Even if the sweat session is a tough one, a partner can help you celebrate your hard work. It’s not hard to get friends to workout once or twice, but if you want a gym buddy who will see you through the highs and plateaus, you’ll want to take a strategic approach to finding a partner.

Here are four things you’ll want to make sure you share in common:

  1. Approach. If you’re both ready to make a slow and steady attack on a goal, or blast through a 30-day challenge, congratulations, you’re a great match. If you have different approaches in mind, you’re more likely to part ways.
  2. Dedication. Workout partners show up for one another, and hold each other accountable, as well. You’ll want to make sure you both can resist the snooze button.
  3. Schedule. A morning person and a night owl may be able to find a time that works well to work out. If your other commitments put your schedules at odds, you might need to find another partner.
  4. Appreciation. Make sure you’re both capable of being one another’s biggest cheerleaders when the going gets tough, as well as respecting those times when injury or illness deserve a time-out or a change in plans.

Just like partners, some workout moves lend themselves to a great buddy workout. Here are a few of our favorites!

Instructions: Perform each move for 60 seconds, resting 30 seconds between each exercise. Repeat the entire circuit through, and repeat twice for a longer workout.


Fast Feet Face-Off

  • Begin standing, facing your partner.
  • Start to jog in place, stepping your right foot out and then in, your left foot out and then in, pumping your arms as you jog.

Side Lunge to Hip-Opener Stretch

  • Begin standing facing your partner.
  • Step your right leg out and come into a side lunge.
  • Reach your right hand to the ground inside your right foot, and externally rotate your chest as you send your left hand up to the ceiling. Keep your left hand in line with your shoulders and right hand to form a straight line.
  • Bring your left hand back down and return to stand. Repeat on the opposite side.


Push-Up With Low-Five

  • Begin in an extended plank position, facing your partner head-on.
  • Perform a push-up, then at the top of the push-up, extend your right arm out to meet your partner’s opposite outstretched hand and tap hands.
  • Place your hand back on the ground and repeat, alternating hands.

Lateral Ball Toss

  • Holding a medicine ball, stand side-by-side with your partner, a few feet apart.
  • Bend your knees to squat down slightly, rotating your trunk and the ball to your outside hip.
  • Bring the ball up and across your body, rotating internally through your trunk, as you toss it to your partner. Let your partner catch the ball, bringing it down across his or her opposite hip and then driving across his or her body to throw it back.
  • Catch the ball outside your opposite hip, softening your knees to squat and rotating through your trunk. Repeat.

Side Lunge With Medicine-Ball Reach

  • Begin standing facing your partner, holding a medicine ball at your chest.
  • At the same time as your partner, step your right foot out to the right and drop your hips back and down into a side lunge, bending your right knee. Your partner will mirror this with his or her left leg.
  • When you reach the bottom of the lunge, press the medicine ball away from you into your partner’s outstretched hands.
  • Your partner will bring the ball to his or her chest as you both press back to stand. Repeat, alternating legs and passing the medicine ball back and forth.

Kettlebell Deadlift to Lateral Shuffle

  • Begin standing and facing your partner, a few feet apart. Each of you should have a kettlebell at your feet.
  • Perform a kettlebell deadlift by squatting down to grab the kettlebell, pressing up to stand, then returning the kettlebell to the ground.
  • Stand and shuffle toward your partner’s kettlebell as he or she shuffles to yours and repeat.


Sit-Up With Medicine-Ball Toss

  • Begin seated across from your partner, feet flat on the floor, knees bent and holding a medicine ball in front of you.
  • While your partner remains seated, lie back with the medicine ball and perform a sit-up. At the top, toss the ball to your partner, who will catch it and lie back to perform a sit-up.


Hamstring and Hip-Pull Stretch

  • Begin facing your partner holding his or her hands in yours, with one knee on the floor and the other bent in front of you, foot planted on the floor. Your partner’s legs will be opposite yours.
  • Sit your hips back toward your back foot, straightening your front leg to stretch your hamstring while pulling your partner toward you. Your partner’s hips will come forward, stretching his or her hip flexor.
  • Sit in the stretch, then allow your partner to pull you back up and forward for a hip-flexor stretch.

Side Lunge to Shoulder Stretch

  • Begin standing, facing your partner, with your feet wider than your shoulders.
  • Take your partner’s left wrist in your right hand, with him or her grasping your right wrist in his or her left hand.
  • Sink to your right in a side lunge, rotating your trunk toward your outstretched arms to stretch your shoulder as your partner comes down into a side lunge opposite you.
  • Hold and then return to stand, switch arms and repeat on the opposite side.

Photo credit: poba, Getty Images
Video credit: Tom Casey, box24studio.com
Models: Rachelle (Cihonski) Mahoney; Nick Routson, fitness manager for 24 Hour Fitness
Hair and make-up: Katie Nash, katienashbeauty.com