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, torso upright with arms hanging straight at your sides.
b. Take a slow, controlled lunge forward with one foot. As you lunge, lower your body and allow the lunging knee to bend until your thigh is parallel to the ground.
c. In the lunge position, bend your elbows at 90 degrees and rotate your torso in the direction of your bent knee.
a. Stand with your feet spread apart at a distance slightly wider than the shoulders. Position your feet so that your toes angle out. This angle varies from person to person, but should be about 30 degrees. Keep your weight on the heels to prevent yourself from rolling up onto the balls of your feet.
b. Keep your chest up, shoulders back, head up. This helps promote a nice, safe, intact lumbar curve.
c. Place arms straight out in front of your chest. The arms should be in a comfortable position as they act as counter balance to the motion of the exercise.
d. Bend your knees as you lower yourself down. Pretend there is a chair behind you that you're reaching back to sit on. Your knees should track over your feet and never jut out over them. In other words, your knees should be pointing in the same direction as your toes. If you find your knees starting to cave in, focus on pushing them out. A good way to achieve this is by imagining you are tearing the floor apart with your feet.
e. The push back up should be generated from your hamstrings and glutes. Your chest and head should remain pointing straight forward. As you rise, your arms will probably lower back to your sides naturally. Make sure your knees keep tracking with your toes and do not begin to buckle inwards. Also be sure to keep your lumbar curve intact (curved). Generally speaking, if you have your chest and head up, your lumbar curve will be in the correct position.
a. Begin by standing feet together with arms at your sides.
b. Bend your knees and jump, moving your feet apart until they are wider than shoulder width. (You should be on the balls of your feet.) At the same time, raise your arms all the way overhead.
c. Maintain a slight bend in your knees as you jump your feet back together and return your arms to your sides. Repeat for the given number of reps.
a. Stand in a neutral position with feet hip-width apart. Your arms should be straight out to the sides so your body forms a "T."
b. Begin making slow circles in a forward motion with your arms, then gradually make larger ones and complete the given number of repetitions.
c. Repeat in the opposite direction.
a. Lower your body down using proper squat form. Place hands on the ground in front of you.
b. Jump your feet back to a plank position, then quickly lower your chest to the ground.
c. Push yourself back up to a plank position and jump your feet back in toward your hands.
d. Jump back up and simultaneously clap your hands behind your head. Stand up all the way, extending the hips fully before beginning your next rep.
NOTE: To modify this exercise, you may eliminate the push-up component. To further modify for beginners, you may also walk your feet out and back in instead of jumping them out and in.
a. Hold a pair of dumbbells in front of your shoulders with bent elbows. Feet should be in your squat stance (see the description for "Air Squats" above).
b. Initiate the squat by pushing your hips back, then bend your knees as you lower yourself down as in a normal squat. Make sure your torso remains upright. Do not allow the dumbbells to pull you forward.
c. As your return to a standing position, explosively press the dumbbells overhead. Make sure your biceps are by your ears in the overhead position and that your legs are straight.
d. Lower the dumbbells to your shoulders and repeat for the given number of repetitions.
- Partner One stands with arms raised overhead.
- Partner Two performs a burpee and "high fives" both of Partner One's hands as both partners do the jump portion of the burpee.
Bent-Over Dumbbell Row
- Stand with knees bent and your torso at a 60-degree angle.
- With the weights fully extended straight down in your hands, bring them straight up to your chest, contracting your shoulder blades fully.
- Slowly return to the starting position.
Diana Anderson-Tyler is the author of Creation House's Fit for Faith: A Christian Woman's Guide to Total Fitness, Perfect Fit: Weekly Wisdom and Workouts for Women of Faith and Fitness, and her latest book, Immeasurable: Diving into the Depths of God's Love. Her popular website can be found at dianaandersontyler.com and she is the owner and a coach at CrossFit 925.
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