Partner workout: kickboxing + strength

In Marisa Graniela and Gina DiNapoli’s choreographed workout, falling behind is not an option.

“Going at the same pace as the other person means you can’t take breaks and you’re held accountable for keeping up,” says DiNapoli, creator of the JABS brand and a group fitness instructor at Equinox locations in New York City. 

Though both of the women now lead classes, they met in March 2019 as teacher and student. 

“After Marisa’s second time taking JABS, I knew she was born to do it,” DiNapoli says. “I couldn’t find her after class but ended up DMing her on Instagram to ask if she would ever consider teaching.” The answer was yes.

Of the four JABS instructors, DiNapoli and Graniela have the most similar style, one they describe as relentless. That mentality comes into play when they train together outside of the studio, too. “We’re both constantly pushing each other to do one more punch, one more rep,” Graniela says. 

Below, they share a sequence that combines jabbing with traditional strength exercises like push-ups and ball slams. (All of the moves are shown in the video above.)

Don’t be fooled by the fun music and dance vibes—this circuit is tough. “It gets harder the more you do it,” DiNapoli says. “Once it becomes muscle memory, you don’t have to think about which move you’re going to do. Instead, you have to focus on perfecting your form and generating more power so you can confidently execute each element.” 

The routine will raise your heart rate and test your plyometric power through medicine ball slams and switch kicks, which DiNapoli considers the most difficult move. “The higher you bring your knee to your chest, the more air you’ll get,” she says. 

The workout: 

Choose a song between 3 and 5 minutes long (DiNapoli and Graniela love “Swang” by Sam Adams) and perform as many rounds as you can of the below routine while staying on the beat. You'll likely get through 3 to 5 rounds. Do it as a finisher after your regular strength or cardio workout.

Forward-facing cross punches

Stand with feet wider than hips with core engaged, a slight bend in the knees, and hands in fists in front of your face. Perform cross punches one after the other, alternating sides and punching forward at a slight angle across the midline of your body. Perform 8 punches per side, then immediately start the next move.

Bob and weave

From your cross punch stance, bend your knees to lower your center of gravity and duck laterally toward your partner, as if dodging a punch. Duck in the opposite direction to return to start for one rep, then immediately start the next move.

Chest pops

From the bob and weave, pivot to face your partner and, with one foot in front of the other, simultaneously shift your weight onto your front foot and bring both arms out to the sides. Your chest should face your partner’s, as if you’re doing a no-contact chest bump. Shift weight onto your back foot, bending elbows and bringing your hands in front of your chest for one rep. Complete 2 reps, then start the next move. 

Partner-facing jab

From your chest pop position, maintain your boxing stance with your nondominant foot in front and both hands in fists near your chin. Jab with your front hand (left for orthodox, right for southpaws) by extending the arm and bringing it right back to your chin, then start the next move.

Criss-cross heel taps into cross-body punches

From your jab, jump to face forward, landing with feet wider than hips and a slight bend in the knees. Perform 2 more jumps, landing first with your legs crossed and then with your legs just wider than hips. Bend the right knee to bring the right foot close to your glutes, tap the foot with the left hand, and return to start. Simultaneously pivot to the right and perform a cross-body punch with the left hand, then repeat on the left with the right hand. Repeat, this time tapping your left foot and punching first to the left, then to the right. That’s one rep. Complete 2 reps, then start the next move.

Ball slams + switch kicks 

Partner 1, get in a runner’s stance with left foot forward, right foot back, and right hand touching the ground (as if you’re at the starting line of a sprint). Come to standing by bringing the right leg forward, raising the knee, and pressing through the left foot to jump straight up. As you lower from the jump, kick the right leg forward, keeping it straight and bringing it as high as you can and landing on the left foot. Repeat on the opposite side. Meanwhile, partner 2, grab a medicine ball and stand with feet wider than hips and a slight bend in the knees. Perform 2 slams, using your body weight for momentum and power. Switch places with your partner, repeat, then start the next move.

Medicine ball sit-ups 

Lie face up with the tops of your heads nearly touching. (Partner 1 should have the medicine ball.) Partner 1, extend your arms overhead to pass the medicine ball to partner 2, who will then perform a sit-up, keeping the ball overhead and arms extended throughout. Lower back to start and pass the ball overhead to partner 1, who will perform a sit-up and lower to start for one rep. Complete 2 reps, then start the next move.

Staggered push-ups + mountain climbers

Partner 1, get in a high plank with the medicine ball under your right hand and perform a staggered push-up, lowering until your left elbow is bent at 90 degrees. Press up to start, then roll the ball under the left hand and repeat for one rep. Complete 2 reps. Meanwhile, partner 2 performs mountain climbers. Switch places with your partner and repeat.

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