Over the years, countless studies have shown that those who have training partners are much more likely to achieve their health and fitness goals. Today we’ll delve into some of the reasons why buddying-up can help you get the most out of your training.
How Having a Training Partner/s Can Benefit You
It just so happens that our first point links back very neatly to the ‘A is for…’ article – handy that isn’t it? The bottom line is that you’re far more likely to quit when you not accountable to anyone other than yourself. I mean, if you don’t feel like training today because of work commitments, that dodgy shoulder or simply the fact that the day ends in ‘Y’ then you might as well give it a miss. When someone else is relying on your attendance at that session however, it’s so much more difficult to avoid it. Making yourself accountable to others can be a very powerful tool for getting things done; nobody likes letting people down.
It’s unlikely that you and your training partner/s will have a telepathic connection that allows you to turn up to train together at the same time; you’ll need to have a schedule. When you’re both able to pin down the times that you can train it’s an admission that a) you do actually have the time to train, and b) that you’re prepared to commit that time to training. Schedules are good as they can increase adherence in the short-term before training becomes a routine and habitual behaviour. The consistency that this provides is absolutely crucial for making progress.
Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
Having a training partner is a bit like a lifejacket or a safety-net; it should give you the confidence and security to push yourself further than you otherwise would. How many people would be happy to try a new exercise variation or jump on an unfamiliar machine on their own? It’s an especially important consideration for newbies or those returning to training as such situations are inherently uncomfortable.
Training partners are there to bring out the best in each other. When somebody’s having a bad day the other is there to pick them up, dust them off and set them to work. Likewise, when the going’s all good, you’re there to push each other to the limit.
Providing that they know what they’re talking about, your training partner can be a fantastic source of feedback. It’s not always possible to notice little technical flaws yourself, little observations and pointers from a third party can make often make a big difference.
Your Training Partner
Whilst have a training partner is great in theory, it doesn’t always work out as planned. Making sure you have a good training partner is key to reaping the potential benefits. Your training partner doesn’t necessarily have to be someone you know well, in fact it’s often better to pick someone you don’t. Here’s a quick list of what characteristics to look for:
Dependable – It’s no use having someone that doesn’t turn on time and ready to train, it defeats the purpose. A good partner is a reliable partner.
Focused – Gym = training, not a mothers meeting. Picking a partner who distracts you from your session with small talk isn’t a good choice. This is the reason why it’s not always best to train with close friends.
Motivated – Attitudes are contagious, make sure they have one that’s worth catching. Motivation breeds effort, effort breeds results.
Honest – You don’t go to the gym to stroke your ego, it’s all about improvement. Don’t pick a ‘yes-man’ who greets every rep with encouragement, you need someone who’s prepared to call you on it when things aren’t going right.
Similar Goals – If the goals don’t match then it’s odds on that the programmes won’t either, you need to be doing similar exercises if it’s going to work out at all. The closer the match between goals the better, it helps keep you both on track.
Similar Level – Being at the same level isn’t a deal breaker, but the closer you are the better things tend to work out.
The X-Factor – Much like any other relationship, you shouldn’t jump in feet first. Allow yourself a trial run of a week or two to see whether or not you ‘click’ as a training partnership. Having a good relationship outside the gym doesn’t guarantee a good transfer.
Training partners can be a powerful tool for good if you can get the right one, but it’s not the be all and end all; training alone is better than having a bad one. Let us know what you think… Are you partnered up at the moment? What qualities do you look for? Drop us a comment below.