15 Couple Workouts to Strengthen Your Bond and Your Body

When it comes to exercise, the magic number might be two — as in your partner plus you. People work out longer and harder when they have company, according to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Sport and Exercises Psychology. And the University of Oxford found that the endorphin release during group workouts (or a couple workout in this case!) is significantly greater than from solo training.

The couple that sweats together, stays together. (Image: Eugenio Marongiu/Cultura/GettyImages)

So who better to get that post-workout high with than your significant other? "When couples work out, they can focus on their goals together," says celebrity trainer Ashley Borden. "It creates a bond between you." Here are 15 ways you lovebirds can stay in shape together.

1. Weightlifting

There's no need to go your separate ways at the gym. Try lifting weights as a duo and see how much your workout improves (especially in the motivation department). Your partner can be a spotter, double checking your form, ensuring you're not taking on too much weight and offering encouragement if you're feeling tired.

You can also try two-person exercises like medicine ball V-sits or rows with resistance bands. It's a great way to get pumped with each other's help.

Calories burned: 180 and 266 for 30 minutes

2. AcroYoga

Partner yoga (a.k.a. AcroYoga) can strengthen both your yoga practice and your relationship. Poses that are meant to be performed together, such as double downward-facing dog, allow you to stretch more fully and deeply than you could on your own. These poses also require trust, teamwork and communication.

"Partner yoga is really good for relationships because it encourages you to be in touch with each other," Borden says. If you're really adventurous (and already fairly active yogis), give it a try!

Calories burned: 120 and 178 for 30 minutes

3. Rock Climbing

Rock climbing requires you to support one another — both literally and figuratively. Whether you're scaling a rugged outcropping or an indoor rock wall, your partner belaying you holds your life (or at least your fracture-free limbs) in his or her hands.

The activity is also good for improving communication skills. As you climb, your loved one on the ground acts as a second set of eyes, helping you find that next handhold and encouraging you on your way up.

Calories burned: 330 and 448 for 30 minutes

4. Circuit Workouts

If the gym isn't your thing, you two can get a great couple workout using just your body weight. Try a round of couple's calisthenics. Set a timer for 10 minutes, then rotate between sets of squats, push-ups and planks until it goes off.

"By setting a timer, you can each go at your own pace, rather than trying to stay rep-for-rep with each other," says Borden. "That way, you're still working out together but you're trying to beat your time, not each other." Plus, you'll bring out your competitive sides.

Calories burned: 240 and 355 for 30 minutes

5. Running

Cardio is better with company, so why not head out on a run together? "Set a destination, tie your shoelaces and just go," Borden says. Somewhere scenic is good, and a route that ends with breakfast afterward is even better.

Your local park or running/bike path are both great options for scenery, and jogging the streets of your city lets you get more familiar with your surroundings than driving around by car. If the great outdoors isn't an option, head to the gym and hop on to two side-by-side treadmills. Keep the pace easy, so that both of you can comfortably maintain a conversation.

Calories burned: 300 and 444 for 30 minutes

6. Hiking

If running isn't your thing, hiking is a great way for couples to spend time together at a more manageable pace. Whether you're exploring a new trail or traveling down a familiar path, you'll have more time to take in all of nature's beauty and enjoy each other's company. The best part? Hiking is great for couples who have different fitness levels.

"If one of you is thinking 'this isn't enough of a real workout for me,' the more athletic of the two of you can put on a weighted vest, to add extra challenge," says Borden. And hiking is scalable (pun intended). If it's a recovery day for either of you, pick a trail with a little to no incline. Or if you want a butt-kicking couple workout, choose a path with more hills.

Calories burned: 180 and 266 for 30 minutes

7. Doubles Tennis

Do you and your partner have a competitive streak? Find two friends and head for the tennis courts, rackets in tow. "Doubles teams are fun because you're working together as a couple, to beat the other couple," Borden says.

You'll be so focused on the game and acing your next serve, yon won't even realize the workout your core, legs and arms are getting — not to mention, tennis is a great cardio workout, too. And win or lose, you're in it together. So carve out some time afterward to reward yourselves with some refreshing iced tea, lemonade or fruit-infused water and toast to your health.

