7 tips to smash your Partner WODs

3 min readDec 12, 2023


Why are partner WODs so awesome?

Shared suffering. Forced cooperation. Unmatched bonding.

It’s not just about alternating reps or sweating side by side. Partner WODs forge a unique camaraderie. That feeling when you’re both gasping for air, silently pushing each other.

It’s priceless.

After tons of partner WODs and a handful of partner competitions, we’ve learned a few things about what works:

  • Align on your set strategy before the clock starts. There’s nothing harder than partner WOD math in the middle of a partner WOD.
  • Small sets can be faster. For some movements, alternating reps can reduce rest and save time. For example, if partners can alternate every Burpee rep quickly, it can keep your heart rates in check.
  • Built-in rest? Go harder. Many partner WODs that are “you-go-I-go-style” where one partner works at a time have built-in rest intervals (aka: recovery time). This means you can go harder during the work intervals!
  • Strategizing is fun, but don’t game it (unless you’re in a competition). Fitness is the goal, so avoid letting your gymnastics buddy do all the Pull-Ups.
  • Scaling is cool. You don’t need to do the Rx load just because your partner does. If you need your own barbell, do that.
  • Push each other. See if you can pick up the pace. Challenge yourself to hold on a little longer. Your partner will do the same. When you look back, this will be the fun part.
  • Cheer each other on. You’re on the same team.

In the early days of our former very small garage gym we didn’t have enough equipment (or space) for friends to join us for a solo WOD. We had to share equipment.

This is when the “governor style” partner/team WOD was born.

In this style of workout, the partner in one station (the ‘governor’) sets the pace. The others do max reps of the movement in their station until the first partner finishes their station.

No clock needed!

Here’s one fun governor style partner/team WOD we created back in 2018:

4 Rounds (in a Team of 3) for Max Reps
Station 1 (Governor): Run 200 meters, 50 Double-Unders
Station 2: Max reps of Squat Cleans (135/95 lb)
Station 3: Max reps of Handstand Push-Ups

After the partner in station 1 completes the Double-Unders, each partner rotates to the next station.

The score for each partner is the cumulative number of reps completed in the non-governor stations across all 4 rounds.

Is it a totally level playing field? No. Starting the workout in station 1 will be a little different than starting in station 2.

Don’t worry about it. Just have fun. See if you can hold the same number of reps each round.

Unlike most partner WODs, this one is actually like a 3-way competition. You can modify this in so many ways. You can even add a 4th, 5th, etc. station if you have more people.

Create your own monster. Hence the name, “FRANKENWOD.”

Next time you sign up for a partner WOD, remember, it’s an opportunity to do so much more than just test your fitness.

So, who’s your partner this weekend?

P.S. Check out the collection of 600 “Partner/Team WODs” on WODwell here.




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