Even people who “enjoy” exercise know it’s not nearly as fun as hanging out with friends. It’s why Swedish personal trainers Linn Löwes, 29, and Madelen Ros, 25, who met through a mutual friend five years ago, began working out together in the first place. (They immediately bonded over their passion for fitness.)
In a recent Instagram post published on the trainers’ shared fitness account, @DoubleDedication where their grueling workout videos have been receiving tens of thousands of views since Linn launched in in 2015, Linn and Madelen took the partner thing one step further: They coined the term “friendweight training,” lifting a partner in the absence of equipment.
Like resistance training, which boosts your bone and muscle strength, metabolism, self-efficacy, and self-esteem, “friendweight training is a great alternative when you don’t have weights available,” says certified strength and conditioning specialist Aubrey Watts, a National Strength and Conditioning Association strength coach. “It imposes a new demand on the body, which provides different results than your normal routine.”
Although you can’t exactly up-size your friend the way you’d grab a heavier dumbbell as you get progressively stronger, friendweight training still benefits both partners in different ways:
The person lifting with added resistance has to work harder than he or she would doing basic bodyweight movements, and the person being lifted has to stabilize his or her body to be lifted safely, which fires up the core.
Because the inability to stabilize could result in injury, Watts suggests partnering with someone at a similar(-ly-high!) fitness level. After all, a newbie’s improper form can make a move less effective and more dangerous — one reason why you should always master the basics under a trainer’s supervision before trying an out-of-the-box move with a partner or by yourself.
Luckily, neither Linn nor Madelene has sustained serious injuries from friendweight training — just a bruise here and there when their exercises, which can take many tries to master for Instagram, don’t go exactly as planned.
“Some [moves] turn out awesome, and some end up catastrophic, but always with a lot of laughter,” Linn says.
Still, Linn and Madelene take fitness pretty seriously — and know the body adjusts to the weight you’re used to lifting, making simple friendweight training feel easier the more you do it. It’s why the women also incorporate resistance bags, sandbags, medicine balls, and machines like the stair master (or actual stairs) into their workouts.
After all, no one’s saying friendweight training is for everyone. “Do what makes you feel best,” Madelene says. (And if that means lifting a glass of wine to your lips instead of lifting an actual human? Bottom’s up!)
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