Most people who are new to the gym start out alone. I know I did. Soon after working out for a couple of months and gaining more knowledge about training principles, I realized that I felt lonely in my pursuit to sculpt my body. I had discussed weightlifting many times with a coworker of mine, who also happens to be one of my best friends, but never worked out with him.
My friend was once a wrestler at his high school. As some of you may know, high school wrestling has a brutal training process. He told me that he was told to wear trash bags and run in order to get all the sweat out before weighing in. He also told me that during their training, all of the team members had to find their one rep max in various exercises to measure their progress. After all that hard work, my friend had a really cut physique due to the rigorous training.
I remember hearing these stories he was telling me and I thought, “Wow, that must have taken a lot of hard work to stay in something like that.” Then I found myself thinking, “Why am I not working out with him?”
Getting back into it
My friend had not worked out seriously in over two years. After receiving some motivation from watching the movie Pumping Iron, I had asked him to work out with me one day and he agreed. At the time, I was still new to weightlifting and did not have much experience with free weights, as I went to an apartment complex gym that only had machines.
But now I was at a popular gym with free weights and a plethora of equipment. I mainly asked my friend to work out with me in order to help me with my form on free weights, especially bench. I had used the smith machine in order to avoid any accidents, but never trained with the regular bench.
Our first training session was very informative. He taught me the form on bench press. Then we did flyes. He was on-point with telling me what I was doing wrong and how to fix it. Soon after we exercised, we realized that training together was very motivational. My friend actually thanked me for asking to work out, because now he was determined to look as ripped as he did when he was in wrestling.
Long story short, we still exercise every week together. Sometimes it’s once a week and sometimes its two or three. Even though our schedules are somewhat demanding, (both of us are in college, I have two jobs, he has a 40-hour work week) we still find time to work out together.
So what can you get from this?
1. Training with someone else pushes you harder
During our training sessions, my friend and I always went all out, pushing each other to our max number of reps until failure. This was critical for me, as it shocked my body into creating and strengthening my muscle fibers. When training, it is always important to go all out. Going all out drains you and creates the best environment for your body to grow and develop.
2. You have a spotter
By having a training partner for my workouts, I was able to do free weight bench press without worrying of the weights falling on me. With this constraint lifted, I was able to go heavier on sets and do more reps. If I were to do some reps with the same weight without a spotter, I would have to do less reps because it requires more energy to rack the weight alone.
3. Your form will improve over time
My friend was experienced in lifting weights. He knew the proper form for many lifts. Having a training partner that is already somewhat experienced in lifting will tell you if you are doing something wrong. This is especially helpful because correct form will prevent you from injury.
4. It’s great bonding time
My friend and I already had a great friendship. By working out more, we bonded more together as friends. I felt that each time we exercised it help us build a more successful friendship.
5. You will stay dedicated
This is probably one of the most important reasons why you should have a training partner. By working out together, my friend and I helped each other stay motivated towards our goal. Motivation is key to staying focused and concentrating on accomplishing your goals.
Having a training partner is truly indispensable. Many opportunities open up once you can train with someone that you know and who is dedicated just like you. Find someone who is focused, determined, and energetic.
Your training partner doesn’t always have to be your friend. I know a couple of people train with their brother or father. The point is that you should always find someone to help you train, because you will always need the extra 1% that is produced from training together. Every rep counts.