It’s February (right!?), and that 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 love (love for yourself, love for your partner, love for others, we're all about one love!).
So to celebrate V-Day in Spartan style, and stay on track with your fitness resolutions, 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, year-round, for the last several years. Here, Menno shares his perfect couples gym workout. Try this instead of housing chocolate-dipped strawberries and champagne, (or tackle this workout first, and earn that bubbly).
The Benefits of Hitting the Gym as a Couple
There are a few practical and psychological benefits to hitting the gym together as a couple. First, it lets you spend more time together, and makes working out more fun. Second, you can spot each other, which is very useful for exercises like the bench press. Third, working out together re-affirms your commitment both to your fitness and to each other.
Or as Menno puts it: “Couples can support each other both physically, as well as mentally. 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. For some people just being seen may already push them to train harder.”
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.
Related: Cluster Sets for Strength and Power
A1) Barbell or Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
3/2 sets of 15/8 reps
If you choose to use dumbbells, it’s otherwise the same form as shown in the video
3/2 sets of 12/6 reps per side
“From a deficit” refers to how he has his front foot elevated, allowing the 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 like in the video. Note that when spotting, you’re only providing 10% of the force — the lifter is still providing most of it. So there’s no reason a woman can’t spot a much larger man.
C2) Barbell or Dumbbell Modified Upright Row
3/2 sets of 12/6 reps
After completing the workout, spend five to ten minutes stretching out together. Stretching is important both from an overall health standpoint, and to build a deeper connection with each other.
As Menno quotes Socrates on his site, “it's a shame to grow old without seeing what manner of [person] we may become when we develop our mind and body to their limits.” And while it’s great to become the best person you can possibly be, it’s even better for a couple to grow and explore their potential together.