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If you feel a surge of motivation when you’re working out with a partner, it’s not just in your head. Research shows that buddying up for a workout can help you push past personal doubt and sweat through those last few reps. And since it's the holiday season, we're gonna make a bet you'll have someone to sweat with over the next few weeks. You’ll exercise harder when you’re sweating side-by-side (or with a virtual partner) than you would when solo. Turns out a little healthy competition never hurt anyone! Plus, having a partner in crime can increase the fun factor — which might just help you fall in love with your fitness routine. A serious sweat session doesn’t always need to be serious!
So schedule a mini strength session with your bestie, significant other, coworker or kids, and team up for the core exercises below. (Keep in mind, the exercises are listed from easiest to hardest.) The buddy system is not overrated, folks.
Ab Workout: 3 Partner Exercises for a Stronger Core
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1. Patty Cake Plank
How to: Start in a high plank position, balancing on your hands and toes. Shoulders should be directly above your wrists and your feet should be hip-width apart (a). Keeping your core engaged and maintaining a straight line from head to toe, swing your right leg to the side and gently tap your toes on the ground. Your right leg should be about 45 degrees from your left leg (b). Bring your right leg back to center and perform the same movement with the left leg (c). Next, bring your right hand off the floor and extend your arm straight out from your shoulder, reaching diagonally to slap palms with your partner. Bring your right hand back to the floor and repeat movement with your left hand (d). Repeat the sequence at a brisk pace for 60 seconds.
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2. Best Friend Oblique Sit-Ups
How to: Lay next to your partner on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Hands should be placed on either side of your head and your shoulders should be pulled back and relaxed to avoid tension in the neck. Your back should be flat against the floor (a). Engage your core and peel your shoulders off the floor to an upright position, rotating your torso towards your partner as you reach the top (b). Take the outside arm (the one that is farthest from your partner) and reach across your body, firing your oblique muscles, to give your partner a high five (c). Bring your hands back to cradle your head, and carefully lower your upper body back to the floor (d). Repeat this exercise at a brisk pace for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
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3. Double Trouble Leg Circles
How to: Lay with your back on the floor, hands placed under your glutes with your legs extended straight out. Your partner should also be lying on the floor across from you, with the soles of both your feet almost touching (a). Lift your legs straight up in the air and lower them gently, your core engaged and your back flush against the floor. Stop when it becomes difficult to keep your back against the floor (b). Next, keep your core engaged and slowly draw a circle clockwise in the air with your feet. (Your partner should be going counter clockwise, so your feet don’t knock into each other.) (c). Repeat for 30 seconds, then switch to counterclockwise for 30 seconds. Having trouble making it through? If this move is tough for you, try bending your knees to 90 degrees.
Want more partner exercises like these? Head to DailyBurn.com/365 to get a new live workout every day.
Originally published September 2015. Updated December 2015.