Tutorial Thursday 42 – Partner exercises

Tutorial Thursday - Partner exercises

„Wanna go to the gym?“

Not only because they can be good company can training partners be a great addition. You can also do other things with them. Tutorial Thursday will tell you what exactly they can add to your workouts.

You can always train alone, and quite effectively at that. But have you ever tried partner exercises? And I don’t mean handing your training partner the barbell from the station so he/she can achieve a new PR. Sure, ‘spotting’ is one of the advantages when you are going to the gym with a friend. One can watch out for the other and make sure he/she doesn’t get crushed by a barbell. That’s friendship right there! Another great aspect is the fact that there is always someone who can capture your training mishaps and put them on the interwebs so you can rewatch it for all eternity:

But you can be even more effective as a training partner. Take sandbag training for example. There are countless exercises where you hand, throw, push or pull over the sandbag. Trust me, it’s fun!

Sandbag partner exercises

Just try it: stand opposite of each other about one meter apart, your feet are shoulder-width apart. One of you has the sandbag in the so-called front rack position, also known as Zercher position, so on your upper arms in front of the shoulders. Partner 1 does a front squat and stretches the hip explosively at the end so the sandbag gathers enough energy to jump up. You can push it up with your arms a bit to create more momentum. The sandbag should fly over to partner 2 who catches it with the upper arms in front of the shoulders, leads the sandbag downwards with a front squat, and throws the weight back like partner 1 did before. You do this repeatedly. Make sure you catch the sandbag with a straight back at all times and do the front squat with perfect form.

Another great exercise is the plank with outside pull. Both of you get into a plank position parallel to each other. Let’s say partner 1 is left and partner 2 is right. Partner 1 starts by pulling the sandbag with their left arm underneath their own plank to the left side. Then partner 1 pulls the sandbag with the right arm until it lies directly next to partner 2, to the right of partner 1. Then, partner 2 does them same, pulling the sandbag away from partner 1 and then towards partner 1. Repeat, repeat, repeat. A great exercise to strengthen your core and your shoulders. Make sure to keep a straight plank at all times. Don’t move your hip at all when you pull the sandbag.

aeroSling partner exercises

If you own an aeroSling or a different dynamic sling trainer with a pulley, then you can try some partner exercises as well. The pulley allows both of you to hold one handle and create the training resistance for the other.

Outer rotation with the aeroSling:

The aeroSling is mounted about shoulder high on a pole, a lantern, or on any other sturdy object. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees are slightly bend, and you can look directly at each other. Choose the distance to the anchor point of the aeroSling so that both of you can can hold one handle right in fron of you with your arms straight. This is the starting position. Partner 1 starts rotating away from the anchor point while partner 2 slowly rotates towards the anchor point and creates the training resistance for partner 1. Make sure to rotate around your spine alone, no evasive movements allowed! This exercise is great to tease your partner because the partner who rotates outwards is typically a bit stronger than the partner who rotates inwards (excentric vs concentric). Apart from this fun factor this exercise has the big advantage that there is constant stress, even when the partner pulls their handle away from the anchor point.

And with a Flex Handle S or XL there are even more exercises that you can do. Take a look at the video below for some inspiration.

Partner bodyweight exercises

Those were only a few examples for partner exercises with small equipment. There are a bunch more, of course. There is practically no limit to your options. Even bodyweight training can be improved by partner exercises (I know what you think, knock it off!). See the following video for some examples:

The advantages of partner exercises are:

  • Fun!!!

    Being active together and even coming up with suitable exercises is simply great. You can talk with each other, have a laugh, and motivate each other. Time flies when you are training together. A problem shared is a problem halved. This, in a way, holds true for training together as well. I wouldn’t call training a problem, however. But you get what I am trying to say.
  • Variety & more possibilitiesh3> There is nothing worse than monotonous training. You have already seen a few examples to spice up your training but there is always more.

  • Supervision

    As already mentioned you have constant supervision through your training partner. Thus, you have somebody to correct you when you have bad form. Provided that you both know correct form.
  • Bonding

    Training together helps building bonds. Especially in our stressful and hectic times it is good to spend some intensive time with a buddy. So why not train together and bring the friendship to a new level?

In the end, there are only two things left to say:

Give partner training a chance and try it.

get functional!
Your Fabien

Author: Fabien Mpouma

Fabien is bachelor of arts sportscience (DSHS) and since his studies he is working in the sector of health- and rehabilitation sports. He was course instructor for several institutions in the field of rehabilitation and mental and physical disease. He has a lot of experience in prevention with adults, youths, and children. He worked as regional manager for Outdoor Gym and now as a Personal Trainer and Foodcoach. Since 2014 he is Manager for Training & Education and Head Coach for aerobis. In 2016 he opened his own facility for Personal- and Grouptraining in his hometown Siegburg. Stay in contact with Fabien by sending him an email

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