“Champions come in pairs of two because they battle themselves in perfection” – Greg Plitt
There’s nothing wrong with training alone, however if you’re looking to get the best bang for your buck out of each and every workout a training partner a training partner is essential. Don’t just rush out and choose anyone to be your training partner though, as if your training partner does not fit in with the details I’m about to elaborate on below chances are you may be going backwards with your workouts, instead of progressing forward.
A training partner is far more than just someone who spots you while you’re failing on your left few reps of that heavy bench press set, they’re someone who is invested in you, someone who truly wants you to succeed. This made sound corny and all but good training partners share a special kind of bond. They’re positive and they want each other to succeed and they’re prepared to help them unlike many of the negative nancies’ out there in the world today that find great joy in the failures and shortcomings of others.
The following are my top 8 tips for being and selecting the best training partner possible.
Ensure your Goals are Similar:
You and your workout partner will ideally be following the same workout routine, so ensure you goals are similar. There’s no point in training with someone that’s looking to compete in a powerlifting competition if your goal is to run a marathon as you both have completely different end state goals. Find someone that wants what you do, whether that be a certain weight, a certain look, a certain endurance level. You must be on similar paths in order to push each other during the journey.
Show Up on Time Every Time:
It doesn’t matter if you show up late to the gym when you’re training by yourself, but when you have a training partner ensure both you and your partner are on time, as you’re relying on each other don’t let each other down. Refer to the saying “If you are early you are on time and if you are on time you are late”. Show up on time and be ready to train at the time you agreed on, no excuses, no messing around.
Does your training partner want you to help them unrack the weight when they’re doing heavy incline bench press? Do they prefer being spotted on the bar or by the elbows? Learn exactly how your training partner wants to be spotted. This not only improves you and your training partners comfort during the set, but it’s also necessary for safety – if your partner is expecting a spot and you’re not doing what is expected of you there can be trouble (or injuries!).
Assess Their Form:
When your training partner is performing their sets don’t wonder off to talk to someone else in the gym, watch their form. Are they using the correct tempo? Acceptable range of motion? Is the weight too heavy? Can you learn anything from their form?
If your training partner’s form isn’t as good as it could be refer to the following tip…
Be Open to Constructive Criticism:
This works both ways. Both you and your partner need to be open to constructive criticism. Are they lifting weight that is too heavy? Could form use some improvement? Is rest between sets too long? Not pushing hard enough on sets? If you’re doing something wrong your partner should pick you up on it and vice versa, not in a negative – you will become a better athlete by accepting, accessing and applying advice if necessary.
Find out what motivates your partner, do they want to be yelled out to push out those last few reps? Do you need to call each other daily to check up on how each other’s diets are going? Based off your partners goals find out what best motivates them to achieve the success they are after. If you don’t know how are you going to motivate them?
The gym isn’t an office, so switch off the phone, tablet, PDA and/or whatever other electronic devices you carry around that are easy distractions. In order to focus on the task at hand and get the most out of your workouts both yourself and your training partner need to disconnect for the period of your workout. This should be discussed and agreed on as there’s nothing worse than having your training partner walk off to take a phone call while you’re struggling on the last few reps – waiting for them to spot you.
I’ve been there, it’s frustrating.
No Small Talk:
Socialize before or after your workout, not during. The 45 minutes – 1 hour you spend in the gym is for intense training, stop gossiping about that girl, or that movie you watched, or that party you’re both going to on the weekend. From the moment you both step in the gym it’s game time – the workout you’re about to crush is the only thing that should be spoken about.
Arnold Schwarzenegger discussed in multiple fitness magazines just how important a training partner was to him, stating “The biggest help I ever had was a training partner.”
Do you have a training partner? What do you look for in a good training partner? Let me know in the comments below!