If you're like most people, you probably don't like to do things on their own. This holds true in the realm of weight training, for most individuals. I'm a person who likes solitude but even I prefer to train with a partner. Why? I am better able to make progress and it's fun.
When I train on my own, I have a tendency to cut corners but with a partner, we make sure we stay on track. This means, no cheats, no frills and no crap! In my four years of training, I've been blessed with very good training partners. It wasn't that way early on when I used to train because it was a social event and a way to scout women.
I've tried training with my roommate but that didn't progress well. Mainly because our goals were different. Then came my high school friend Chad Mullins. We shared common goals and decided to train together. From then on, our training took on new meaning. Not only did I look forward to training everyday but Chad helped make training fun.
and for that I thank him dearly."
After proving myself to be instrumental in Chad's change from 225 lbs to a shredded 175 lbs, I became known as "Arnold Jr." by most others. I guess they coined that name on me because of my love for training. Whatever the case, I took it more as a compliment than anything else. Chad graduated and I was without a training partner. Then came my friend and roommate Greg Bluemling.
Greg was 6"3', 180 lbs soaking wet, but with great potential. I saw this and decided to teach him what I already knew. Over the course of one summer, I taught Greg everything I knew and he learned quickly. The hallmark of a good training partner is one who is willing to listen and compromise. With Greg's assistance, I was able to prepare for and win my first contest. Then I transferred schools and it was time to find a new partner.
Fortunately for me, Israel Tyree also transferred to the same school and we had discussed the possibilities of training together. Once again, I lucked out with having a good training partner. I think training would have been more fun in the evening because Israel is not a morning person but we meshed well together in preparing for 2000 SNBF Nationals.
Israel and I made the decision to not train together anymore after some disagreements but we're still friends to this very day and still hang out quite often. I went without a training partner for a few months with a few people who I trained with sporadically. I even tried training with a woman and let me tell you this right now, if you can't stand whining, don't train with one.
I had to design my program to focus more on strength movements than my usual "powerbuilding" reps because I had no one to assist me. I made good gains for awhile but my gains became stagnant after some time. This is when I knew I had to do something or else I could hit the much dreaded plateau. After helping David Knowles succeed in his first bodybuilding contest, we entertained the idea of training together.
We gave it a whirl and the rest is history. Now Dave and I train together on every training day. He helps me with my intensity when I'm lacking and vice versa. We feed off of each other's energy and we're not trying to out do each other in lifts but rather, we're trying to improve upon a previous workout.
We joke around in the gym a little but when it comes time to do our set and to spot, we are all business. I like to call it the Phano & Dave show because he listens and absorbs everything I have to say. It is fun training with Dave and teaching Dave at the same time. Having a training partner is very similar to other relationships.
If the two of you can get along well and understand each other's needs in the gym and can compromise, your training will be propelled to a new level. If you can't achieve this understanding, then your training will suffer. Believe me, I've been there.
Here's a list of some things that you want in a training partner.
Top Training Partner Qualities
He/she arrives on time, give or take a few minutes and never misses a workout except for injury or illness. Unexcused absences should not be tolerated.
Knows How To Spot:
Let's face it. Not many people know how to correctly spot someone. With some of the weights that I'm lifting now, I'd be a little scared to train on my own. A good spotter will give you just enough assistance so you can complete the rep and is attentive. I've seen training partners walk off for water while the other guy was doing his set.
The funniest thing I've ever seen was when a spotter took out his cell phone and started talking while his buddy was stuck underneath a weight. Don't let this happen to you!
You want a partner who sticks to the plan. It is so much easier when you two have common goals you've outlined and adhere to it. If you've never tried it, I suggest you give it a whirl. You won't be disappointed at how much fun it can actually be.
|WHAT'S YOUR GOAL?|
A good training partner will allow you to feed off of his positive energy and vice versa. He's always there to give you that little bit of motivation when the time comes. He will make training fun and challenging at the same time. Who knows? You may even become a motivator yourself.
Good Communication Skills:
There should be an understanding between the two of you. He is there to talk you through a set no matter how tough it gets. Personally, I like to count my partner's reps and when the going gets tough, I like to tell him negative things which really get him pissed and vice versa.
It only works with us because we don't take it personal. Just find what works for you two and stick with it. Whether it be singing a "row, row, row your boat" or yelling "come on, 100 reps to go," you should find what works.
Similar Strength Levels:
To me, this is an important factor because you don't want to spend a majority of your energy changing plates. That's just stupid. Find someone with strength levels which are close to yours and training will be so much easier.
with people who are very similar in strength to myself."
No matter how good a training partner is, I could not bare to train with them for long if all I did was change 45 pound plates all day. Sorry, I'd rather go solo.
These are just a few important things to look for when evaluating a training partner. There are many other qualities which I haven't outlined but I'm sure you get the picture by now. Just know that good training partners are far and few and if you come across one, keep them for as long as possible because you both will benefit from this symbiotic relationship.