Partner-Resisted Exercises

Partner-Resisted Exercises - Partner Workout

Partner-resisted exercises are also body weight focused but with the addition of your partner adding more variable resistance to a movement to make it more challenging. The partner presses on a body part temporarily adding pressure or in some cases at a specific point in the movement pattern. Great care should be taken to ensure the correct amount of resistance is provided. Too little resistance won’t provide enough challenge in the exercise, and too much resistance may make your partner incapable of completing the reps and could potentially cause injury. Once again, proper communication between partners is very important. To better understand the concept of adding resistance, bring both your palms together in a prayer position and push the hands together as hard as possible. The resistance felt is called an isometric contraction. The muscles needed to push the hands together are activated, but they are not lengthening (eccentric muscle contraction) or shortening (concentric muscular contraction). Next, push the palms against each other again, but push the right hand harder than the left, shifting the elbow to the left. Return to center. Repeat to the right, moving across the body. Just enough resistance in either direction adds some challenge, but still allows movement. Allowing movement with resistance is the goal of many of the exercises.
Pushover Press
This exercise is a good icebreaker, especially for partners who are new to working out together. It is very difficult to push your partner off balance, which is not the true intent of this exercise. This exercise is meant to focus on core activation, upper body strength, and lower body stability versus movement. It is also an effective exercise for teaching the benefits of core activation and how a strong core is beneficial with stability and strength in all movements.
Movement Cues

  1. Stand facing each other, approximately one to two feet apart.
  2. Step forward with the right foot into an offset stance.
  3. Lift the hands to approximately shoulder height, positioning them palm to palm with the partner.
  4. Lower into an athletic ready position, knees slightly bent, center of gravity low, and core active.
  5. On the count of three, both partners push as hard as they can against each other without moving the feet, with the goal of trying to push each other off balance.
  6. Partners push for approximately 5 to 10 seconds; rest and repeat with the left foot forward.
  7. Repeat for reps.

Partner-Resisted Exercises - Pushover Press - Variation -Easy
Tips and Variations

  • During the pushing phase, partners should automatically drop into a deeper athletic position.
  • As an option, a ball (e.g., stability ball) can be used as a partner go-between and an alternative to pressing the palms together.

Lunge and Press
The lunge and press partner exercise improves core conditioning, lower body strength, and balance. It is also an excellent exercise for connecting with your partner in a fun and challenging way. This exercise is another good icebreaker for new partners.
Movement Cues

  1. Stand facing each other, approximately two feet apart.
  2. Step forward with the right foot, and lower into a lunge position with the right foot approximately one foot away from the partner’s right foot.
  3. With right arms lifted and elbows bent, press the right hands together to add some light pressure.
  4. While in the lunge position, bend the front leg at the knee to slowly lower down toward the floor and then straighten the leg to come back to the top of the lunge.
  5. Increase the amount of pressure through the right hands during the lowering and lifting.
  6. Repeat for reps before switching feet and hand positions.

Partner-Resisted Exercises - Lunge and Press - Variation - Moderate
Tips and Variations

  • – If the exercise is too challenging, try a squat. Face the opposite direction, two feet apart, with the arm lifted, and right hands connected, lowering and lifting in a squat position. Repeat for reps then switch directions and hand positions.
  • – To increase the challenge of the base move, place the left hands together above the right hands, adding pressure. Begin lowering in the lunge position then cooperatively release the right hands, keeping the left hands together, as you start to lift. Continue lowering and lifting in the lunge position with the left hands together.

    Wall Sit
    No wall? No problem when you have a partner. The muscles are engaged during the isometric contraction in the holding squat, but there is no movement. Once holding the position, the lower body muscles work hard to keep the rest of the body in position.
    Movement Cues

    1. Stand back-to-back and link arms.
    2. Using moderate pressure to begin, press the backs into each other.
    3. Working together, slowly walk out the feet, increasing and maintaining the upper body counterpressure against your partner.
    4. Bend the knees to lower the hips into a squat position until the thighs are parallel to the floor.
    5. Hold the position for time, focusing on pressing against each other through the back, keeping the hips stable and the core active.
    6. Repeat for reps.

    Partner-Resisted Exercises - Wall Sit - Variation - Hard
    Tips and Variations

    • – To modify the movement, don’t squat as low or hold as long.
    • – To increase the challenge, perform an upper body movement such as a shoulder press with a weight while staying in a low squat position.
    • – To further increase the challenge, lift one leg off the floor and hold.

    Credit: Adapted from Partner Workouts by Krista Popowych. Available for purchase at

    Check out this helpful article on exercise

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