Partner Warmups

by Christy Stevenson on Feb 16, 2018

Have you noticed the latest trend? Instructors are incorporating partner work to add intensity, motivation and a sense of community. Prepare your class for success by teaming people up during the warmup. Below are a few full-body exercises that hit the upper body, lower body and core in a coordinated movement pattern. Before you start, get everyone in the “sidekick spirit” with these tips:

  • Cue participants to find a partner as they enter the room. Typically, students choose someone right beside them, and the process takes just a few seconds.
  • Encourage people of similar heights to pair up, as this makes some exercises feel less awkward. It’s not imperative, though, as these moves are also suitable for parent-child classes.
  • Help people find partners, and step in if there’s an odd number.
  • If you’ll be working to a musical beat, select a tempo of 128–132 beats per minute.
  • Have equipment on hand: The last two exercises require a medicine ball, a basketball or even a yoga block, but you can use anything that’s light enough to be passed.

The Mirror Game

  • Partners face each other and take turns leading basic cardio floor exercises&mdashside steps, hamstring curls, jumping jacks, knee lifts, jogging in place, squats, etc.—for 2 minutes.
  • Cue a switch every 20 seconds and provide ideas to keep people moving.
  • Frequently remind participants of proper form.

Patty-Cake Lateral Lunges

  • Partners stand side by side and perform a rocking lateral lunge away from each other.
  • Cue a wide stance that ensures knees stay behind toes, with external hip rotation.
  • Reach opposite hand toward knee, then toward partner, twisting trunk to give partner a high-five.
  • Perform 8–16 reps; switch sides by jogging around or hopping to face back.
  • Plié Squat Pass (Lateral)

    • Partners stand back to back in wide plié stance with one light to moderate-weight medicine ball.
    • Partner A holds ball between waist and chest level and twists left to pass ball.
    • Partner B retrieves ball from right.
    • Perform 8–10 reps in each direction to warm up thighs and trunk rotators.
    • Use a moderate tempo (2- or 4-count twists, in each direction) to avoid dizziness.

    Medicine-Ball Squat Pass (Overhead)

    • Partners stand back to back, a couple of feet apart.
    • Partner A holds a light medicine ball, squats for 2 counts, then rises to stand for 2 counts while pressing ball overhead, reaching back gently to pass ball to partner B.
    • Partner B extends arms overhead, takes ball, and then squats, lifts ball and passes it back.
    • Cue partners to communicate and use caution while passing.
    • Focus on opening shoulders as you “fire up” back muscles.
    • Have each partner perform 8–10 squats.

    For more information, please see “Partner Up to Warm Up” in the online IDEA Library or in the January 2018 print edition of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at 800-999-4332, ext. 7.

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    About the Author

    Christy Stevenson

    Christy Stevenson IDEA Author/Presenter

    Christy Stevenson, fitness writer/presenter and owner of the YouTube channel Real Fit for Real Life, has been teaching group fitness classes for 20 years and has certified with AFAA, ACE, and FiTOUR in Group Exercise, Yoga, Pilates, Kickboxing, Stability Ball Training, Group Barbell Conditioning, Core & Functional Training, and Personal Training. She has also certified with Reebok University in Coreboard Training & Body Training Systems RPM, a pre-choreographed cycling program, as well as Zumba® & TRX. She has taught virtually every land aerobics class format that exists, including specialty classes such as Go-Go Robics, Teen Sports Conditioning, Strollercize, Shakti Running, and Senior Strength and Stretch. Prior to moving to CT, Christy served as the land aerobics supervisor at American Fork Fitness Center in UT for over 4 years, designing a new schedule to meet the needs of expansion, doubling class sizes, and growing strong Yoga & Indoor Cycling programs. She tries to inspire the world to fitness by voluntarily teaching church & school groups, planning and promoting fundraising fitness campaigns, designing a personal training program for overweight children, and teaching yoga in schools. Christy has run 10 Ragnar relays, several half marathons, 7 marathons, and one sprint-distance triathlon. Christy graduated from BYU in 1998 with an English Teaching major and Theatre Arts minor & has taught 7th, 8th, and 11th grade. Her education background lends to her dynamic ability to lead instructor workshops, as well as her ability to bring fitness to youth ages. She is a freelance editor and writer and contributes to the prestigious IDEA Fitness Professional Journal & American Fitness. Christy is married to a wonderful husband and is the mother of 3 awesome and fit kids.