There is a saying that’s been around for a long time, ‘couples that sweat together, stay together’. Whilst there are exceptions to every rule, in general, the saying holds true. The act of training together encourages couples to build better relationships and this has been demonstrated in a great deal of research. The reasons for this are largely what you would expect… spending quality time together doing an activity both people enjoy, whilst improving fitness, health and body image are all positive factors.
Beyond this basic understanding, however, researchers have also discovered that cooperating with a partner to complete physical tasks, such as passing a medicine ball back and forth during sit-ups, is a form of nonverbal mimicry that helps strengthen emotional bonds. The increased heart rate, sweating and shortness of breath that occurs during exercise mimics the response to romantic attraction. This similarity in physiological states encourages both the formation and strengthening of relationships.
Training as a couple can also improve exercise performance and help to achieve fitness goals. Even in couples where there is a large difference in fitness and strength, there is a definite benefit to training together. Researchers have highlighted this in their attempts to understand the links between obesity and social bonds. One person making an effort to change lifestyle habits creates a situation where this helps others and ultimately encourages mutual reinforcement of healthy behaviours.
One great way for couples to exercise together is by setting a goal to compete or participate in an event. This could be a 5km fun run, a lengthy hike through the wilderness, an obstacle course run, or even just a goal to improve a personal best on a lift in the gym or on something like the beep test.
But it doesn’t have to revolve around any specific goal or competition. Exercise should be hard and a challenge, but it should also be fun.
Here are some couple’s workout challenges that incorporate cooperation, hard work and fun, and will give an idea of the many exercises that can be done with a partner!
THE CORE CHALLENGE
Complete as many repetitions within a minute of each exercise – repeat as many times as you like!
- Feet Connected Bicycle
- Plank and Crawl
- Hip crossover
- Hanging Sit Ups
- Plank Claps
- Kettlebell Sit-Up
- Seated Kettlebell Ball Twist
Watch how to do The Core Challenge
TAG WITH A TWIST
Complete 3 x five-minute rounds, whoever gets the most tags wins (and does the dishes)!
- Bear Shoulder Touch
- Crab Foot Touch
Watch how to do Tag with a Twist
Complete 3 x 10-15 repetitions of each exercise
- Partner Squats
- Partner Leg Press
- Partner Lunges
- Partner Cross Back Lunges
- Prisoner Sit and Stand
Watch how to do the Leg Burner