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Shane Heins and Francheska Martinez demonstrate the squat sprawl.

Partner Mobility Workout

Written by
July 25, 2023

If you’re having trouble sticking to a workout program, remember the buddy system. Research (1, 2, 3) consistently finds that people who work out with other people—be they friends, romantic partners, or just folks with the same goals—are more likely to continue their regimen, enjoy their workouts, train longer and harder, and reap mental and emotional benefits too, including better social relationships. In the spirit of teamwork, we bring you a partner workout courtesy of our Director of Fitness Education, Shane Heins (@shaneheins), and Onnit-certified coach and brand ambassador Francheska Martinez (@francheskafit).

In the video below, Shane and Francheska demonstrate an “I Go, You Go” style routine, in which one person leads the other through an exercise of their choosing, and then the roles reverse. You can apply this kind of workout to virtually any training you like to do. It can make your session more spontaneous and fun, and it helps both you and your partner learn new workout techniques. The workout Shane and Francheska came up with here—improvised on the spot, we might add—is for total-body mobility. You can do a round or two of it as a warmup before a weight-training workout, or do it by itself to help improve flexibility and body control. Done at a brisk pace with short rest periods, it can also double as a cardiovascular routine for endurance gains. Of course, it’s more fun to do the workout with a partner, but you can certainly use it when you’re solo as well.

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Directions

The workout should take about 30 minutes. Perform the exercises in sequence, doing reps for 1 minute on each move. Repeat for 5 total rounds, resting as needed between rounds. Perform the workout up to 3 times per week on days in between your normal strength training. If you do it at a brisk pace, it could double as a cardio session as well.

1. Tai Chi Twist

Reps: Go for 60 seconds

(See 1:14 in the video above.)

Step 1. Take a wide (double shoulder-width) stance with your feet facing straight forward. Shift your weight to your right leg, bending your right knee and driving it forward, while you maintain a tall posture.

Step 2. Twist your torso so your body turns to the right. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you draw your arms back to chest level, and then straighten your knee, shifting your weight to your left leg, as you extend your arms and spread your shoulder blades. Keep your torso in line with your right leg.

Step 3. Twist your torso to face the left knee, bring your arms back, and straighten your left leg, lunging back to your right.

2. Mobile Table

Reps: Go for 60 seconds

(See 2:56 in the video above.)

Step 1. Sit on the floor and bend your knees so your feet are flat. Press your palms into the floor behind you. Your fingers can face any direction that’s comfortable (many people prefer fingers pointing out to the sides).

Step 2. Roll your shoulders back and drive your arms down as you extend your hips, raising your butt off the floor as high as you can—ideally until your torso and upper legs form a straight line (think: table top). But stop before your shoulders shrug. It’s OK if you can only lift your butt a few inches off the floor, as long as you keep your shoulders drawn down.

3. Spinal Roll To Mountain Climber

Reps: Go for 60 seconds

(See 4:51 in the video above.)

Step 1. Stand with feet hip-width apart and tuck your chin to your chest. Slowly bend forward at the spine, lowering your head down your body, one vertebrae at a time. Allow the weight of your head and arms to drag your torso down.

Step 2. Place your hands on the floor and step your legs back into a plank position (the top of a pushup, with your body forming a straight line from your head to your heels).

Step 3. Step your left foot forward so it’s in line with your left hand, and try to straighten your back again as much as you can. Now twist your torso to the left and reach your left arm overhead until your shoulders are stacked.

Step 4. Return your hand to the floor and walk your right foot forward so that it’s even with the left foot. Bend your knees forward and begin extending your spine, slowly, to come back up to standing. Repeat on the opposite side.

4. Internal Rotating Squat

Reps: Go for 60 seconds

(See 7:06 in the video above.)

Step 1. Step your right foot out to just outside shoulder width. Bring your left foot in so the ball of your foot is lined up with the middle of your right foot. Plant the left foot with your heel raised.

Step 2. Squat down (you’ll only be able to go to about one-quarter depth) and rotate to the right so that your left shoulder is lined up with your left knee. Come back up, and repeat on the opposite side.

5. Shoulder Roll

Reps: Go for 60 seconds

(See 9:50 in the video above.)

Step 1. Press your fingers into one another so your palms are open and straight, and glue them to the sides of your legs—try to keep your hands tight against your legs while your shoulders slide. Maintain that tension.

Step 2. Shrug your shoulders as high as you can, and then retract your shoulder blades to pinch them together.

Step 3. Draw your shoulders down so you feel a stretch in your traps, and then push your shoulders forward, spreading your shoulder blades apart. Continue making shoulder circles, striving for fluid movement between all positions.

6. Squat Sprawl

Reps: Go for 60 seconds

(See 11:30 in the video above.)

Step 1. Place your feet a little outside hip width and squat down until your knees are bent about 90 degrees. Keep a long line from your head to your pelvis so your lower back stays in its natural arch. Place your hands on the floor and extend your legs behind you so that you’re in the top of a pushup position.

Step 2. Lower your hips to the floor as you drive your palms down and extend your back, drawing your shoulders back and down (an upward dog position in yoga).

Step 3. Reverse the motion to return to pushup position, and then step your feet forward again so you’re back in the bottom of your squat. Stand up.

To increase the challenge, jump your feet back to the pushup position instead of walking your feet back.

See another bodyweight circuit in our guide to circuit training.

Onnit Academy is the most comprehensive database of information related to Unconventional Training, a unique new form of fitness methodology that focuses on functional strength, conditioning, and agility using the most efficient means and tools possible. The online database includes articles, videos, tutorials, and workouts featuring alternative implements like kettlebells, sandbags, steel maces, steel clubs, battle ropes, and more.
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