T Nation

Training partner, or solo?

Over the years I’ve worked out both solo and with a good training partner. A poor choice of someone to work out with can destroy you. A few years ago I got to know a guy in the gym we used to have in town only after we’d observed each other during many workouts. One can determine a great deal about someone by watching them work out, and after a few months and getting to know each other, we gave working out together a try and it was phenomenal. Todd is a competitive bodybuilder, and though younger than me we were pretty similar in strength and absolutely the same in intensity: high! Our meshing lives and workout times (we have very different types of jobs) lasted a couple of great years, and now it’s an occasional weekend workout together. We remain great friends, though, and talk all the time.

A superior partner in the gym helps one push through mental barriers, to gut out those "I didn't think I could do these" reps.

Today I work out with my wife, and it's a terrific experience. She's serious in the gym, so am I, and she's a careful spotter. When I do go real heavy, though, outside of what she's comfortable with, there are always some guys around in the gym I'll let step in and spot.

All in all, though, I don't HAVE to have a training partner to attain good workouts. I'm hugely motivated to be in the gym and to work out hard, but I keep my socializing to a minimum, so sometimes a partner is good for deflecting conversation, too.

I don’t like training partners, they have held me back in the past. Most of my workout partners have been inexperienced in training and for the most part lazy. Besides know I have more freedom in my program design.

I prefer a partner because it allows heavier weights safely so progress is better. I have been lifting solo for far longer than I had a partner. Now I work a rotating schedule so it’s really hard to synchronize with a partner so we can always be in the gym at the same time on the same days. I know my bench and squat would be a bit higher if I had a good partner but I’ll get there anyway.

I’d definitely vote for going with a training partner if you can find a good one. Having a prearranged time to meet with your partner helps keep you on schedule, and it’s always good to have someone to call you out if you’re not focussing 100%. I agree with John when I say that you need to be really picky in who you choose as a training partner. Find someone with similar goals and a lot of experience. My partner is one of the most intense guys I’ve ever met and has been lifting since he was a little kid (He’s 5’3, 205lbs, ripped). It’s a pretty cool experience when we go in the gym together. We’re in each other’s faces the whole time giving encouragement and pumping each other up.