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6-Minute Routine: Buddy Up for a Better Body

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Double the Fun

You'll get twice the strength benefits and fun — in half the time — with this partner routine from Juan Carlos ("JC") Santana, director of the Institute of Human Performance.

What You'll Need

A partner and a ball (a basketball, soccer ball, or medicine ball is best)

1. Medicine-Ball Over-and-Under
Minute: 0:00-1:00

Targets back, glutes, hamstrings

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, facing partner from about 1 foot away. Hold ball at chest level. Squat down and pass ball to partner through your legs. Stand up and extend arms overhead; take the ball. Repeat for 30 seconds, then switch so partner passes first.

2. Tandem Squat

Minute: 1:00-2:00

Targets hips, glutes, quads

Stand facing partner, feet shoulder width apart; grasp forearms. Walk back until arms are fully extended. Lower into a squat, with upper body lifted and knees right over ankles. Hold for 5 seconds. Squeeze glutes to lift up.

3. Supported Pike Bridge

Minute 2:00-3:00

Targets back, glutes, hamstrings

Sit back-to-back: legs out, shoulder blades drawn together, abs engaged and spine tall. Clasp hands. Press into heels and lift hips, making a diagonal line with your body; rest upper back on partner's shoulders. Hold for 5 seconds, lower. Switch. Keep alternating.

4. Single-Leg Low Fives

Minute 3:00-4:00

Targets hips, glutes, thighs

Stand facing partner, 3 to 4 feet apart. Raise left foot; partner raises right. Bend forward at the hips, keeping backs straight. Give a "low five" below the knees, then stand tall, still on one leg. Repeat for 30 seconds. Switch legs.

5. Medicine-Ball Tandem Push-Up

Minute 4:00-5:00

Targets chest, core

Begin in full push-up position, facing partner. Put your right hand on a ball. Lower into a push-up together, bending elbows 90 degrees. Return to start. Roll ball to partner; she puts her right hand on it. Do another push-up. Repeat on left. Continue, alternating sides.

6. Partner Straddle Stretch

Minute: 5:00-6:00

Targets back, abs, glutes, hamstrings

Sit facing partner in a wide-legged straddle position, feet touching. Grasp hands. Have your partner lean back, drawing shoulder blades together as you bend forward at the hips. Hold for 10 deep breaths, then switch. Repeat.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, February 2007.