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3 reasons why you should work out with a partner

For some working out alone can be boring and unmotivating. Working out with someone else can add commitment and make the experience of working out so much more fun.

In this post adapted from Partner Workouts, we explore some of the main benefits of working out with a partner.

Exercise adherence

When you look into a group fitness class or a small-group training session exercisers appear engaged, and a collective focus on achieving a group goal creates a unique experience, even if it is simply getting through the session or class together. A motivated instructor leads the charge, and training partners chat with each other while working out. Friends gather after the session and there are noticeably more smiles. Increased positive interactions, albeit in the novel environment of a gym or while doing something challenging, seem to boost the enjoyment factor.

If interactions with another like-minded individual can bring greater enjoyment to things that we must do, like staying active and eating well, partner workouts is a great way to program for success. Often cited in exercise adherence and physical activity goal-setting research, social interactions while working out with someone and receiving ongoing support from family and friends are strong predictors of exercise adherence. The workout buddy plan guides and helps people stick to their goals.

Occasionally, we all need an extra push to get our workouts done, and committing to someone else helps. There is also the guilt. Our conscience gets the best of us if we cancel. Plus, we don’t want the fallout associated with ghosting a friend if we bail on them or forget to show up. A workout buddy significantly increases adherence and keeps us bound to what we say we will do. Half the battle of a successful workout regime is won by simply showing up.


Partner workouts provide options such as shorter routines, less or no equipment, and the possibility of exercising together in the comfort and privacy of your own home.

Partner workouts do not require equipment. In several of the exercises, the partner becomes the actual resistance. Whether it is performing a move simultaneously to increase effort, such as linking arms together while squatting back-to-back, or adding resistance to a push-up by placing your hands on your partner’s back, the resistance is generated through the movement or partner. No equipment is needed. Bodyweight training continues to be popular because it is simple and effective and can streamline workout time by eliminating equipment needs.

With time being our modern-day currency, minutes also matter. Performing challenging partner exercises allows more to be done in less time because, when an exercise is physically taxing, fewer reps are required. In addition, working out together means the time between sets is well used. If one partner is doing an exercise, the other can be assisting or motivating them, or using the time to actively recover between sets.

Partner workouts can be done almost anywhere, anytime. Any open studio or gym space that comfortably fits two people can accommodate a workout. The same applies to at-home training. Clear a room, work out in a garage, or hit an outdoor court or park. The perks of this style of training are that it is incredibly versatile, scalable to all fitness enthusiasts, and can be done at various locations.

Psychological benefits

Partner workouts promote cognitive and communication skills, and allow you to practice being present in the training processes. Working together cooperatively and building a strong foundation is the key to success to any great partnership. Psychologically, spending time and exercising with a partner, whether a friend, family member, or workout buddy, brings positive social interaction opportunities. Research has shown that creating connections through social bonds is one of the most important factors in life satisfaction (Setton et al. 2021; Bergland 2016). Simply put, being with people makes us happier. An even more beneficial long-term reward is that the happier we are, the more likely we are to continue taking care of ourselves, thus gravitating toward additional healthier outlets and positive lifestyle choices beyond exercise.

In addition to the psychological benefits and specific health goals, partner workouts are motivating for competitive individuals. Friendly competition can help workout buddies push each other. Especially for those further along their fitness journey, some hard-hitting competition may be exactly what is needed to take the workouts a step further and push outside of a comfort zone.

Exercise inspiration also develops from variety. When working out with a partner, there are many creative ways to put a new spin on familiar or favorite exercises. Who knew you could use your partner as a modified rowing machine or an agility marker? Variety increases enjoyment, decreases monotony, and challenges both partners. For these reasons, and many more listed in this chapter, partner workouts are a great way to join forces and tackle exercise with a fresh and fun approach.


If you are feeling inspired to grab a workout buddy and get started, Partner Workouts is filled with exercises and workouts for you to try.

Partner Workouts book cover

Adapted from:

Partner Workouts

Krista Popowych

Related books

The M.A.X Muscle Plan 2.0
Kettlebell Training
Women's Home Workout Bible
This entry was posted in: Fitness & Health


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