Are you having trouble getting motivated to exercise? Grab a partner, whether it’s your spouse or another family member, and help each other stay motivated to work out with these fun exercises using only your body weight. Start with 10-12 repetitions of each exercise.

Step Out and Clap

Purpose: This exercise works your muscles in the lateral (side to side) plane, which is important for balance and stability. Most exercises are done in the sagittal (front to back) plane, which can lead to muscle imbalances. This is a good warmup to activate your glutes and get your heart rate up.

How to do it: Stand facing your partner an arm’s length away. Both of you step your right leg out to the side and clap your right hands. Repeat on the other side. Continue for 3-5 minutes until you feel warmed up.

Make it harder: Speed it up and kick your leg out without touching the floor with your foot, so you hop from one foot to the other.

Inchworm, Plank, Slap

Purpose: This exercise is great for shoulder mobility and strength, which will help prevent injuries. It’s also great for tight hamstrings, which is common if you spend a lot of time sitting.

How to do it: Stand facing your partner two of your body lengths apart. Both of you bend over into a forward fold, keeping your knees as straight as possible. Put your hands on the floor and “walk” with your hands forward until your body is in a plank position facing each other. Tighten your core as you lift your right hand, slap your partner’s right hand, and repeat with the left hand. Then walk your hands back to a forward fold, come to a stand squeezing your glutes on the way up. 

Make it harder: Add a pushup in plank before you slap hands.

Assisted Squat

Purpose: Squats are excellent as a whole-body exercise but also focus on glute strength. When you squat with a partner, it takes some trust as you use each other to keep from falling backward. It also works your upper back as you work against the resistance of your partner’s weight.

How to do it: Stand facing your partner, locking hands. Both of you sit back into a squat, keeping your arms straight. Squeeze your glutes and pull your partner’s arms to come back to a stand. 

Make it harder: Shift your weight to one leg and do a single leg squat. You can also hold a yoga strap between you to get deeper into your squat.

Sit-Up and High Five

Purpose: Sit-ups are an abdominal exercise that works the hip flexors. Hip flexors are typically tight and weak. By doing sit-ups with a partner, you can help each other raise up by using your feet.

How to do it: Sit facing your partner with your legs bent and feet intertwined and pressed together. With your hands at your chest, lower your body slowly to the floor, sit back up and high five your partner with both hands. 

Make it harder: Go toe to toe instead of intertwining your feet, and add a glute bridge on the floor by raising your hips up off the floor then lowering them back down.

Step Back Lunge to Balance

Purpose: This exercise works your balance and your anterior oblique sling, the connection of muscles and fascia between your opposite shoulder and hip. This is important for gait movements such as walking and running.

How to do it: Stand facing your partner about arms-length away. Hands on your hips, both of you step back with your right legs into a lunge, with your knees and hips at 90-degree angles. Push through your front leg, lift your back leg in front of you, keeping your knee bent and balance on your left foot. Touch both hands to your partner’s lifted knee. Repeat on one side for a number of reps, then do the other side.

Make it harder: When you lower into a lunge, lift both arms over your head to the same side as your back leg.

Seated Rotations

Purpose: Rotations work an important part of your core, your oblique muscles, which help stabilize your spine.

How to do it: Sit side by side next to your partner, about one body-width apart. Lie back onto your forearms, bend your knees and lift them directly over your hips. Tighten your core, squeeze your knees together, and rotate at your waist to turn your hips toward your partner and touch knees. Rotate back the other way and repeat. Switch sides.

Make it harder: Balance on your bottom with your arms in a genie position rather than on the floor behind you. Keep your upper body still during the movement.

By Jennifer Slaboda