Bicycle (And Other Workouts) Built For Two

  • By Jené Shaw
  • Published Feb 14, 2013
  • Updated Jan 15, 2015 at 9:24 AM UTC

Equalizing workouts so you can sweat in tandem this holiday.

The adage of “the couple who trains together, stays together” might sound ideal, but the reality is that you’re probably a different pace than your significant other—and working out together could mean sacrificing the quality of your session or killing yourself to keep up. The good news is that recent research has shown that exercising with a partner can improve performance. So take a note from engaged pro couple Mirinda Carfrae and Tim O’Donnell and do side-by-side treadmill sessions and swim in different lanes for the same workout, or try one of these ideas to get in the miles as a twosome.

Sexy Sufferfest

We’ve professed our love for the Sufferfest indoor training videos before, and we think they’d work even better as a destination date in the pain cave. Doing them with a partner not only allows you to suffer at your own level, it also ensures that you won’t slack off. If you’re the competitive type, turn it into a “who can sweat the most” session. (Videos are downloadable and around $12.99 each)

Gym Strength Brick

If you want to cram in a 60-minute session before your night out together, do a dual-purpose workout with a treadmill or bike and a strength circuit. Partner 1 runs or bikes for 10 minutes while Partner 2 does a five-exercise circuit (think 90 seconds each of squat jumps, lunge-to-shoulder press, planks, burpees, pushups with a row, with 30 seconds for transition/rest). You can throw in some intervals on the cardio machine to keep it interesting, like quarter-mile pickups with half-mile recovery or an incline percentage boost every minute. Switch stations at 10 minutes and do three rounds total.

Companion Climb Chase

Warm up together with a 10-minute jog to the bottom of a hill that takes at least 5 minutes to climb. Depending on your respective ability levels, give your partner a 10–20 second head start and do a 1-minute, 2-minute, 3-minute, 4-minute and 5-minute repeat up the hill and jog back down together for recovery. Partner 1’s goal is to not get caught, Partner 2’s is to catch up. (Could also be applied to cycling.)

Friendly Fartlek

Keep it simple with a running fartlek that allows you both to do pickups at your own speed. Warm up for 10–15 minutes and do 4×1 minute hard/1 minute easy, 3×2 minutes hard/2 minutes easy, 2×4 minutes hard/4 minutes easy. The faster partner uses the recovery time to jog back in the direction of the slower partner, so you can always start your hard efforts together.

Couples Core Work

Ball slams. Grab a medicine ball and do ball slams on the ground or a box. You can simply alternate ball slams, or do this to make it more intense: While Partner 1 does 2–3 ball slams, Partner 2 does a burpee, and you alternate for 60 seconds.

Sit-ups. Sit toe-to-toe with your partner. Lean back and bring a medicine ball overhead, and at the top pass it off in front to the other person. You’ll both go down for full sit-ups each time, just every other sit-up will be holding the ball.

V-Sits with rotation. Keep your knees bent and feet off the floor as you lean back holding a medicine ball. Rotate to bring to tap the ground on each side before you come back up and throw the ball to your partner to repeat. Your partner can mirror your twisting on the down portion without the ball.

High-five plank. Hold a 45–60 second plank facing your partner. Alternate slapping a high-five in front of you with your right then left hand for the full time.

RELATED – Tough Love: Making The Two-Triathlete Relationship Work


Jené Shaw

Jené Shaw

Jené Shaw is a contributor for Triathlete magazine, a six-time Ironman finisher and a USAT Level 1 certified coach

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