T Nation

Never Agree to Train Someone


So a couple of weeks ago a friend who I am at Uni with asked me to be his training partner (he qualified this by saying he wanted me to train him, because he "doesn't know what to do"). I agree, stupidly, just because I didn't want to come off as an arsehole.

After a lot of fucking around about when he wanted to come (I only go at certain times and on certain days, and I can't really mess around when I go), finally we managed to work out a time when he could come.

I went down earlier than him and started a warm up set of front squats. He walks in and stands next to the rack; "aren't you going to do curls or something?". "maybe later" I reply.

I asked him what he wanted to do, and he seemed confused. Finally he said he would just work in with me. He asked if he should warm up on the bicycle. I said I didn't usually bother, but if he wanted to he could.

I tried to explain his wrists probably wouldn't let him do a front squat if he hadn't tried them before, but no, he wanted to try them. Well he got a few half squats done came back to where I was squatting and said he couldn't keep his arms up, so I showed him how to do a back squat.

I go back to my rack and hope I can now get this front squat set done, and I load on starting weight (only 45kgs), and I complete one set when he comes over, and looks at my weight. "Are you using that weight, it's pretty big. I'm struggling with the bar". Then he tells me he can't squat any more because he has a leg cramp and decides he should have stayed on the bicycle for longer.

At this point he goes back to the bicycle, and basically by now I realise I'll be doing the whole rest of my workout by myself. When he is finished on the bike he goes over to the pulldown machine. By some aboration of physics and flexability he does the deepest behind the neck pulldowns I have ever seen. I'm talking about the bar finishing half way down his spine. This was followed by a light set on the shoulder press machine (no weight loaded I think).

I ask him if he wants to do some seated dumbell shoulder press. He starts by working in on my set with 8kg weight. I told him he could probably go higher, but he said he didn't want to hurt himself and not come back to the gym.

After 1 set of shoulder press he starts curling. That goes on for the rest of the time I was there up until I started using the seated calf raise.

Someone else in the gym was working in on the calf raise, but after I had finished, my friend insisted on going on it. He couldn't lift the weight, and started trying to take the weight off it. I explained 2 people were already using it, so maybe he could do some leg press calf raises. He pushes his legs slightly so his legs are at a 90 degree angle and just sits there. This is aparently what he thought a calf raise was.

I didn't even get an ego boost (which could have been the consolidating feature) because being told you are lifting heavy by someone who can't squat the bar properly just doesn't feel very impressive.

I'm sure some of you out there have made the mistake of offering to train someone. Any good stories??


You accepted to train him but didnt seem to give him any advice. Its like you more or less let him tag along and watch you. You shouldve just said no unless you were willing to actually teach him. Perhaps get a clip board and help him make some notes on starting weights and progression through the first 4 weeks of training


I have a policy of allowing anyone to train with me.

Two rules, though.

  1. They do what I do, and I explain why I'm doing what I'm doing along the way.

  2. They load their weights onto the bar and mine.

I've had a few guys stick with me for a while here and there, but most are turned off by the intensity, it's not for everyone.


It kind of sounds like you really didn't offer your services to be honest. It was more like you were going to do what you were going to do regardless, and he had to do what you were doing. He was obviously not ready for the intensity or exercise selection you're used to, and you weren't ready to lower your intensity, change your exercises, or spend extra time to explain everything to him.

Since you made the point that you're pressed for time when training, try to find some time where you're both free (aka not your training time) so you can take him to the weight room and teach him. Make up a sample program that you can both agree on, and tell him exactly what you're going to do when you get there so it's less confusing and frustrating for the both of you. If you can't compromise, just direct him to some good lifting resources and let him do it on his own.

Having a Grade A Fresh newbie just tag a long while you do heavy front squats isn't conducive to either one of you getting anything productive done.



My only story about having someone tagging along is quite the opposite. I actually had to have my buddy stop going to every other machine in between sets of squats his first time out. He didnt want to miss anything. I guess he had more enthusiasm. But, I agree maybe you could show him the ropes a little more instead of just tossing him in on front squats. Just a thought.


To clear things up, I am not pressed for time, there is only certain times I can go.

