Walk into any local gym, and you will most likely see the same scene playing out: 90% of the people are struggling to make even modest gains in strength, power, size, etc. Something else you may notice about these people is that most of them are training by themselves.
Coincidence? Not bloody likely.
Most great lifters are ones who train with a partner or group and know their way around the gym like the back of their hand. This is because training with a group or a partner can benefit your efforts in several ways. The first is accountability.
Accountability is, in my opinion, the main benefit of having a training partner, especially if you are someone who struggles to get to the gym consistently. Knowing that someone is counting on you to give 100% every time will keep you from half-assing a set or taking some weight off because you don’t feel like it today. Crossfit boxes are great for accountability. There is a coach running every class whose sole purpose is to watch you and your form. Trying to rep out half squats? Nice try, don’t count those reps.
If you don’t go to a Crossfit gym, make sure you have a partner that will hold you accountable, and you better do your part and hold them accountable.
Objective advice is another great reason for a training partner. Everyone has trouble looking at themselves objectively. Some of us can’t see our true faults, while others are too critical. Having an objective partner that can go through every set with you and watch for errors is a huge benefit. In the absence of a training partner, video taping yourself can help, but it is still nicer to get that objectivity from another person.
Motivation is another great reason for a training partner. After A long day at work, or after a short nights sleep, finding the motivation to get under the bar can be difficult. Having someone there to motivate you can have a huge difference in your power output during a workout. A little Viking metal doesn’t hurt either.
Donnie Thompson, elite powerlifter and 1200 pound squatter, had this to say about training partners: “ [Training partners] are the key ingredient. If you train by yourself good, you get your workout in, but you didn’t go anywhere. In order for you to have success in lifting, it’s just like a football team: you have to surround yourself with like-minded people. You’ve gotta find powerlifters that want to compete at the state, national, world level[….] the collective of the group builds the individual… launches the individual! Competition is a great benefit for having a training partner as well. Competition between you and your partner can turn a less-than-desirable workout into the best workout of the week. Sometimes you can head into a workout feeling crappy, thinking that you will just do the same weight you did last week. That is, until you see your partner put an extra 10 pounds on their lift. Time to step it up!
These are my main reasons for having a lifting partner and how it will help you. So why don’t you have one yet? Looking through a lot of forums, a common excuse I see is that “I don’t know anyone with my goals”. Really, you can’t think of anyone that wants to get stronger?
Ideally, your partner will be stronger than you in most areas, this will motivate you to work harder and rise to their level. However, some feel that stronger individuals won’t want to train with a weakling. All you can do is ask them, if they say no, find someone at your own level, it may not be optimal, but it 1000 times better than training alone.
Combine the power of a training partner with a solid program and dialed in nutrition, and you will be unstoppable.