Bow chicka wow wow! It's almost Valentine's Day—the sexiest, steamiest, and arguably sweatiest holiday of them all. And while we're all for you and your partner increasing your heart rate, losing your breath, and stretching your limbs the, erm, more obvious way—may we also suggest three couple-based workouts that offer the same physiological benefits? Whether you two are on a pre-wedding health kick or just looking for ways to spend more time together with a healthy side perk, exercising together can bring you closer to one another and to your fitness objectives—maybe even more than a normal gym buddy or even a paid professional. Just ask Olympic medalists and stars of our all-time favorite VISA commercial, Brianne Theisen-Eaton and Ashton Eaton. “As romantic partners, we can be totally open about goals or weaknesses without fear of getting laughed at,” says Brianne. “Ashton is there to help me any way he can. That vulnerability, or commitment, isn't always something you get with friends or a trainer.”
Find the workout that best suits your relationship below!
It’s yoga meets couples therapy: Your bodies are intimately close while toning up and becoming mad bendy. “Yoga classes can be intimidating when viewed as a flexibility competition,” says Elysabeth Williamson, founder of Principle-Based Partner Yoga in Santa Barbara, California. “Some people find their way in with the help of a partner who makes them feel comfortable trying something new and difficult.” She recommends supporting—not leaning on—each other through push-and-pull poses. And while engaging your muscles is an obvious benefit, so is the stillness part of the practice—especially amid wedding planning chaos. “Honestly, there’s something so relaxing about just sitting back-to-back and breathing together,” says Williamson. “It’s the simplest way to connect with your partner.” So if, at any point, planning has you bickering like old married folks, maybe consider stretching it out.
Partner Yoga is available in Santa Barbara, NYC, and all across the U.S.
For home use:
View videos on partneryoga.net
For yogi beginners, download:
Running relays is great for grade school BFFs—and grown-up SOs. Locate an open outdoor space and have your own private field day. With interval circuits, your two-person relay team performs a quick succession of high-intensity activities—sprints, jumping jacks, burpees—but each member has a separate starting point. This burns calories like crazy and lets couples like Olympic medalists—and cutest athletic duo ever—Brianne Theisen-Eaton and Ashton Eaton train together despite their size and speed differences. “Ashton is naturally stronger and faster, and I'm OK with that,” Brianne says. “When we do a circuit, we’re each on a different exercise but encouraging the other through it.” And when schedules do force you to sweat apart, you can still follow the other’s progress with apps. The Eatons enabled real-time workout sharing on their Apple watches. “Once Ash was all the way in Japan and saw I completed a run,” Brianne recalls. “He instantly texted me, ‘Nice job on that!’”
For fitness circuit ideas:
The Eatons use their Apple Watches and iPhone Apple Activity app, but for other workout-sharing apps, download:
Say your honey is a gym-hating homebody. Try one more push—off the couch and onto your living room floor. “People love bodyweight workouts for the convenience,” says personal trainer Chris Powell, who works with his wife, Heidi. You just need to find open space and you’re ready to max out push-ups, lunges, or squats side by side. “Our bodies are incredible built-in exercise machines,” Heidi says, “because, really, people have no business picking up weights until they can control their own bodyweight.” The Powells also point out that it doesn’t matter who’s in better shape when you perform the same movements in unison. As Chris says, “You’re improving your individual selves—together.”
For bodyweight programs, download: