Finding motivation to work out can be hard enough without the pressure of fitting into a dress or a tux, but having a partner usually makes it bearable—and who better to join you in your workouts than your fiance? We spoke to some of our favorite instructors and personal trainers to find the most creative and effective couple’s workouts. Below, you’ll find the best ways to sweat with your significant other, from simple body weight resistance moves to intricate circuits.
Use Medicine Balls and Resistance Bands
Weighted medicine balls and resistance bands are an easy way to incorporate a partner into your workout, and there are endless ways to use them. For a great ab exercise, sit back-to-back and pass a medicine ball back and forth, twisting to each side to catch the ball—see how fast you can go! You can also throw a medicine ball back and forth while you stand and face each other for a great arm sculpter.
Want to tone your biceps? Have one partner perform a wall-sit, holding the middle of a resistance band while the other partner grabs each end of the band and does bicep curls.
Use Your Body Weight
Don’t want to buy any equipment? No problem! You can use each others’ body weight as an effective resistance tool. Just have your partner push back at you while you try to tone legs and arms: While you’re curling your biceps or triceps, your partner will hold your hands and push back the opposite direction gently, or while you’re lying down for leg lifts, your partner can place their hands on your feet to resist you. Adding a bit of extra weight or resistance can make your workout much more effective, so you get more out of each move.
Take a Class Together
If you’re both in need of motivation, take a class together or hire a personal trainer to work both of you out. Take advantage of one another’s diverse fitness likes and attend a class that you wouldn’t normally take. “I love seeing couples getting out of their comfort zones and going to their fiance’s preferred workout, even if it’s not their first choice. For example, seeing guys in a barre or Pilates class, and girls in a boxing gym,” says Emily Susen, fitness instructor at Recycle Studio and Barry’s Bootcamp in Boston. You’ll work muscles that you normally don’t work and have a fun, new experience to bond over with your other half.
You can also hire a personal trainer or get a private dual sweat session at many gyms and studios around the country if you’re motivation-starved or class-averse. These instructors will whip you into shape in no time flat.
Go For a Run, Bike or Hike Together
Go on an active adventure with your significant other, like a run, bike ride or hike. It doesn’t cost any money, and you two can take it as fast or slow as you want (even turn it into a romantic date by choosing a cozy setting as a destination and setting up a picnic at the finish line). “The most popular workout I see couples doing together is running—you can do it anywhere, in your hometown or on weekend getaways, and it’s a good chance to catch up and also clear your head while getting a good sweat in,” says Susen.
Work Together or Compete
Work toward personal goals by having your partner encourage you. Sometimes all you need is someone to say, “You can do it!” to finish that last pushup or final mile. If you’re the fiercely competitive type, try to out-do each other in pushup competitions, crunches or personal-best running times to get your blood pumping.
Incorporate Tabata workouts (high intensity bursts of exercise for 20 seconds with 10 seconds of rest between each session, for eight rounds). Tabata can take many forms and target many areas—do non-stop squats or pushups for 20 seconds, then switch to planks, burpees or jumping jacks and keep going for as long as you want. “Tabata is easily digestable for anyone, because the most work you’re doing is for 20 seconds, then you get a break,” explains Erica Robertellio, personal trainer and owner of The Living Room Brooklyn, a training facility in New York City. “Doing a Tabata exercise for 15 minutes is more effective than doing a traditional strength training workout for 30 minutes. People who do Tabata-based exercises loose more weight than people who do traditional strength-based exercise.” Plus, you can get free Tabata timer apps on your smartphone that will count down the seconds for you.
Do Circuit Workouts
Just like Tabata, circuits take advantage of every moment of an exercise, so that even when you’re resting, you’re being active and burning calories. “Circuit-formatted workouts take less time and are really effective,” says Greg Doyle, creator of the Wedding Gym and author of Fit for a Bride. “Circuits keep your heart rate elevated throughout the entire exercise.” Want to take your partner for a circuit-style spin? Try Greg Doyle’s couples circuit workout exclusively for The Knot below!
For each of the workouts below, you perform the first half of the circuit while your partner does the second, then you’ll switch. You’ll need dumbbells and a jump rope.
Warm up together:
60 seconds of jumping jacks
30 seconds of mountain climbers (holding plank position, draw up one leg at a time in alternating high knee lifts)
30 seconds of dumbbell thrusters (hold dumbbells at ear level, squat, then drive up and push dumbbells straight up over your head, repeat)
30 Seconds of jumping rope
30 seconds of pushups (drop to your knees if needed)
Switch. Once you’ve finished both exercises, rest for 30 seconds, then repeat the whole thing two times before switching to circuit 2.
30 second stationary plank hold
30 second dumbbell goblet squat (hold the weight like a goblet at chest level, beneath your chin, then squat)
30 seconds of high knees
30 seconds of bent over dumbbell rows
Switch. Once you’ve finished both exercises, rest for 30 seconds, repeat the entire circuit two more times, then you’re done!