These are the 15 best, most effective partner core exercises. Video and written instruction of each partner ab move is included.
You’ll need your partner and your A-game. Otherwise, this is a partner ab workout without equipment.
Partner abdominal exercises are an effective way to target your core muscles and strengthen one of the most important areas of the body.
Having a strong core is more than simply looking good at the pool. Your abdomen muscles are responsible for balance and stability, and the stronger they are, the less likely you’ll be susceptible to injury.
In the article, we share the most effective abs exercises for couples.
We like these abs partner moves because you don’t need any equipment other than your partner. Some moves are tougher than others, but everyone, beginners through advanced, will feel the burn!
These moves also target the three major muscle groups of your abdomen: the transverse abdominis, oblique muscles, and rectus abdominus. Only when you work all three groups will you be on your way to a stronger core and a six-pack (if that’s what you’re going for!)
Why Partner Core Exercises Are Better Than Doing Them Alone
Core workouts are tough in the best of times, so we love when there’s a chance to partner up.
By doing core exercises with your partner, you’re able to increase the intensity and motivation.
A study out of Kansas State University found that exercising with a partner can double your performance. It also showed that an accountability buddy even influences the duration of the workout, motivating you to work out twice as long.
Sometimes, two are truly better than one.
Additionally, outside of the known physical benefits of working out with a partner, psychologists have found that attraction and arousal also increase when working out with your significant other.
According to this study, couples who work out together feel “more satisfied with their relationships and more in love with their partner.”
Ready to find an abs partner and get your core workout on?
The 15 Best Partner Core Exercises
The following are fun and challenging partner abdominal exercises.
Remember to breathe and focus on form. Most importantly, keep your core engaged to protect your lower back.
For beginners, target 10-20 reps for each exercise, trying to complete the full set of 15 partner ab exercises.
For more advanced couples, target 20 reps of each exercise, and shoot for two sets.
1. Oblique Cheek to Cheek
With your arms behind your heads, lie on your backs with your legs overlapping. Make sure your abs are engaged and that your back never curves off the ground, but lies flat.
Stretch your legs out to one side in an oblique crunch, then pull them into your chest, and repeat on the opposite side.
2. Side-To-Side Crunches
Get ready to work your obliques. On the ground, get into a standard crunch position with your feet touching.
Raise your shoulders off the ground and pivot your upper bodies from side to side. Reach for your partner’s hand to maximize the range of motion. Remember to activate your core, and of course, breathe!
This partner abs move is also used in our wildly popular Couples Workout Routine, which comprises total-body exercises, HIIT cardio, and only requires bodyweight.
3. Side Plank Up Top Down Low
This partner abdominal exercise works your shoulder strengths and balances while testing your cores.
With your backs to each other, get into a side plank, either on your hands for an advanced move or on your elbows and knees to modify. Lift your hands up in the air and give each other a tap. Then, crunch over your obliques and high five beneath your bodies as well.
This counts as one rep.
4. High Five In-And-Outs
A more advanced move, this partner core exercise is like a traditional pike-up, aka in-and-outs, but with a high five. Begin with the pike-up and add in a high five when your feet are jumping back to a plank position.
Not only does this abs partner move work your full core, but it’s also great cardio.
5. Tandem Bicycle Crunches
Begin by both lying on your backs. Push the bottoms of your feet together and lift into a traditional bicycle crunch. Try to pedal for one repetition without ever losing contact between your feet.
Core strength is critical for balance and stability. Therefore, this is an exercise used regularly in our at-home Couples Yoga Program.
6. C-Sit Squares
A new take on the traditional “V-up,” sit facing each other. Place your hands either to the side or beneath your hip bone (for an easier exercise). With legs overlapping, lift and straighten your legs in turns, drawing squares with your feet.
Keep your back straight and core engaged.
7. Stacked Plank
Like your classic high plank, but much, much more fun.
Have one person get into a classic high plank on their hands. The second person now places their hands on the other’s person’s ankles and places their feet on the first person’s shoulders. Hold.
Change positions after your plank hold.
8. Mountain Climber Crunch Kiss
For the lovers out there, you’ll love this partner abdominal exercise incorporating both HIIT cardio and core.
Have one partner in the plank position doing mountain climbers (running in place while pulling your knees into your chest) with their hands on the other’s feet. The second person will be doing crunches. At the top, meet for a kiss.
Switch roles after completing your reps.
9. Hip Lift Plank Hold
A great core and glute workout, this hip lift and plank is the perfect combination.
Have one person in a standard plank on their hands. The other person lies on their back but places their legs on the first person. This adds extra weight for the person holding the plank, so it’s important to squeeze your glutes and push through every finger.
The second person can now do hip lifts, raising up and down.
Switch roles after completing your reps.
10. Speedy Plank Jack Shoulder Taps
From the plank position, going head to head, jump your legs out to the sides, like a horizontal jumping jack. When jumping your legs back into the center, tap your partner’s shoulder.
This one is tougher than it looks, testing your balance and stability while doubling as cardio. We love partner core exercises that incorporate multi-functional, dynamic moves like this one.
11. Butterfly Crunches
Sit facing each other in a seated butterfly, with feet touching. Curve your back and slowly sit back into a butterfly crunch. At the top of each crunch, give each other a high five, a kiss, or whatever your secret handshake is!
12. Acroyoga Square
This is another advanced partner abs move, particularly for the person on the bottom. Start with one person lying on their back.
The second person should get into a plank position, either with their hands on the other person’s ankles or on the floor next to them. The first person can grab their ankles and lift them straight upwards.
At the same time, both people should engage their core until the first person is sitting straight upwards, arms extended, while the second person moves into an “L” shape.
Hold and return to the ground. This counts as one rep.
For more acroyoga and 2 people yoga poses, here are our favorite couples yoga poses.
13. Extended Leg Crunch
Lie flat on your back for a traditional crunch. Extend opposite legs so that your feet are touching. With hands behind your head, crunch up towards the sky.
After your reps are done, switch legs and repeat.
14. Shoulder Tap Burpee
Another core-cardio fixture in our partner core exercises, begin in a high plank on your hands.
Tap both of each other’s shoulders before planting your hands again on the ground. Jump your feet to your hands in a half-burpee, but keep your hands on the ground. Jump your feet back for one rep.
15. Side Plank Starfish
This partner abdominal exercise can be tricky if you and your partner are of different heights… but just do your best!
Have one person go into a high side plank with a leg lift. The second person, with their back facing the first, gets into a high side plank in the opposite direction. With each of your raised hands, hold up your partner’s ankle.
Hold and then switch sides.
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We hope you enjoy these core exercises with your partner. Remember to have fun, and, for best results, repeat the routine until you reach muscle failure.
For a more structured and challenging core workout routine, check out our 30-Day Ab Challenge with a PDF calendar included.
If you’ve enjoyed using your partner as gym equipment, we recommend boosting your cardio together with our Couple’s Workout Routine. or your balance and flexibility with our Couples Yoga Flow Routine.
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Hey we're Ryan and Alex
The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”
After eight years working in the corporate world as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples engineer their best lives.
The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship as a couple.
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