Here is a great partner workout that doesn’t require much equipment, just one medicine ball for every 2 clients. It is a mixture of strength movements and conditioning exercises.
Time: 60 minutes
Equipment needed: One medicine ball per pair.
Spend 5 – 10 mins doing any kind of warm up – using the balls or bodyweight only. I played a simple game of moving netball (with a lighter ball)!
Pair everyone up with similar fitness levels together, and give each pair one medicine ball each. My group’s balls varied from 4 – 8kgs dependant on strength.
For the following exercises, one partner completes a set while the other rests, and vice versa. 1 to 1 work rest ratio will be beneficial for both the strength and conditioning exercises.
For explanations of the exercises, as well as progressions, see the bottom of the page.
- Uneven push ups x 10 each side, then swap with partner. Do 3-4 sets each
- Bulgarian split squats x 10 each leg, then swap. Do 3-4 sets each
- Med ball squat to press 60 secs, then swap. Repeat x 2 sets each.
- Med ball slams 60 secs, then swap. Repeat x 2 sets each.
- Russian twists 60 secs, then swap. Repeat x 2 sets each.
- Med ball sit up throws 60 secs, then swap. Repeat x 2 sets each.
Total time is roughly 45 – 60 mins, depending on how much break you take between sets.
Uneven push ups – one hand on a medicine ball, one on the ground. From there complete a regular pushup (one hand will be elevated). Do 10 on one side then roll the ball over and do 10 on the other side. Variation – alternate the ball under your hand each pushup (roll the ball over every time) for your advanced clients. Also, obviously knee/toe pushups.
Bulgarian split squats – stand with one foot behind you on a step/bench about knee height. Make sure your front foot is far enough forward (distance for a regular lunge). Squat down, and drop your back knee towards the ground. Variation – can be done weighted holding med ball, or bodyweight. Spend more time under tension (encourage a slower and deeper squat) for advanced clients.
Med ball squat to press – hold med ball in front of chest, with elbows underneath. Drop into a squat and press the ball overhead as you are standing up. Work for a max effort in 60secs. Variation – add a little throw of the medicine ball overhead – straight up. Not too far but release the ball and catch as you are about to squat again (those familiar with cross-fit – think wall ball). Variation should be only for those confident enough to catch it.
Med ball slams – standing tall, lift the ball high above your head and throw it hard to the ground just in front of your feet (works better on concrete than grass to get a good bounce). As soon as the ball comes up to waist/chest height, grab it and repeat. Should be continuous and for speed. Encourage your clients that the harder they throw it down, the higher they grab the next rep from, making it faster.
Russian twists – Seated in a V position (with legs in the air), hold the ball with both hands and twist side to side, touching the ball on the ground next to either hip. Encourage your clients to lightly touch the ground instead of slamming it – working under control makes it more difficult. Variation – beginner clients can rest their feet on the ground.
Med ball sit up throws – one client sits in a regular sit up position, sits up and hands the ball to their partner (who is standing at their feet). The partner hands the ball back to them immediately, they then do a situp holding the ball and repeat. Variation – for advanced clients (only if they are confident with it) the partner standing can move slightly back and get them to throw the ball up to their chest at the top of the pushup position. The partner then hands/lightly tosses the ball back and continue.
Matt Wilson '92 says
Great idea! I took this workout and augmented with active rest…while one partner was doing the medicine ball exercises (for 30 seconds), the other partner was jogging, doing low jacks, punching, kicking, mountain climbers or, for the last one, helping their sit up partner…I also added a 30 second sprint at the end of each 4 minute drill. They were sweating and complaining, but in the end, loved it!
Pat Carr says
That’s a great idea Matt!
You can change it up depending on your aims for the session. If you want a really high intensity class, you will need to give your members a rest, or they won’t be able to keep up the intensity for the whole time, and their form could deteriorate. But, if you want a higher volume, lower intensity class, you can do exactly as you have done, and keep them active in their ‘rest’ periods, to make it like a non-stop session!
Just make sure to change up the focus of your sessions, don’t have them all geared towards the one intensity.
Great job on the variation!