Partner Exercises

We dive with a buddy, so why not work out with one too? Research shows that adding a social component to exercise frequently improves program adherence. Among the possible reasons for sticking with a program involving a partner may be the fun, accountability, motivation or preplanning to prioritize in an otherwise busy schedule. Adding a partner workout can also mix up your exercise routine.

Find a partner for the exercises below. You and your buddy do not have to be at the same fitness level. Each person should pay attention to how their body feels and apply the appropriate modifications or challenges. One partner could do a modified plank roll supported by forearms and knees, for example, while the other might decide to support with hands and toes.

You only need a medicine ball and a willing partner. This series strengthens your core, which is beneficial for maintaining balance on land and sea as well as traversing underwater. It also works the large muscle groups in the legs to help with frequent standing up and walking while donning scuba gear. The easier these tasks are (due to improved muscular strength), the more you can focus on safety and enjoyment.

Complete the repetitions of each exercise listed below. You can start with one round of exercises and work your way up to three rounds.

Plank Roll


Complete 15 to 20 passes each.
  1. Assume plank position head to head with your partner. Be close enough to touch fingertips with your arms extended.
  2. Keep your wrists in line with your shoulders.
  3. Roll the medicine ball toward your partner.
  4. The partner rolls the medicine ball back.
  5. Repeat using the opposite hand to roll the ball.
Tip: Keep your core tight and back straight.
Modifications: If the plank position bothers your wrists, use your forearms to support your weight. If you cannot hold the plank position on your toes for the full set, do a modified plank on your knees.
Sit-Up Pass


Complete 15 to 20 passes each.
  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and toes touching your partner's.
  2. Hold the medicine ball at chest level.
  3. Both partners perform a sit-up.
  4. Hand off the ball to your partner when upright.
  5. Lower back to the floor, while your partner brings the ball toward their chest.
  6. Repeat.
Tip: Keep your back pressed to the floor.
Challenges: Instead of bringing the medicine ball to your chest, extend your arms overhead. Move further apart and toss the ball instead of handing it off.
Standing Twists


Complete 15 to 20 repetitions. Reverse and complete 15 to 20 repetitions.
  1. Stand back-to-back with your partner with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. One partner holds a medicine ball and rotates their upper body to the left as the partner without the medicine ball rotates their upper body to the right to receive the medicine ball.
Tip: Keep your core stable.
Challenge: Use a heavier medicine ball.
Squat Medicine Ball Toss


Complete 15 to 20 tosses.
  1. Stand facing your partner with feet slightly wider than shoulder width and toes slightly pointing out.
  2. Start about 6 to 8 feet apart with one partner holding a medicine ball.
  3. Both partners simultaneously sit back into a squatting position.
  4. Take turns tossing the ball as you move together on the way up from the squat.
Tip: Make sure your weight presses through your heels in the squat.
Modification: Try starting with less of a bend in your knee.
Challenges: Increase the distance between you and your partner. Descend further into the squat.
Side Lunge Ball Toss


Complete 15 to 20 repetitions on each side.
  1. Stand facing your partner with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Start about 6 to 8 feet apart with one partner holding a medicine ball.
  3. Simultaneously step out into a side lunge mirroring your partner. Push off and return to a standing position while tossing the medicine ball to your partner.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side.
Tip: Make sure your weight presses through your heel as you descend.
Modification: Start with your feet far apart, and shift your weight into side lunge rather than stepping out.
Challenges: Increase the distance between you and your partner. Descend further into the lunge.

NOTE: To avoid an increased risk of decompression sickness, DAN® recommends that divers avoid strenuous exercise for 24 hours after making a dive. During your annual physical exam or following any changes in your health status, consult your physician to ensure you have medical clearance to dive.

© Alert Diver — Q2 2020