7 Exercises To Get Jacked With Your Dog

Your best friend can also become your best workout buddy if you're stuck exercising at home.

Brett Williams |

If you’re stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic and you have a dog, you might have noticed that your pup is happy, but massively confused.

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.

I wish I could give her more attention almost as much as I wish I had access to a gym to get my blood pumping during this isolation period. We’ve been keeping track of the best workouts you can do at home while many people are practicing social distancing, but almost all of those exercises are solitary. I miss the camaraderie of my martial arts gym and my running group every time I take on another set of solo pushups and planks.

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 24kgs of furry, wiggling resistance to shake up my routine. Check out these 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.

Related: Why Dogs Are Your Heart’s Best Friend

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.

Related: Hammer Your Way To Sleeve-Splitting Arms With This Intense Dumbbell Workout

Dog Toy Standard Curl – 3 sets of 8 reps



Like the bent-over row, this 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.


Doggy rope toy 4 - black & white

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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.

Dog Zercher to Front Squats – 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps each

We’d normally never recommend transitioning between the Zercher squat, where you hold a barbell in the crook of your arms to challenge your core, to a front squat position—but when your load is a squirmy pup, you’ll be better suited to raise them up to your shoulders. Just push through as many reps as possible—with perfect depth and posture—before they wriggle away.

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.

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.


Raw Love Peanut Butter Treats

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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.

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This article originally appeared on menshealth.com

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