Why A Training Partner Can Maximize Your Gains.

If you have no social skills then get some, because having a training partner will maximise your workout like you wouldn't believe.
When I first started hitting the weights room, it was for schoolboy rowing and the whole rowing squad would workout together. This helped us build our unity, but also sparked our macho desire to be stronger than the next man. Because we were all training for the same purpose, to win, you could cut the motivation in the room with a knife. I got my greatest gains from the rowing weights room. The internal competitiveness pushing me to belittle my mates.

During the off-season, I began to lift at my local gym by myself. A got a competitive edge from this training and I believe this is the only reason I made it to my age-group's top crew the following season. However, my strength had seemed to plateau not long into my weights training and I stopped making any significant gains. Looking back, I can see that I lacked the drive to push myself to grab the heavier dumbbell, or lacked the confidence that a spotter gives you. I found myself falling into the traps of the vampirish machine weights, and I missed a lot of potential growth.

Now that my rowing career is dead and buried (for now), I am concentrating on lifting some serious weight and begin the arduous journey towards a Herculean body. In addition to a training journal, proper nutrition, fitness and supplementation, I have employed the services of expert training partner, Big Cal Mahoney (I advise you check out some of his articles, as he is also an author at Bodybuilding.com). Cal, being the machine that he is, pushes me to out do myself. Training with Cal is great for a few reasons, and a lot of these can be applied to finding a training partner that will maximise your workouts.

  • He is much bigger than I am This is great because he spurs me on not to be left behind. I am forever trying to match his weight.
  • He is doing a Human Movements course This means he knows what he is doing when it comes to technique. Also, he knows not to egg me on to lift a weight that will rip my arms off.
  • He is an old friend We trust each other, which is a good thing when you have 120kg resting on your sternum.
  • His strengths are my weaknesses Cal has behemoth legs and I am walking around on matchsticks, but conversely my back leaves him crying in the sand. This forces us to work the areas that really need it.
I realise that not everyone has a friend that would be as motivated to spend the hard hours in the gym that you would prefer. With all the benefits of a training partner, it's much better, I feel, to be there by yourself if your training partner is a slacker. Don't be held back by someone who doesn't want to be there. Befriend someone in the gym if you must. If you have no social skills then get some, because having a training partner will maximise your workout like you wouldn't believe.

Before you dedicate yourself to one person consider some of these questions:

  • Can I trust this person to turn up to training?
  • Will this person help me push myself?
  • Does this person know what he is doing?
  • Do I really want this person around while I work out?
  • Will this person distract me from my work?
That said, if you are really strapped for a training partner, someone punctual who can lift a weight will suffice, as long as they have an interest in the sport. If it doesn't work out, well bad luck. Try again because, honestly, a training partner will take you above and beyond what you thought was possible in a workout.

Now get back to work.