If you’ve swapped to the WFH lifestyle, you may have noticed your dog is happy, but massively confused—and it may be because you and your pup have been deprived of fun exercises.
My rescue pit terrier Lielo, who I’ve had for about three months now, is overjoyed that I’m suddenly spending so much time in the apartment—I’m usually at Men’s Health HQ five days a week—but very frustrated that I’m clacking away on my computer instead of playing with her and ramping up treat dispersion. She’s spent a good chunk of each workday whining at me from her dog bed, sighing and giving me the saddest puppy eyes I’ve ever seen.
We’ve been keeping track of the best workouts you can do at home, but almost all of those exercises are solitary. Thankfully, there’s a solution to both of my problems: I can work out with my dog. For her, it’s just like playtime, while I get 24kg of furry, wiggling resistance to shake up my routine. Check out these fun exercises for a training session with your own best friend—some moves might be more successful than others, but I guarantee you’ll have a good time.
1. Dog Toy Bent-Over Rows
3 sets of 8 to 12 reps
This move can be tricky. If your pup is more focused on ripping the toy away from you instead of playing tug-of-war, you’ll have a tough time. If that’s the case try using more traditional resistance, like dumbbells or even a broomstick.
2. Dog Toy Standard Curl
3 sets of 8 reps
Like the bent-over row, this fun exercise will likely be limited by your partner and their interest in hanging onto the toy—so you might be better off checking out the standard doggo curl lower down the list. But if you do want to keep the toy in the equation, use a rope and shift to the hammer curl position for maximum effectiveness.
3. Dog Standard Curl
3 sets of 10 reps
Just think of this version of the classic biceps exercise as if you were using a furry, smelly barbell. To get more out of the move, shift your attentional focus to your biceps to establish a strong mind-muscle connection.
4. Dog Zercher to Front Squats
4 sets of 10 to 12 reps each
5. Dog Forward and Rear Lunges
3 sets of 10 reps per leg
Whether you lunge forward or backward (or both), you’ll appreciate the unilateral challenge. I prefer to hold my dog in a low position, like the Zercher squat. Just maintain good form, keeping your chest up and preventing your knees from slamming on the ground.
6. Dog Bulgarian Split Squat
3 sets of 8 reps per side
Ramp up the difficulty of the lunge and get your glutes even more involved with this elevated unilateral exercise. Struggling to get your foot in the right position? Try following these steps to nail the setup. If the problem is your pup, you’ll have to see what bribing them with a treat might do to help.
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7. Dog-Resisted Pushups
3 sets of 12 to 15 reps
Hopefully, you can just get your pup to sit on your back to serve as a little extra resistance. In my case, Lielo wasn’t having it. Get ready for lick attacks. To get your core involved, try a plank.