Try a 5-Move Throwback Fitness Partner Workout

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The Throwback Approach to Making Fitness Fun

Throwback Fitness
Throwback Fitness

Throwback Fitness has been called ‘summer camp for adults’ and that makes us happy! We are gamifying fitness by harnessing the feelings of accomplishment, confidence and camaraderie that come from being part of a team, and the excitement felt when working together to achieve a common goal. Our workouts channel the nostalgia of adolescence by modeling our unique, competitive, partner- and team-based workouts after such childhood favorites as dodgeball and capture the flag, or even dorm room-inspired games like flip cup. 

Boredom, disappointment with results and lack of commitment are what led us to launch Throwback. We started working out together in 2007, while we were working at the same investment bank. Our workouts turned to friendly competitions (that sometimes got pretty intense) to see who could run faster, lift more and push themself harder. From there we took the next step, thinking about how we could turn our favorite games into workouts.

We would play basketball, but before taking a shot, we'd have to do a series of exercises like push-ups, squats, burpees and lunges to earn the chance to shoot. Wanting to score the most points, we realized we were working extra hard and squeezing in more reps than usual to beat the other person.

We started conceptualizing Throwback in early 2013. Word spread quickly amongs friends, family and coworkers. Before we knew it, we were running classes outside in parks and indoor where we could find space for people we knew. Our clients didn’t realize 45 minutes had passed, as sweat dripped off their foreheads and smiles filled their faces. The idea of classic games, the sense of nostalgia (we filled our studio with posters from the 80s and 90s and blasted old-school tunes) and friendly competition proved to be a successful formula.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is tough, but it's the most effective way to work out. By working out very hard for short periods of time, then resting and trying to push yourself harder the next time, clients accomplish a lot in a shorter amount of time. Figuring out a way to make it fun keeps people coming back and working hard.

Here are a few ways you can gamify your own workout and put a touch of Throwback into your routine.

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Partner Pass Situps

Med Ball Pass Sit Ups
Throwback Fitness

You and your partner should lie on the ground on your backs, your feet together, bodies facing opposite directions. For this exercise, we recommend using a medicine ball, dumbbell or some sort of weight to provide an added challenge.

Each partner lies with their arms out, extended over their heads. One partner holds the weight. The partners perform a situp at the same time, and at the top of the situp, the person with the weight passes it to his or her partner. From there, they return to the starting position, letting the weight come back toward the ground before continuing the series.

Keep your core tight throughout the move, both on the way up and down.

The real fun and challenge comes when pushing yourself. This comes in the form of finding a few friends to compete against or if it’s just two of you, turn on a timer. Do multiple sets of the same exercise for a certain amount of time. Set your timer for one minute and see how many reps you can do in that time. Each set, try to beat your previous reps, pushing yourself harder and ultimately seeing better results.

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Leg Throwdowns

Leg Throwdowns
Throwback Fitness

Lets focus on those hard to define lower abs by taking traditional leg lifts to the next level.

One partner stands up (and gets a short breather). The other partner lies on his or her back, head by the other's feet, hands gripping their ankles. The partner on the ground starts by lying flat, feet extended with the body elongated. Next, this partner pulls from the core, lifting his or her legs toward the partner’s chest, keeping the knees slightly bent as the legs raise up.

The partner standing tall should be ready to "catch" the other’s feet. Once the feet reach about chest level, it’s time to throw (not push, put some force behind it) those legs back toward the ground. The extra challenge comes from person on the ground resisting the force, keeping his or her feet from touching the ground. Raise and repeat.

The "thrower" could also mix it up and work his or her partner’s obliques by throwing the legs left and right, helping build that ‘V’ and strengthen the core.

The Throwback twist? Set your stopwatch for 30 seconds or a minute and start counting. Whoever can lift their legs up the most times without hitting the ground wins. If your legs hit the ground you can deduct a point or do a three-burpee penalty for each ground violation. Wait until you see how many more reps you get in and how much harder you work your abs so that your legs don’t touch!

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Burpee Over Plank

Burpee Over Plank
Throwback Fitness

Two of the toughest but most effective exercises are burpees and planks. We combine the two into one routine and try to make them as fun as possible (we know, it’s tough).

One partner holds a low plank on his or her forearms. Keep your abs in and tight for maximum results and to alleviate any possible lower back pain, keeping your hips down and body as straight as possible.

The other partner starts by standing next to the person who is planking. From there they will complete a burpee.

  1. Squat down, knees remaining behind your feet.
  2. Drop your hands to the ground, then kick your feet out with your arms extended, as if you were going to do a pushup, which is optional. 
  3. Pop back up, returning to the squat position.
  4. (THE FUN PART) Jump up from the squat position and laterally, over your partner.

Having one partner in the low plank position pushes the person doing burpees to jump even higher to clear them. Once on the other side, complete another burpee and jump back over the partner.

Set a timer and see who can accomplish more reps in a set period of time, then switch and try again.

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High Five Pushups

High 5 Pushups
Throwback Fitness

Nobody wants to let his or her teammate down. That’s the magic behind the high five pushup!

Both people setup in pushup position, facing one another, about arm’s length apart. Drop down like you normally would to do a pushup, abs tight, back flat and hands under your body. Feel free to modify by doing the push-ups from your knees.

The added challenge (and fun) comes on the way up. When you reach the top, reach out and slap your partner five, opposite hands connecting. That added reach helps work the obliques, so you’re getting a 2-for-1 with the pushup.

Working with your partner, that high five provides positive reinforcement with each rep. Along with the reinforcement, one partner will push the other, keeping them motivated to work faster, harder and squeeze in the extra reps.

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Back-To-Back Wall Sit

Back Wall Sit
Throwback Fitness

Now that you’ve worked up a sweat, it’s time to get a little closer to your partner. You may have heard of wall-sits, essentially squats where you're leaning against a wall.

Our version bumps up the intensity and the challenge (and possibly laughs).

You and your partner should stand back-to-back, than slowly drop down into a squat position. Activate your core and hip flexors. Unlike leaning against a wall, the instability of another person provides an added challenge. You’ll quickly start to feel your legs burn and shake, as you have try to stay low to the ground, leaning back against your partner, thighs parallel to the ground. You’ll be able to actually feel how hard you're each working to stay up and that will motivate you to fight the burn and stay in the squat.

Once you're set and back-to-back, start your timer. See how long you can hold the position, going as long as you can. Take a quick break, grab some water and do it again. See if you can hold yourself up longer the next time, beating your previous record each time. If you find another pair of squatters, setup alongside them and see who can stay down the longest!

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