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Working Out as a Team: She Ain't Heavy, She's My Other

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Get fit with your significant other: These two-person exercises use your partner's body weight for resistance or leverage. Video by Amanda McGrath/washingtonpost.com
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By Howard Schneider
Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The marketing folks at washingtonpost.com have declared this to be Wedding Week and put together all sorts of features and great advertising to help people get prepared for their summer nuptials.

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Big deal.

The economy is foundering, the job market is lousy, and though home prices are low -- which is great for first-time buyers -- who is to say when they'll move any direction but further down?

Yet there is some good news: Smart economists have conjectured that having too many choices, far from being a good thing, actually makes us miserable. Any of you who are engaged or recently married have successfully navigated one of the choices that people fret about the most. You have chosen a life mate, a partner, a companion . . . and a new piece of exercise equipment.

That's right. At risk of censure and reprimand and with due respect for family-newspaper values, we are going to teach you how to work out using another person's body.

No, not that. This isn't about calories burned during sex, though if you are curious the ever-handy Compendium of Physical Activities has run the numbers.

This is a bit more earnest. In hopes of helping you get off to a stronger marriage, I've compiled a list of exercises you can do together.

Literally. They require two people, for weight, bracing, leverage or other reasons.

The American Council on Exercise (http://www.acefitness.org) has a video demonstrating several partner exercises that can be done with a medicine ball, as well as a couple of yoga balancing moves in which you and a partner help support each other. Go look for it on the group's Web site.

A number of more aggressive exercises come courtesy of Michael Veltri, head of the Okinawa Aikikai aikido studio in Woodley Park. Veltri incorporates these as part of a general conditioning program, and has his students pair up to do them.

These exercises aren't easy. Some are downright annoying. You might find that, while designed for two, they don't work both ways: Depending on the relative size and strength of you and your partner, piggyback squats, for example, may be possible for one of you but not the other.

But at least some should be within reach, and they will be fun to try nonetheless. If you are able to work down the whole list, I promise you'll break a sweat. What's more, they don't require you to buy and store lots of ugly weights. After all, who needs a dumbbell when you're about to marry one?


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