The other day, I got an email from a reader wanting to know whether or not it is better to weight train with a workout partner.
It reminded me of the days when I was first starting to weight train. Back then, I wouldn't even think of working out if my partner wasn't with me.
Sometimes, we trained in packs of 3 or 4 especially on squat days. I don't know what it was, but I felt a lot more comfortable training with someone who was just as motivated as I was, rather than training alone.
You see, when we trained in packs of 3 or 4, we were all competing with each other. We also hung around together so you know we would follow our diets to a tee because we all wanted to be a little bigger and stronger than everyone else. So, when it came time to workout, we were all stoked and pumped up, ready to challenge not only the weight but each other. I think this is the number one benefit to working out with someone else who has the same goals as you.
Today, it's a little different. I would rather weight train alone than workout with a partner. You see, over the years, I've grown accustomed to what my body prefers in terms or exercises, rest periods and weight loads. I know what my body can and cannot do. I simply can't wait for anyone or do certain exercises that my body doesn't like.
However, I think the most important element to working out alone is that the only person I need to challenge is myself. Today, when I workout, it's not to get better at sports, or to look good in a pair of shorts or tank top, or to look good for the girls at the mall. It's all about that feeling I get when I complete a hard set of squats or barbell rows. It's about the concentration that's needed in order to start a set of heavy incline presses. I guess it's all about how I get into myself in order to workout that makes it worth going to the gym to train. It's that alone time I get in the gym that I really get to concentrate. This is why I prefer working out alone.
With that being said, it can be very beneficial to working out with a partner. Let's take a look at some of the benefits.
If you find someone with the same goals as you, it is very beneficial to improving your current status. You'd be surprised at what you can do when someone else is watching your every rep. Motivation is the key here and with the right workout partner, your levels of motivation will be very high.
An ambitious workout partner will keep you very honest. I remember working out with a very hard working and dedicated body builder. Regardless of how I felt, I was working out and working out hard. The right workout partner will not only make sure that you show up on time but that your also ready to workout.
With the right partner, you'll keep out of trouble. I remember in my late teens, everyone else seemed to be partying every weekend. The only guys I knew that were not at the parties boozing it up were my workout partners. We were happy just sitting around watching a movie guzzling a gallon of milk rather than drinking a case of beer. The reason? We knew we were growing and getting bigger.
Safety. There was nobody else in the gym I trusted more than my workout partners. I knew, without a doubt that they wouldn't let me fall, stagger, drop, or trip with a weight in my hands or on my back. This way, I knew when I backed up from the squat rack with a heavy load on my back that I could be sure that they would spot me no matter what.
Comradery. Some of the best times of my life happened with my workout buddies and the gym. Mind you, we were all business when it came time to workout but when it was over, we had a lot of good laughs. These guys were like my second family.
Now, you don't have to be body builders or anything like that to enjoy the benefits of weight training. Some of you may like to chat and talk about other stuff to someone else when your weight training. That's fine. This can make the workout session seem more enjoyable. Again, find someone who has the same goals as you.
Comfort levels. Let's face it, going to the gym alone can be very intimidating. When you join a new gym, there are people who come from all different kinds of backgrounds. You got body builders, power lifters, fitness enthusiasts, weekend warriors and everyone else in between. With all this activity, it can be overwhelming. A workout partner can ease the uncomfortable feeling you get when you start to weight train.
There are certain exercises you can do with your workout partners that you can't do alone. For one, your workout buddies can strip away weight a lot faster than you can when your doing drop sets. Arm to arm curls are so much better with a workout buddy.
After awhile, you'll start to understand the workings of your own body and you'll start to know what works for you. For some, a workout partner is the only way to go. For others, you'll find it better to workout alone. Either way, as long as your comfortable, you'll be just fine. Just remember that once you stop improving, you need to take a look at your current situation. Is your partner holding you back? Are you lacking in motivation? Are you doing certain exercises you don't enjoy? Are you tired of working out alone?
Just remember, you'll have to experiment to find the right workout partner. That may be your best buddy or your wife or husband. However, remember to keep in mind that you and your body come first and your workout partners come second. Be up front about it with your partner. This way, no lines get crossed if the time comes to stop working out with a partner. Nothing personal.
All the best,
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