February means two things. First, most people are just over a month into their New Year’s resolutions. And second, Valentine’s Day is around the corner, which means it's time to celebrate like Spartans: with a workout.
To help you and your partner stay on track with your fitness resolutions this Valentine's Day, we tapped physique coach Menno Henselmans, who helps hundreds of clients achieve their New Year’s resolutions. (He and his girlfriend have also helped each other stay in world-class shape all year round for the last several years.)
Here, Menno shares his perfect couples gym workout. Try this instead of housing chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne (or at least tackle this workout first, and earn your reward).
The Practical and Psychological Benefits of Exercising With a Partner
There are a few practical and psychological benefits behind hitting the gym together as a couple. First, it allows you to spend more time together, making working out more fun. You also reap the benefit of being able to spot one another, which is very useful for exercises like the bench press. Finally, working out together re-affirms your commitment both to your fitness and to each other.
“Couples can support each other both physically, as well as mentally," Menno says. "We have good research showing people tend to gain more muscle and strength on a program when supervised than when doing it on their own. Your partner can act as a spotter, motivational support and a technique coach all in one."
Try This Couples Gym Workout in Honor of Valentine's Day
Sets and reps are listed as two numbers divided by a slash — the first is for women, the second for men. So “3/2 sets of 12/5 reps” would mean a woman does 3 sets of 12, and a man does 2 sets of 5. In male/female couples, have the woman do one set, then the man one set, then the woman, and so on until the woman does her last set.
Some exercises are also paired. In that case, each partner does both exercises back to back before the other partner takes their turn to do both.
A1) Barbell or Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
3/2 sets of 15/8 reps
3/2 sets of 12/6 reps per side
“From a deficit” refers to having your front foot elevated, allowing your back knee to dip below the level of the front foot.
3/2 sets of as many as possible
3/2 sets of 50/30 reps
3/2 sets of 10/5 reps
Spot each other, but note that when spotting, you’re only providing 10% of the force — the lifter is still providing most the other 90% — so there’s no reason that you can't spot a much stronger person.
C2) Barbell or Dumbbell Modified Upright Row
3/2 sets of 12/6 reps
After completing the workout, spend five to 10 minutes stretching out together.