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Five benefits of working out with a friend

When it comes to working out, having a friend along for the ride – or lift – can be beneficial.

Story by Jen Edwards + Photography by Mike Ritterbeck

When it comes to staying fit, there are some convincing reasons why you should grab a buddy to get your sweat on. If you’re not already meeting up with a friend to work out, hopefully this will inspire you to give it a try.

Austin and Libby Benedictare originally from central Pennsylvania but have lived on Hilton Head for the past three years. They met at Penn State but got engaged on Hilton Head. Austin is the activities manager at Marriott’s Surfwatch Resort. Libby is a human resources manager and has a huge passion for health and fitness. She shares workouts, positive inspiration and healthy meal ideas on her Instagram page, @libby_fitness.

1. Friendly Competition Can Help You Make More Progress. Whether it’s a run around the neighborhood or a weightlifting session, having a friend along can challenge you to go faster, lift heavier or work harder.

2. Accountability Is Key to Consistency. Of course, you can schedule your own solo workouts on your calendar, but when you know a friend is counting on you to show up, it’s more difficult to back out. Keeping tabs on each other with a phone call or text is another way to hold each other accountable.

3. You’re Less Likely to Get Injured. If there’s no mirror to check your own form, your partner can take a look to be sure you’re doing an exercise properly. Everything from proper squat technique to your plank position can be tweaked by the watchful eye of your workout buddy.

4. The Social Aspect Will Keep You Coming Back For More. Whether you love to work out or only tolerate it, the added bonus of time with a friend can make it more enjoyable. In between exercises you can talk to each other, or you can even plan to head out for a healthy lunch or smoothie when you’re finished.

5. Learning New Moves Can Keep Workouts Fresh. Not only can your friend introduce you to new exercises, there are also plenty of effective partner drills to keep things fun (see my Chaplin Park Partner Workout below.)

Try this Chaplin Park Partner Workout

Chaplin Park is located mid-island between Singleton Beach Road and Burkes Beach Road. From the soccer fields to the trails to the playground, there is a variety of areas in the park that are ideal for a fun partner sweat session. Perform each of these drills for 60 seconds of work followed by 15 seconds of rest. You’ll need a medicine ball and a long resistance band for the workout.

1. Medicine Ball Partner Shuffle:

Stand facing your partner about six feet apart. Shuffle to the side together while passing the medicine ball back and forth. Keep your abs engaged and throw from your chest. Stay low in a squat position to give your legs the biggest burn.

2. Partner Power Run:

Your partner is standing in front of you facing away. The resistance band is secured around their waist and you hold the handles from behind. Your partner will perform a traveling high knee run as you squat low and walk slowly behind. After 60 seconds, trade positions and complete again.

3. Medicine Ball Wood Chop Throw:

Stand beside your partner, about six feet between you, facing the same direction. Perform a wood chop with the medicine ball by lowering the ball below your outside hip and then extending up high above your shoulder to the other side. As you extend up high, release the ball in the air for your partner to catch. They then perform their wood chop and throw it back. After 60 seconds, trade positions and complete again.

4. Resistance Band Chest Press:

Begin in the same position as the Partner Power Run, your partner standing in front of you, facing away. Your partner will hold the handles of the resistance band while you hold the center of the band behind your partner. They will perform chest presses as you anchor the band from behind. After 60 seconds, trade positions and complete again.

5. Medicine Ball Russian Twist & Pass:

For this drill, you are sitting on the ground facing your partner, knees bent and leaning back slightly in a “V-Sit” position. Rotate the medicine ball across the front of your body 180 degrees, touching the ground with the ball on each side of your hips and then toss to your partner. As they perform the rotations, maintain the V-Sit position to activate the abdominals throughout the entire minute.

6. Partner Plank & Plyo:

Your partner will begin in a plank position (a push-up position with arms straight or down on elbows) while you stand next to your partner’s legs. Swing your arms, bend your knees and jump over your partner’s legs. Continue jumping over and back for one minute and then switch positions. For a more intense exercise, jump over your partner’s hips or back.

7. Race Finisher:

You don’t need your timer for this final drill. Designate a place to race your partner to. Sprint to the finish and jog back to the starting place. Complete 4 races for a fantastic, high heart rate finisher.