Personally, I think Valentine’s day is a silly holiday, but it did get me thinking about the topic of partners. A good gym partner is worth their weight in gold – or heart shaped chocolates – and will benefit your training progress immeasurably.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of a good gym partner, and how to find one for yourself.
Nothing will make you motivated to turn up to train when you don’t feel like it than someone waiting for you there. We all have those days where we’re tired, our body aches, we feel lazy and would rather skip the gym all together. Those are the days that really count!
It’s easy to workout when we feel good. The times you have to push your comfort zone and do it when you don’t feel like it, are the ones that really count, over the long term. Having a buddy counting on you is going to make you all the more likely to find the motivation and get down to business.
A bit of friendly challenge and competition will push you to work harder. The best gym partner is one who is just slightly above you. A little bit stronger/bigger/leaner/fitter than you are. They are the rabbit that you are chasing. You will be motivated by them doing a little bit more than you; to push yourself that little harder and keep up with them.
When you train together regularly, you will tend to push each other on. You know the strengths and weaknesses of your partner and you are always challenging each other to do that little bit more.
It works too if you’re slightly ahead of your partner and they’re chasing you down. You’ll be motivated to keep pushing and not let them catch up with you.
You will never push yourself as hard as someone else can push you.
Mentally, having someone encouraging you, pushing you, will make you work to eek out that extra last rep or two.
Physically, having someone to spot you and assist on the last rep or two, when you can’t quite lift it yourself, but you can do itwith a little assistance, will push your body harder than you could do alone. This is what progress is – doing a bit more than you were previously able to do.
A partner is going to facilitate you doing that, both mentally and physically.
Having someone watching over you and coach you is going to improve your performance. Correcting technique, enforcing timed rest periods, helping isolate the right muscles. The partner can act as your coach, while you act as there’s.
You’re both going to workout more effectively, and safely. Having someone watch over your technique and offer feedback that you simply cannot get by yourself – it’s priceless.
Ever have trouble feeling your back muscles working? There’s not that much you can do alone. With a partner, they can press on the muscle you’re working and you will immediately be able to feel it contract against their hand. You’ll have an additional feedback mechanism that will help improve your mind-muscle connection and exercise technique.
Sometimes, especially when we’re tired, our technique starts to break down. Through the pain and exhaustion you forget to do the basic things properly; like creating stability and tension in the right places.
Having someone watching over you, giving cues, is going to act as a gentle reminder in the moment, to do the things that you know you’re supposed to do – but go out the window when you’re fighting underneath a heavy bar.
Someone else – assuming they have at least a decent knowledge of training – is going to be able to give insight and feedback that you might not work out for yourself.
Someone else is always going to be better at spotting your weaknesses and taking a big picture view than you are. You’re caught up in assumptions and ego, which may or may not be the reality. Someone else is more likely to see the real picture, and be able to advise you accordingly.
Even if you are being totally honest with yourself, you simply cannot see what is happening with clarity, when you are doing it. Something might feel right, but be plainly obvious to an outside observer that things could be improved.
Ever see people doing stupid things in the gym, or training with terrible technique? I pretty much guarantee that they’re not doing it on purpose. They didn’t make a decision to workout like a moron today and do everything wrong. They just don’t realize. It undoubtedly feels like they’re doing the right thing.
A gentle word from someone else might enlighten them to the fact that they’re not doing everything quite as well as they might assume. Of course, going and saying it to a random person in the gym is probably not going to go down too well. There’s a good chance they’ll think you’re rude and should mind your own business. Having someone that you know and trust to point these things out is always going to be beneficial for you.
Many of the benefits of having a Personal Trainer can be achieved just by having a really good workout partner. Obviously the more knowledgeable and experienced they are, the better they will be. The best part is, it’s absolutely free!
Try to find yourself a great workout partner either by striking up conversation in the gym, or looking online for local forums and groups of people who train for the same thing you are training for. Most people are happy to have other people in a similar boat to train with. If you look, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a good partner to workout with.