IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

'Partner up': The reason why you achieve more with a workout buddy

Jenna Bush Hager discovers the perks of working out with a pal in this week's Start Today.
/ Source: TODAY

It's the fourth and final week of Start Today, the monthlong series dedicated to helping you get in your best shape yet.

Over the past few weeks, Jenna Bush Hager said goodbye to excuses and hello to new workouts suited best for her bustling schedule as a new mom.

This week, Hager looked to fitness pal Natalie Morales for finding new ways to both stay fit and spend more time with her gals.

She joined Morales and the Hoboken Hot Mamas in a variety of partner workouts, which are said to increase trust and accountability.

"Research shows that 80 percent of people believe they're more likely to fit in workouts and stick to their routines if they partner up," Hager said on TODAY.

RELATED: Distracted by little ones? 4 ways to make working out a team effort

She then grabbed the one partner she knows best — her sister Barbara Pierce Bush, to test out Orange Theory Fitness, a different type of workout class that's all the rage right now.

The class focuses on increasing your heart rate. Once the "orange zone" is reached, participants can expect to start burning fat.

So, the next time you're headed to the gym alone, grab a friend instead! The competition alone will motivate you to achieve new goals.

Interested in partner workouts but don't know where to start? Jen Ator, the fitness director of Women's Health shared these takeaways with TODAY:

When you’re at home

Try partner burpees: Decide on a total number of reps (like 100 or 200), then have the first person start and complete as many reps as they can with proper form.

When Partner 1 needs a break, they "tap in" Partner 2, who picks up where the first person left off and does as many reps as they can.

Keep alternating and tallying the total number of reps until you collectively reach your goal. (Increase the challenge: Time yourself! Try to see how quickly you can get all the reps completed.)

RELATED: TODAY fans show off success with 2016 fitness resolutions in #StartToday contest

When you’re at the gym

Having a partner at the gym can make it less intimidating to try new exercises or pieces of equipment.

It's also the perfect opportunity to utilize some standard gym tools in new (and sometimes even more effective) ways. Like a medicine ball.

Try these partner medicine-ball moves, which can help build strength, power and increase activation of your entire core:

  • Single-Leg Deadlift with Medicine Ball (5 reps per partner, then switch legs and repeat)
  • Medicine Ball Chest Pass (10-15 passes per partner)
  • Medicine Ball Side Toss (5-10 tosses per partner, then switch sides and repeat)
  • Medicine Ball Slam Pass (pass back and forth as quickly as possible for one to two minutes)

RELATED: Break a sweat at home! 5 workout tips from SoulCycle's co-founder

When you only have five minutes

Especially when you're short on time, it can be helpful to have someone right there to help push yourself and get the most out of your workout.

Try this five-minute, five-exercise circuit: Starting with the first exercise, complete as many reps as you can in 50 seconds, then rest 10 seconds.

Then move on to the next and continue that pattern until you've finished all five moves. Not only is this workout super efficient, but by tracking time rather than reps, it's scalable to different fitness levels, so no partner ever gets left behind.

And, if you and your partner are at a similar fitness level, tracking "how many can you get?" is a great way to foster a little friendly competition.

When you have 30 minutes

Switching things up is a great way to stay mentally and physically engaged in a workout.

Having a partner is also a great way to make a challenging workout feel fun. Grab a buddy and perform these switch-it-up supersets: Starting with the first set, Partner 1 performs the suggested number of reps of the first exercise while Partner 2 performs the second move.

When Partner 1 completes the reps, switch places with your partner. When Partner 2 completes the second exercise, then repeat the superset two more times.

RELATED: 3 workouts for new moms: Jenna Wolfe's 'Thinner in 30' fitness challenge

After completing the first superset, rest for two minutes and continue to the next superset.

Superset 1

Partner 1: Reverse lunge (30 reps, alternating legs)

Partner 2: Plank

Superset 2

Partner 1: Marching glute bridge (30 reps, alternating legs)

Partner 2: Mountain climber

Superset 3

Partner 1: Bodyweight squat (15 reps)

Partner 2: Wide-grip pushup

Jen Ator, C.S.C.S., is the Fitness Director for Women’s Health Magazine. In 2013, Ator wrote the WH-branded Rodale book Shape-Up Shortcuts. She works on a variety of brand extensions, including The Next Fitness Star, WH’s 28-Day Fat-Blaster app, and RUN 10 FEED 10. In 2014, Jen competed in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, HI on Team Chocolate Milk with teammate, Olympian Apolo Ohno. She is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and currently lives in New York City.