I tried to help him to the best of my abilities. I explained that doing a large compound exercise would help his t-levels. I showed him how to front and back squat, I told him he needed to work on his flexibility, and that would allow him to squat more easily.

I offered to let him in on my next set, which was push press. I would have commented on his pulldown form, but it's hard to argue with people when they have ingrained views on safety (he said rack pulls would strain my back).

If he was willing to do a workout that was more than curls and pulldowns I would be more than happy to help.


It doesn't sound like he was ready to be taught or that you're cut out for teaching.


That's why you need to have a sit-down with him. Explain to him what would be the best way for him to approach weight lifting at this point, then find a program that you can both agree on.

If you know your stuff and explain it well, then he should have no objection, but if he does then that just means he isn't ready and willing to do what it takes. If the latter is the case, then just leave it alone, because it's just a waste of time for both of you.



Sup Vash?

A lot of my friends lift(I guess you could call it that)and I do my best to avoid training and talking training/nutrition with them.

The first time I lifted with one of my buddies(who at the time, had been lifting for about 3 years longer than myself)wanted to work with me and show me some pointers. the "pointers" were:

1) You can't back squat 225 without the pink womens weight belt.

2) The proper way to spot someone is to pull 200 lbs off their neck as they gasp for air and then let them attempt another rep.

3) Deadlifts don't really do anything.

4) Military presses don't really do anything.

5) 2 sets of 8 at a 15RM load is fucking brutal.

6) 80% of your workout should consist of curls and crunches.

7) Don't break a sweat.

I learned a lot that day.


Isnt that the point of them?


I tried to offer training advice for my friend, and I made him a sample program. He seemed like he wanted to work out. Never worked out after the first workout. By the way, he said that he liked the program I made him. (Just upper/lower.)

I didn't train with him (I had my own times so I could teach), and I allowed him to do the weight he wants. If I felt he wasn't using correct form, then I would tell him to lower it.

Then two days later, he came by and told me that he hasn't had time to workout. I said, "Fine, just make sure you come by tomorrow, or the rest period is going to be too long (Three days seems way to long)." Next day rolls around, and he doesn't show up. I go and tell him, "I made you a program, I allowed you to use my weight room, and I tried to help you workout, but if you don't want to, don't blame me when you don't see any results."

Moral of the story: You can make a program, you can teach them, but you can't force them to work out right. Just supply your services when people actually need them, but don't if they don't want them.


I've tried to work out with several different friends over the years, none of them make a habit out of it now. Eigienhamer, it would've be better if you went over the exercises with him before you both went to the gym and save the advanced movements for when you're by yourself. Or was your friend talking about being a permanent training partner of yours?


I think in prison, you would have just raped him afterwards.


I won't do it unless there's money involved. It's not that I'm not willing to be generous with my time, it's just that in my experience people who aren't already regulars aren't very likely to put in any sort of sustained effort unless they feel like they have to get their money's worth. It also acts as a filter up front and insurance of sorts for me that my time spent won't be a total waste even if the person doesn't stick to it.


What the fuck is that? Not what is rape, but why the fuck would you think of that?


He is in prison raping someone right now.


Best thing to do when someone asks to train with you. Specially if they are a newbie. Ask them for money. If you want you don't have to keep it. But it makes them put forth and effort and commitment not to waste your time. Cause they are paying for your advice and service. I always end up giving it back. But still it works and it weeds out the people that want to waste your time.


Probably being raped.


raping and being raped


Ha, any of you read the latest Atomic Dog about TC's encounters with Eduardo? Somehow through the friend of a friend I ended up training with an Eduardo-type character. He was this foreign thought he knew everything about weight training and would always object to anything you told him. Haven't we all encountered those generic 'foreign' guys who use their identity to be total douchebags?

He too was doing behind-the-neck pulldowns all the way to the middle of his spine with 30 pounds. The friend of mine who brought him along was marveling at his flexibility, and both of them claimed that I couldn't replicate his pulldown form and that Americans should spend more time on training flexibility.

This guy then bragged to me about doing 100 pounds on the Leg Extension machine, and he was serious. Again, he claims that I probably couldn't handle that much weight, even though I clearly outweigh this guy by at least 30 pounds.

I try to train alone.