Partner Workout in the Gym

Partner workouts are a blast. There is someone holding you accountable to not only showing up to the workout, but for mentally showing up so that you can perform at your optimal best.

According to Orangetheory Fitness Los Angeles Coach Lal Knight, “Either your partner is pushing you and challenging you to do your best or you are challenging your partner to perform at his or her best. No matter what, someone is going to be pushing the other to give their best efforts through each rep throughout the routine. I always say that if you’re not working hard for yourself, then you’re working hard for your partner. This means you are going to be working hard no matter how you slice it and the end result will always be a successful one.”

So grab your partner and let’s dive in...

This workout can be done at any gym and uses all the basic moves from equipment that virtually every gym should have.

The workout consists of 4 sets of each exercise, 12 reps each. While partner “A” performs the machine exercise, Partner “B” does the floor exercises until Partner A finishes and then you switch. Partner A is therefore acting as the pacer of the set, so (s)he shouldn’t rush through the reps, but (s)he determines when Partner B stops doing their floor exercise.

Let’s begin:

Seated Low Row with Plank Variation:


Seated Row: (Partner A)


Sit on the bench and place your feet on the foot plates, grab the handles and push your way back to an upright seated position with a slight bend in your knees. Initiate the movement through your scapula squeezing in towards the middle of your back, and hold for a count. Slowly straighten your arms forward without hinging forward through the spine. Exhale the breath on the way back, and inhale on the way forward. Avoid locking your elbows at the bottom of the exercise.

Plank Variation: (Partner B)


1st set: Basic Plank on your hands or forearms and ball-mounts of your feet. Engage your stomach muscles by snapping your belly button up towards your spine. Be sure to breathe.

2nd set: Plank with one leg up (hover your toes off the ground as to not go too high up and keep your hips neutral facing the ground) At the 6th rep, Partner A announces “6” and Partner B switches legs while remaining in a plank.

3rd set: Plank with one arm behind your back (keep your hips and trunk neutral facing the ground) At the 6th rep, Partner A announces “6” and Partner B switches arms.

4th set: Plank with Chest taps. Keep your core engaged and tap your chest with opposite hands until Partner A finishes the set.

Iso-Squat Low Row into Seated Core:

Iso-Squat Low Row: (Partner A)


First set yourself up in an iso-squat with your legs hip distanced apart. All toes facing forward and your knees tracking in the same direction as your toes. Sit your hips back and pull your belly in. When you grab the handle bringing yourself into this iso-squat, be sure to bend your knees. Exhale the breath as you draw your elbows through your sides pointing to the back wall. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pause at the top of the exercise. Keep your back straight and neutral the whole range of motion and avoid arching your shoulders forward. If you do, lower the weights. Keep your core engaged the whole set. Inhale as you lengthen the arms forward, exhale the breath as you bring your arms back.

Seated Core: (Partner B)


1st set: V Pose: Lift out of the lower back and avoid putting pressure in your lower back. Option to have your legs up with your knees bent or straight (the challenge) or your feet on the ground.

2nd set: V Pose with Shoulder extension: Keep the same position as the 1st set only lift your arms overhead and bring them down.

3rd set: V Pose with Bicycle Legs: Again, lift up through the trunk to keep the core engaged. If your hip flexors are too tight, then instead of extending your legs out, simply bend the knees and tap the heels to the ground, which will shorten the lever length and pressure placed on your hips.

4th set: Oblique Rotations: V Pose with oblique rotations using your arms as external load. Keep your core engaged and only rotate a little to each side.

Straight Arm Lat Pulldown into Triceps Pushdown with Chair Pose Variation:

Straight Arm Lat Pulldown to Triceps Pushdown: (Partner A)This one is to be done in a superset fashion with 12 reps each.


Straight Arm Lat Pulldown: Simply stand back with your feet hip distanced apart, butt back and your core engaged. Keep a straight back and avoid any arching in the spine. With straight arms, pull the bar to your thighs and pause at the bottom of the exercise squeezing your shoulders down and back. You should feel your lats engaged. If you are elevating your shoulders up or arching your back, then you must lower the weight. Extend the arms forward as you inhale for 4 counts. On the way down, exhale the breath for 2 counts back to your thighs and hold for a count to get that squeeze.


Triceps Pushdowns: Simply move forward and bring your elbows into your side body. Isolate the triceps by maintaining this squeeze of the arms into your side body. Exhale the breath as you drive your arms straight down. Pause at the bottom. Then slowly bend the elbows to bring the arms back up with your hands coming to your chest height before bringing them back down.

Chair Variation: (Partner B) Also known as utkatasana in yoga.


1st set: Basic Chair: big toes joined with your knees together. If you have knee or hip issues, you can keep your legs hip distanced apart. Avoid sitting your hips so far back causing an excessive arch in your lower back.

2nd set: Chair Pose into chair with Airplane Arms. Keep an emphasis on the depths of the iso-squat and on airplane and be sure to squeeze your shoulder blades together in the back, driving your shoulders down and away from your ears.

3rd set: Chair Pose with Hip Extension. Keep your hips neutral and low as you step one foot back. Keep all the weight in the standing leg and only tap the back toes before engaging your core to bring that leg back to chair pose. Then switch sides. This weight transferring will allow you to work on continued core activation along with proprioception which is your brain’s ability to know where it is spatially.

4th set: Chair Pose with a Twist: While keeping your hips neutral, rotate through your trunk from side to center to the other side and use your elbows to hook the opposite thigh to get the full twist. Go slow on these, while maintaining the isometric hold in the legs. Keep the knees and hips facing forward and only go as far as you can control the exercise.

Warrior Arms Combo:


Biceps and Triceps Superset for a total of 4 exercises (Both Partners Together)

Hammer Curls: Face the palms inward, keep the elbows pinned to your side body and lift the weights up towards your shoulders. Avoid hitting the dumbbells to your shoulder joints. Slowly lower the weights down as you inhale and before extending your elbows, exhale and lift the weights back up.

Iso-squat Triceps Kickbacks: Sit your hips back similar to chair pose with your legs hip distanced apart, and core always engaged and pin your arms to your side body. Kick your knuckles back to the back wall and pause on the extension. Drive your shoulders back and avoid arching your back. If you arch or come out of the iso-squat, lower your weights and focus on core engagement first.

Biceps 21’s: Supinate the hands to where the palms face up. Pin your elbows close to your side body and think: 7-7-7=21. You are doing 7 reps, full range of motion biceps curl, followed by 7 reps halfway down, and then 7 reps halfway up. Because of the high repetitions, lower your weights compared to your hammer curls above.

Overhead Triceps Extension: Be very very mindful of how you get into the exercise. Cup your hands around one bell on the dumbbell and drive your arms directly over head with your arms coming through close to your body. This will put no unnecessary stress on the shoulder and spine. Once your arms are overhead, with a neutral spine, slowly bend your elbows forward while lowering the weight down towards your upper back. Exhale the breath as you extend the arms up towards the sky and pause at the top to maximize your squeeze in the triceps. Once you do your set, come out of the exercise the same way you came into the exercise.

Because the Warrior’s Arm Blast is done together, The partner must wait for the other to start the next exercise. If they get a few seconds to recover, they can only benefit.

Enjoy this partner’s workout. Please share with your friends.

Video Credits: Catarina