Author: Emma Krokdal
Photography: Per Bernal
Find your perfect partner and get your pump on with Muscle and Health fitness expert Emma Krokdal and her fiancé, Hollywood legend Dolph Lundgren
Training with a partner can be a great way to stay motivated. It can really give you that extra push and you can hold one another accountable.
If you’re worried about differences in size, strength, or flexibility, don’t be! Training together doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do exactly the same thing. Of course, we all have different body compositions and goals. At times we have to work around injuries or lack of experience and there are always variations you can implement to accommodate those factors.
I train with Dolph and of course, he’s stronger than me, but we still like to perform the same movements, we just adjust the load accordingly.
At the height of the COVID pandemic, we were on location and didn’t have access to a gym or any equipment, so we started to do more partner workouts. It was fun to switch up our usual routine and get creative and it’s something we’ve continued to practice every week. It works really well if we’re away filming or have limited time.
We’re back in the gym following our own individual weights programs, but we still enjoy boxing together once a week. We spar together or Dolph holds the pads for me. Even though our workouts look different, we train at the same time and help to motivate and inspire one another, which is something you can always do.
For example, doing push-ups on the knees instead of feet. Doing planks on the hands instead of on the elbows. On the partner row exercise (as shown in the photo) the person on the bottom can change the load for the person performing the row by moving their feet closer or further away. Further away makes it more challenging.
Emma and Dolph’s Top Partner Exercises – No Equipment Needed!!
1. Bodyweight Bench Press
The person performing the exercise should lie on the ground and extend their arms. The partner uses his or her body weight as the load. To make this exercise more challenging, the person on top can stand in a plank position, thus using their entire body weight as resistance.
2. Bodyweight Rows
The person performing the exercise should stand over his or her partner, then grab their arms and pull them up. To execute this correctly, make sure you lean forwards, hinging your hips back slightly and keeping your back straight. To adjust the load, the person on the bottom can move their feet closer or further away.
3. Bodyweight Leg Press
The person performing the exercise should lie on the ground with their feet on his or her partner’s chest. The partner uses their body weight as the load. To make this exercise more challenging, try performing single leg.
4. The Finisher
We like to perform full sit-ups and oblique sit-ups by having one person stand over the other and offer their hands as pads. As you sit up, gently punch your partner’s palm, twisting at the waist to activate the obliques. To make this more challenging, the person on top can simply move their hands further away. For an easier version, have your partner perform crunches rather than full sit-ups by bringing your palms close to their chest.
5. Always Finish with a Stretch
Stretching together is one of our favorite ways to optimize partner training time, since you can push your partner gently into a developmental stretch they perhaps wouldn’t achieve alone due to flexibility issues or lack of patience. Stretching can be boring, but holding each position for a minimum of 60 seconds is important if you want to increase flexibility, prevent injury when exercising, aid recovery and prepare yourself for intensive exercise.
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