It is believed there's a certain connection between a set of twins. They can feel their siblings thoughts, finish each others sentences and switch identities as a prank on family and friends. But no matter how you perceive it, twins are something special. Many years ago when I was a student at a small private school, I was fortunate enough to have identical twin sisters in a few of my classes. While they said they had subtle differences to make them unique and be able to tell them apart, it was difficult for the rest of us to tell. Occasionally, even their own parents mixed them up which they thought was funny. So comical in fact, they would often reverse roles and pretend to be the other one to see if anyone noticed. In case you're wondering, nope, we didn't.
Some of you reading this may be one half of a set of twins or know people who are. If you don't happen to fall into either of these categories, imagine what life would be like if you shared everything with someone who looked just like you or very similar. Growing up doing things as a pair can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, things like dancing the Tango, playing tennis and throwing a Frisbee back and forth would be far easier than hunting down a friend with similar interests who's home and ready to party. However, do you really want to spend nearly every waking moment with a "tail"? We all need "me" time at some point, right?
Now picture this scenario. Say you want to do something new and exciting or go someplace you've never been before, but when you get there you find out that most of the activities are more fun with a friend or partner in tow. What do you do? You could call your bestie and have them meet you, decide to be adventurous with a complete stranger, or turn around and go home. Let's say this place to which I am referring is the gym or park and maybe your workout program is getting....boring. Adding a partner to the mix can spice things up a bit and push you to your limit (or beyond) without you realizing it. Your "twin" can help you stay on track by keeping you accountable so you never miss a moment of excitement!
Working out with a buddy provides a new dimension to workouts. It allows the exercisers to take pulling, pushing, throwing and twisting to all new heights (and lows). Instead of wrapping a band around a pole and performing triceps extensions, grab a couple bands, a friend, the handles and, keeping your elbows bent and beside your rib cage, straighten your arms and pull away from each other. You're welcome! Turn half way around and push the bands away from each other like an air or wall pushup and let the magic begin! For those that enjoy ball slams, bounce it to someone like you're reliving childhood recess playing two square and watch your heart rate spike. Doing a hammer throw with a med ball and a partner engages the oblique core muscles and is twice the fun! These are just a few suggestions to break up the monotony of a workout routine. At the conclusion of this post there will be more options to challenge your body (and mind) as well as cure the summertime blues.
A couple things to be aware of when choosing exercises and selecting a partner are:
ability level of both people
It is helpful to have similar fitness levels so that one individual doesn't overpower the other (especially important on pull/push activities)
height of each person
Certain exercises such as gut busters, over/unders and standing Russian twists are facilitated by equivalent size.
Sometimes one or both of these aren't feasible depending on who your friends are, so just get as close as possible to these guidelines for best results and make adjustments as necessary to account for any differences you come across along the way.
In attempting the following exercises please note that a bit of coordination "telepathy" is required between the two exercisers so be patient as the learning process takes shape. Using a cadence or other verbal cue may assist in developing the timing of the activity. Counting "1-2-3, go!" or saying "pull" or "push" is a great way to build chemistry between "twins."
Try some of these ideas in your next workout session:
Partner wall sit w/twisting high 5 (core, legs and upper back)
Side lunge w/cross body high 5 (cardio)(calves, core, legs and upper back)
Gut busters (hip flexors and lower abs)
Side plank w/rotation w/DB (core and upper back/shoulders)
Plank plate pass w/partner (core and shoulders)
Standing Russian twist (obliques)
Over/unders w/Pilates ball (core, glutes, hamstrings and shoulders)
High 5 crunch (core and upper back)
Squat to hammer toss w/med ball (glutes, hamstrings and obliques)
Ball slams to partner (cardio)(shoulders and upper back)
Med ball chest pass (chest and upper back)
Seated Russian twist (obliques)
Ball squats (glutes, hamstrings and quads)
Partner biceps curl w/band (biceps)
Partner triceps extension w/band (triceps)
Pushup w/hand clap (chest and upper back)
To close this chapter, I would like to leave you with one more thought: Next time you get up, get out and get moving remember to grab a partner. I guarantee you'll double your pleasure and double your fun because fitness is better when two work as one! Just for kicks...
If you could workout with anyone, who would your "twin" be and why?