A buddy by your side can make all the difference.

“Just having someone next to you saying, ‘I know you can do three more’—it’s more fun,” certified personal trainer Stephanie Cash says. After 10 years of personal training at the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, Stephanie knows what it takes to keep in shape.

In the spirit of the Y’s Member Referral Program, where it pays to help your friends and loved ones stay active, Stephanie teamed up with her buddy and fellow Y trainer, Larry Baker, to create a partner workout.

The results are nine great exercises, plus a bonus challenge.

Larry and Stephanie recommend using these as a circuit. Go through the exercises three times, and you'll be done in less than an hour. To get started, ask the wellness team at your Y to direct you to the following equipment: two mats, a medicine ball, a resistance band, and for the bonus exercise, a rope and gloves! 


1. Squat Toss

Face each other about five feet apart. Partner A with the medicine ball does a squat and then tosses the ball to Partner B. Partner B squats and tosses it back. Maintain good form by keeping your knees behind your toes and weight in your heels.

Make it harder: Both partners squat every time
Make it easier: Move closer together

Target muscles: Quads and glutes
Duration: 10 tosses each partner

2. Lateral Lunge Toss

Start in the same position as the Squat Toss. Both partners do a lateral lunge. When you come back to center, toss the medicine ball. Lunge to the other side and back. Toss again.

Make it harder: Stand farther apart
Make it easier: Take smaller lunges

Target muscles: Inner thighs, quads, and hamstrings
Duration: 10 lunges each leg

3. High-Low Twist

Stand back-to-back. Both partners twist and pass off the medicine ball at knee level. Rotate to pass it above the head. The ball should make an oval orbit. Focus on torso rotation, keeping abdominal muscles engaged.

Make it harder: Use a heavier ball
Make it easier: Pass the ball at waist level, twisting from side to side

Target muscles: Core and shoulders
Duration: 20 passes, then reverse

4. Crunch Passes

Interlock your feet with your partner in sit-up position, one partner holding the medicine ball. Both partners extend back with arms over your heads, and sit up, passing the medicine ball back and forth. Tuck in your pelvis to protect your lower back.

Make it harder: Both partners use a ball and have them touch every crunch
Make it easier: High-five instead of using a ball

Target muscles: Core
Duration: 20 crunches


5. Partner Plank

Partner A gets in plank position on their forearms. Partner B gets in plank position at a right angle—putting one foot on Partner A’s lower back and the other foot in between Partner A’s shoulders. Both hold still with shoulders and elbows in line. Be careful not to sway your back or shrug your shoulders. The forearm plank is better for people with wrist issues.

Make it harder: Partner B does push-ups
Make it easier: Partners plank side by side

Target muscles: Core and shoulders
Duration: Hold for 30 seconds and switch positions

6. Squat Bridge

Partner A stands in between Partner B’s feet. Partner A squats down and grabs Partner B’s ankles. Partner B keeps body straight with core engaged. Partner A squats up and down using Partner B’s weight as resistance.

Make it harder: Squat with one leg
Make it easier: Do shallow squats

Target muscles: Upper legs, glutes, and lower back
Duration: 10 squats and switch

7. High-five Push-ups

Face each other about one foot apart in push-up position. Push up and high-five with your right hands. Push up again, and high-five with your left hands.

Make it harder: Try triangle push-ups, where your thumbs and forefingers make a triangle, and the push-up targets your triceps
Make it easier: Put your knees down

Target muscles: Shoulders and core
Duration: 10 push-ups


8. Biceps Curl

Partners start in a squat with arms extended, palms up. Pull up into a bicep curl together. Lock your shoulders so that you’re only hinging at the elbows. The squat position should help anchor you.


Make it harder: Move farther apart
Make it easier: One partner curls at a time

Target muscles: Biceps
Duration: 10 curls

9. Triceps Curl

Face each other in a lunge position. Hold the exercise band with your arms at right angles. Lock your shoulders and pinch your elbows to your side. Extend your arms back to work the triceps.

Make it harder: Use a thicker band
Make it easier: Stand closer together

Target muscles: Triceps
Duration: 10 curls


Wear gloves! Start on your knees, facing the same direction. Partner A reaches one hand over the other to pull the rope through. Partner B adds resistance. When you reach the end of the rope, Partner A becomes the one adding resistance for Partner B to pull it back through. Face the opposite direction and repeat.

Make it harder: Partner B adds more resistance
Make it easier: Put one leg up on the mat

Target muscles: Upper arms and shoulders
Duration: One time through for each partner facing both directions

The Y is Better Together

See how you can earn up to 20% off your membership through our new Member Referral Program. Also check out Group Training—one of the Y's most popular training programs. With exciting options like classes and custom small group training for 2-4 people, we have something for everyone!

Every day, more than 20,000 people walk through the doors of our YMCAs—more than any other wellness provider in Middle Tennessee. Learn why we’re different.