If you’re looking for a new way to add interest to your cardio classes, double the fun with partner drills. In this intense interval workout, drills consist of a 1-minute work effort, a 30-second recovery, and then a second 1-minute work effort. However, there’s a twist: The recovery isn’t a true recovery. Instead, you use the 30 seconds to do a quick series of “sculpting” moves designed to bring down the intensity while strengthening the body.

During the challenge rounds, one partner tries to meet or beat the other’s reps to win the round. This unique class encourages interaction, competition and cooperation.

Class Details: It Takes Two

Total time: 1 hour

Format: partner-based, high-intensity cardio and plyometrics

Goal/emphasis: to challenge anaerobic capacity and train for sports conditioning

Equipment needed: interval timer or stopwatch; agility dots or cones

Music: high-energy music with a driving beat—tunes that will make participants work and compete with their partners; 140–145 beats per minute

Injury prevention tips:

  • Make sure the partner competition is friendly and takes place in a spirit of fun.
  • Check that you have adequate space for each set of partners to work. Place agility cones or dots carefully.
  • This is a high-intensity class, so encourage participants to utilize the recovery phase and to pace themselves.
  • Provide cues for all levels, to ensure that everyone feels successful.
  • Offer low-impact options for all plyometric drills.

Warm-Up (5-8 minutes)

Keep warm-up exercises simple and athletic. Goal is to prepare participants to run, jump and shuffle. Partners do the following:

  • Run large circles around diameter of studio, side by side.
  • Face each other and perform set of squats and reverse lunges.
  • Face each other and do lateral lunges.
  • Face each other and perform plank pushups.
  • Repeat above, as needed.

Work Phase (40 minutes)

Partners in each pair perform drills simultaneously and work as a team. Each cardio drill is performed twice. Cardio drills last 1 minute, with 30-second strength move between them. Each round is 3 minutes, total.

  • Cardio drill: 1 minute
  • Recovery “break”/Strength drill: 30 seconds
  • Repeat cardio drill: 1 minute
  • Rest: 30 seconds (Set up and preview next drill.)


Instructions apply to each set of partners.

Shuffle Slide

Place cones 6 feet apart. Begin in low athletic stance at opposite cones and perform lateral shuffle to touch partner’s cone. Goal is to never be at same cone at same time. Each partner must push the pace.

Strength drill: squats

Cone Connection

Place cones approximately 6 feet apart. First cone is starting point; second cone is finish line. Partners run forward to second cone, touch floor beside it and then backpedal to start. Goal is to meet at second cone at same time.

Strength drill: lunges

The Square

Create 4-foot square on floor with four cones or agility dots. One partner starts at bottom left-hand corner, and other partner starts at top right-hand corner. Both do lateral shuffle to next cone or dot and then run forward or backpedal to next cone or dot. Maintain space during lateral shuffle so one partner never overtakes the other.

Strength drill: pushups

Figure-Eight Chase

Place two cones or dots 5 feet apart. One partner stands directly behind the other. First person begins to run figure-eight pattern through cones. Back partner chases front partner around cones to push the pace and accelerate intensity.

Strength drill: lateral lunges


Place two cones on floor approximately 3 feet apart. Each partner stands behind a cone and performs plyo squat jumps, touching tip of cone between reps.

Strength drill: triceps dips on floor

Cross the Line

Place two cones on floor approximately 10 feet apart. Stand on either side of first cone and sprint as fast as possible to second cone; touch it and sprint back.

Strength drill: side plank; switch sides at halfway mark

Breaking It Down

Place stack of cones (10-12) or stack of step risers on floor. Back up approximately 10 feet from stack; this is starting line. When signaled, one partner runs to stack, grabs one cone or riser and returns to starting point. When first person returns, second person goes. Goal is to clear stack as quickly as possible while working as a team.

Strength drill: V-sit with rotation

For exercises in a competition phase, please see “Sample Class: It Takes Two” in the online IDEA Library or in the September 2016 issue 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.