Partner Up: Upper-Body Exercises for Two


Workout buddies Julie Anne Cormier and Juliette Lauer are back with another round of partner exercises that will get you toned while having fun. For more fitness, follow them at @julieannefrenchfry and @juliettelauer.


Hello Fabletics readers! It’s Julie and Juliette here again to share our favorite upper-body partner exercises (because two is always better than one, right?). Partner exercises are unique because they’re all about working together to find stability, so they add an extra challenge for your muscles.

The only gear you’ll need for this workout is a water bottle, a mat—and a friend!


Acroyoga Push-ups

These push-ups are inspired by acroyoga and both partners are active the entire time. While it may look like you get a brief break, your muscles are constantly engaged.


  • One partner lies on their back while the other stands about two feet behind the top of their partner’s head. Option: keep both feet together or stand in a lunge to make it easier.
  • The partner lying down extends arms to the sky and the standing partner places their hands in them.
  • The lying partner lowers their elbows to the ground and then extends their hands back toward the sky while the standing partner holds a tight plank shape.
  • Next, the standing partner does a push-up on their partner’s hands.
  • Do five reps each, switch positions, do five more reps. That is one set. Do three sets.


Overhead Press

With overhead presses, both partners challenge their core muscles while one targets triceps and the other holds a tight plank position. It requires balance, so it works those small stabilizing muscles.


  • One partner sits on their heels with arms extended overhead while the other stands two feet away and places their hands with extended arms on their partner’s hands. Option: the standing partner can lunge to reduce the amount of weight that the sitting partner presses.
  • The standing partner maintains a strong, tight core, engaged shoulders, and locked out arms, holding plank or lunge position throughout the exercise.
  • The sitting partner pushes up and down overhead.
  • Sitting partner does five presses. Do three sets each switching positions after each set.


Handstand Hold

Assisted handstands can be done with or without the support of a wall along with assistance from your partner. Place hands directly under shoulders and keep a tight core the entire time. Because your partner will help you balance, partner handstands allow you to max out muscles with longer holds.


  • Start by kicking or doing an assisted lift-up to a handstand with your partner’s support as shown in the video.
  • Option one: Hold a 30-second handstand pushing through your shoulders and reaching your toes to the sky.
  • Option two: Shrug your shoulders alternating between a tall extended position and relaxing shoulders away from your ears so your head comes closer to the floor. Do this for 30 seconds.


Water Bottle Pass

This exercise challenges the entire upper body and quads. Since you’ll be holding boat pose and passing a full water bottle, both abdominal and arm muscles are targeted. Passing the water to your partner adds a little hand-eye coordination and focus to your workout.


  • Start by sitting next to your partner with a full water bottle in reach.
  • Sit in boat pose with a long straight spine and calves parallel to the ground.
  • One partner picks up the water bottle and passes it to the other.
  • Pass the water bottle back and forth alternating between going over and under your legs.
  • Do two, one-minute sets.


Partner Plank Press

Put your partner-coordination skills to the test with this spin on the classic plank pose.


  • One partner lies with their back on the ground and feet hip-width apart to give the person on top a little space.
  • The other places hands on the ground outside their partners ankles and slowly enters a plank placing their ankles in their partner’s hands.
  • The partner on top does a push-up, and then the partner lying down does a ‘push-up’ by lowering and then lifting their partner’s ankles.
  • Option: hold a one-minute plank instead of doing push-ups if they are too challenging.
  • Do five presses each, switch positions, do five more presses each. That is one set. Do three sets.


Plank Army Crawls

Make sure you have some space for this high-energy and playful exercise!


  • One partner starts in a plank position. To make the exercise more challenging, this person can keep a straight body or less challenging by rounding the back a bit and pushing higher through the shoulders to create more space underneath.
  • The other partner army crawls on their forearms under the other and then assumes a plank position for the other to crawl under.
  • Do two, one-minute sets.


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