Training with a partner will help spur you on to the next level, writes personal fitness trainer Scott Laidler. (Source: Telegraph, Personal Fitness)
Perhaps the best aspect of training with someone is that your partner provides instant accountability. We’ve all been in a situation where we know we need to work out, but one of a number of excuses has got the better of us and we’ve skipped the gym. Making plans with a training partner makes it much harder to cancel a workout as you know you’ll be messing up their plans too. Imagine all the extra progress you would have made just over the course of the past 12 months if you’d never missed a workout!
- Outside perspective
It’s not uncommon for men to be overly critical on themselves when looking at workout progression (or when looking at their physiques in the mirror). You may just be your own worst critic. A good training partner will always be able to look at your concerns through fresh eyes and give a healthy second opinion.
- Healthy competition
We humans (especially men, it seems) tend to work harder and perform better in competitive situations. Training with a partner can unlock your competitive drive no matter how chilled out you usually are. There’s nothing like a training partner looking great or making serious progress in the gym to fire up your desire to do better.
One word of caution though: if your partner is considerably stronger or fitter than you, don’t be sucked in to trying to perform the same workouts. Your partner won’t progress, and you’ll likely get injured. Instead, try to compete on degrees of improvement relative to your own current ability.
- You’ll be able to spot each other
Those incorporating weightlifting into their training regime will benefit greatly from having a training partner who can act as a spotter on those big lifts. Depending on the type of training program you are using, reaching or approaching concentric failure on a set may be necessary to make progress. Having someone there to help control the weight means that you can push further than you could alone and have a safer workout.
It’s common to hear people ask for a spot on the bench press, but it shouldn’t stop there: you can get more out of almost all free weight exercises with the help of a spotter.
- Celebrate successes together
One of the greatest parts of having a good training partner is the ability to share each other’s successes. Setting training goals and edging closer and closer to their attainment alongside someone else is very motivating. It’s also a great idea to plan rewards together. A previous training partner and I used to book a weekend trip away to let our hair down each time we finished a 6-8 week training phase. It helps to balance all the hard work with a worthy reward.
How to find a training partner
Finding the right training partner isn’t easy. If you don’t already have a training partner or have someone in mind to ask, here are some ways you could go about finding one
Public goals / social media. Why not set a public goal on one of your social media profiles, post some of your workouts and just add the odd “anyone fancy joining me?” tag to some of your posts. You never know, one or more of your acquaintances might be in exactly the same position as you. Make it easy for people to select themselves.
Meet-up groups. You could use meetup.com or other online meeting websites to directly seek out like-minded individuals in your area that are also actively seeking out a training partner. This one works really well as you already have a motivated audience.
The gym. You may need not look further than your own gym. Get to know the other members and keep a lookout for other users doing similar training to yourself. Be on hand and ready lend a spot and just be an all-round positive character on the gym floor. You may be surprised how quickly people begin to present themselves as potential training partners.
Scott Laidler is a personal trainer and personal development coach based in London. Contact Scott at www.scottlaidler.com for personal training and online fitness coaching.