Reap the health and fitness benefits of partnering up during life in lockdown

TWO'S COMPANY: Training with someone else could be the motivation and social connection needed to keep moving through lockdown. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
TWO'S COMPANY: Training with someone else could be the motivation and social connection needed to keep moving through lockdown. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

If lockdown has had the lyrics One is the loneliest number playing on repeat through your mind, then partnering up for some exercise could be just what you need to get out of a lack of motivation slump.

A common trend has developed among a number of my friends during this challenging time, and that is one of inactivity.

There are the COVID kilo jokes, the "I'm loving watching the tennis on TV but can't get myself off the couch to exercise" laments, and a general lack of motivation to keep moving.

Those who have managed to stick to a weekly routine, I have found, have been the ones who have partnered up. This includes myself.

Having another person to train with has so many benefits, especially right now.

It makes you accountable. If you don't turn up then you're not only letting yourself down you're also letting someone else down.

You work harder. I always push myself more at the gym or in group training with others around me.

Staying connected. Exercising with one other is the perfect excuse to catch up with a friend of family member while also reaping the physical benefits.

It gives you variety. You might be able to pool your resources in terms of exercise equipment, which means you can add variety to your workouts.

A partner workout could be simply going for a walk together, a hit of tennis (which is still allowed), or one of the following 30-minute sessions:

Option 1 (cardio): In pairs, alternate running, skipping or cycling for 30 seconds, 60 seconds then 90 seconds while your partner rests. Do 4-5 times through each. Make it more challenging by setting a distance target to achieve.

Option 2 (strength): Alternate 30 seconds of squats, push-ups, lunges, bent-over rows and plank. Each person completes five sets of each exercise.

Option 3 (combo): Combine the two. While one runs, skips or cycles for 30 seconds the other performs squats, push-ups, lunges, bent-over rows and plank for five sets of each.

Option 4 (combo #2): Alternate one minute working with one-minute rest, so one works while the other recovers. 3 x 1min of 20m shuttle runs each, 3 x 1min squat with press each, 3 x 1min of burpees each, 3 x 1min renegade rows each, 3 x 1min bear crawls or walking lunges. Note how many repetitions you do in each set and try to match it on the next.

Option 5 (share the load): Between you try to accomplish, for example, a two-kilometre run, 100 squats, 50 push-ups, 400 skips, 100 lunges, 50 bent-over rows and a five-minute hover.

If you are struggling to find motivation to keep moving during life in lockdown, reaching out to a friend or family member might help you reactivate your health and fitness goals as we head towards summer.


Renee Valentine is a journalist, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.