by Krista Popowych
Krista Popowych’s new book, Partner Workouts: Training Together for Better Results, is not one I would normally pick up. It is targeted at personal trainers, group fitness instructors and gym-goers, rather than Pilates instructors. However, once I started reading it, I found great value in the content.
Krista lists the benefits of working out with a partner: more fun, enjoyment and motivation, and I wonder if this book has been prompted by the social isolation many experienced during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
The book is a manual – it explains what goes into an exercise session, different ways you can train with a partner, and how to modify according to goals, ability etc.
Part II is a library of many graded exercises, each elaborated with photographs, instructions and tips, but I think Krista’s purpose is to get the reader thinking creatively rather than to give a complete list of partner workouts. I was pleased to see a “partnered-up” version of the Pilates Single Leg Stretch (lie opposite your partner and reach your right foot to their left foot) and I could easily transpose these ideas into a Pilates environment.
There is a section on using props. For the last three years, we have been spraying and wiping props and equipment and distancing clients to prevent possible virus transmission. The thought of passing props between people feels “illicit”, but for clients who are friends, or are related to each other, this is not a problem.
With a degree in human kinetics, Krista is well qualified to write this book; she is a renowned presenter and group fitness instructor, a Balanced Body integrated movement specialist and has multiple training certifications across many disciplines/specialties. She has hosted health and fitness shows, contributed to various magazines, and been a consultant to many fitness companies.
Partner Workouts is practical and easy to use – something that you can flick through to gain a few ideas or spend more time in without it becoming dry.
I like the concept of spicing up a Pilates session by including some interactive work like throwing and catching, or clapping a partner’s hand. This works on coordination and balance, involves social engagement and is motivating. It’s not for every client but I’m looking forward to having a play with some of these ideas.
Krista’s desire is to get more people moving by making exercise fun, interesting and social and her book accomplishes this by comprehensibly explaining why, and how, to use her techniques. The photographs and instructions are clear and her passion is infectious. It takes some interpretation to translate the concepts to a Pilates environment but I have added some ideas to my toolbox.
I would recommend this book to instructors who are feeling a little stale and would like some fresh inspiration, or who are working with kids, people who are easily distracted or long-term clients that you want to challenge.
Karen Goh, PAA Secretary