Partner workout: advanced calisthenics

A balanced fitness routine can be hard to achieve on your own. That’s one reason Tracy Gordon and Rashaad Moss choose to work out together. 

“Tracy does a lot of lower-body training,” says Moss, a Tier 3+ trainer at West 50th Street in New York City. “She helps me with that, and in return I help her with upper-body calisthenics.” 

The pair met in 2017 when Gordon, a group fitness instructor at Equinox locations in New York City, started teaching at West 50th Street. “I saw how intense her workouts were and I knew I had to train with her,” Moss says. 

The respect was mutual: “I admired his work ethic and overall training style,” Gordon notes. “He has taught me the importance of teamwork and trying to master your craft every day.” 

Sometimes, friendships that originate on the strength floor migrate out of the club. That’s the case for Moss and Gordon, who get together from time to time to kick back and grab a drink. The beauty of it: Not only do they teach each other lessons in fitness, but in life, too. “I’ve learned from her how to be social and network,” Moss says. “I’m naturally introverted and she’s the exact opposite. By sharing her energy with me, she has made me more open to making new connections with people.” 

Below, they share a partner workout that represents their blended training styles. Do it once or twice a week as a finisher or as part of your HIIT sessions. “I love that this routine has so many layers to it, combining the landmine, bodyweight exercises, and plyometrics,” Moss says. (Watch the full video above for the highlights and progression inspiration.)

To do it well, you’ll need experience with unilateral moves like explosive knee drives and step-ups. This will give you the balance and strength needed to support your partner’s weight during the reverse lunges, which Moss notes is the most difficult exercise in the workout. “As you lower into the lunge, your partner’s body shifts and forces you to use your core to stabilize the weight.” 

Adds Gordon: “Do it with someone who breathes positive energy into your session, which will help you overcome your perceived physical limits.” 

The workout: 

Landmine squat

Stand with feet wider than hips and hold the free end of a landmine with both hands in front of your chest. Keeping chest up, lower into a squat until quads are parallel to the ground (pictured). Press up to return to start for one rep. Complete 5 reps, then immediately start the next exercise.

Landmine rotation

From the top of the squat, extend both arms so they’re straight in front of you, pressing the landmine forward. Pivot the left foot, rotating your body to the right and lowering the weight to your right hip (pictured). Return to center with the weight at chest height, then repeat on the other side and return to start for one rep. Complete 5 reps, then immediately start the next exercise.

Alternating reverse landmine lunges

Transfer the landmine to your right hand and perform a reverse lunge, stepping the right foot back and lowering until the left quad is parallel to the ground (pictured). Reverse the motion to return to start, then repeat with the left hand and left leg for one rep. Complete 4 reps, then immediately start the next exercise.

Landmine shuffle

Hold the landmine with both hands and extend your arms down so that the weight is in front of your quads. Shuffle 3 steps to the side away from your partner (pictured), tap the landmine to the ground, and shuffle 3 steps back to the center for one rep. Keep your chest up, knees bent, and core engaged throughout. Complete 4 reps, then immediately start the next exercise.

Reverse lunge + handstand + shuffle

Partner 1, get into a handstand with hands just wider than shoulders. Partner 2, hold their ankles with each hand and, supporting their weight, perform a reverse lunge with each leg (pictured). Both partners, return to standing and shuffle 5 steps to the side away from your partner, tap the ground with your hand, then shuffle 5 steps back to the center for one rep. Complete 5 reps of this lunge-handstand-shuffle combo. Switch places with your partner, repeat, then immediately start the next exercise.

Push-up + lateral jump

Partner 1, get into a high plank with feet as wide as your hips and hands as wide as your shoulders. Partner 2, stand to the left of your partner’s torso. Partner 1, perform a push-up. Partner 2, jump over their upper body as they perform the push-up (pictured), facing forward and landing on their right side. That's one rep. On the next push-up, jump over them in the opposite direction, landing to their left. Perform 10 reps, then switch places with your partner and repeat.