Calories burned: 210 to 311 for 30 minutes

8. Cycling

A bike ride with your beau is can be as challenging or as leisurely as you like; just make sure you commit to a route that's in line with both of your physical abilities. "If it's casual, it's fun," Borden says. "If it's not casual, someone is going to get left in the dust." And no one wants that on their date.

Cycling is a great cardiovascular workout without a ton of impact, meaning it's a good way to work your heart without a lot of pounding to your body. But even though it's low-impact on your joints, your legs will certainly feel it the next day. Bonus: It's a great excuse to see your sweetie in spandex.

Calories burned: 240 to 355 for 30 minutes

9. Salsa Dancing

Traditional exercise isn't the only way to get your heart rate up. For a fun couple workout that's surprisingly challenging, try salsa dance lessons (or any other class your gym or local rec center offers).

"Salsa combines a physical activity with a romantic atmosphere," says Craig Ballantyne, a certified strength and conditioning coach. "And when you take on a new activity, it stimulates dopamine, the brain's pleasure-seeking neurotransmitter." You and your partner will have learned a whole new skill and had some fun in the process.

Calories burned: 165 to 244 for 30 minutes

10. Swimming

Whether your gym has a pool, you have one in your backyard or you prefer the open waters of an ocean or lake, swimming is the perfect, low-impact couple workout for you and your partner. You can try racing each other in neighboring lanes or take turns timing each other and cheering the other on.

Mix it up by varying your stroke, which also targets different muscle groups in your arms and legs. If you start out with the breaststroke, switch to the butterfly or backstroke. For an extra workout, see which one of you can tread water the longest.

Calories burned: 300 to 444 for 30 minutes

11. Kickboxing Class

Kickboxing classes are a fun way to blow off some steam while practicing a new and useful skill set. Find a class (or DVD) that you both enjoy and partner up for all kinds of kicks, punches and jabs. It's a full-body couple workout that will leave you sore in muscles you didn't think could be sore. But remember, you're working with your partner, not against him or her.

Calories burned: 300 to 444 for 30 minutes

12. One-on-One Basketball

Time for a little friendly competition on the court. Grab a basketball and head to your gym, the local rec center or freestanding basketball courts in your area. You can either stick to traditional one-on-one basketball action or mix it up by incorporating games like HORSE.

It's a great lower-body couple workout that combines cardio work with plenty of hand-eye coordination. And since the more, the merrier, you can always invite friends or other couples to join in your game.

Calories burned: 240 to 355 for 30 minutes

13. Golfing

Hit the links hand in hand with your sweetheart for a few holes of golf. If you ditch the golf cart and carry your own clubs, you'll amp up the calorie burn. Plus, all that walking in between holes gives you both lots of time to catch up with each other.

Make sure to do plenty of back and ab stretches beforehand to prevent muscle strains to your core during your swing and for a more carefree day of golf, toss the scorecard and focus on enjoying your time together.

Calories burned: 165 to 244 for 30 minutes

14. Canoeing or Kayaking

Rent a canoe or two-person kayak and take to the open waters! You'll not only fit in a great cardio and upper-body workout (guaranteed your arms will be sore the next day), but you'll work on your communication and teamwork when coordinating your strokes and steering your vessel wherever you want to go. Choose choppier waters like the ocean for a more challenging couple workout or stick to the calmer water of lakes for something more low-key.

Calories burned: 150 to 222 for 30 minutes

15. Skiing or Snowboarding

You might not be able to partake in this activity year round, but once winter hits, take advantage of the colder weather and snowfall by planning a ski trip. You can cuddle up on the chairlift to the top of the mountain, then race each other on the way down or simply enjoy the descent and the surrounding scenery.

All the way down, you'll be targeting your hip flexors, quads and glutes. Afterward, recount your day on the hill to each other while enjoying the warmth of the fire (and maybe some hot tea or cocoa) at the ski lodge.

Calories burned: 180 to 266 for 30 minutes

Relax and Recover Together, Too!

Not all physical activity is meant to be demanding. In fact, rest is a key component of training, because your body gets stronger during your recovery from your workout, not during the exercise session itself. So set aside some time to take it easy together.

"Schedule a massage, do some stretching or soak together in a salt bath," Borden says. It'll give the two of you some much-needed time to yourselves without outside distractions (turn those cellphones off) and the opportunity to relive your active adventures together.

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