How A Training Partner Can Enhance Your Muscle-building ResultsTraining for bodybuilding success is contingent upon gaining as much of a musclebuilding advantage as possible, both inside and outside the gym. Whether it is the mandatory:
- Pre and post workout shakes which fuel the anabolic fires of muscle building progress
- The loud music which inspires an additional rep or two
- The latest training insights gleaned from this site, all serious bodybuilders are on a constant search for new ways to encourage extreme muscle growth
One sure fire way to fast-track your bodybuilding progress is to enlist the support of a reliable training partner
Training alone has its merits. By going solo we are forced to dig deeper than ever to truly approach our full mass-building potential.
Without the reliance of a partner we must be self motivated, mentally strong, and willing to trust our unique skills and resolve 100 percent, all of which may promote greater levels of satisfaction and a willingness to problem solve and be creative when addressing our training dilemmas.
However, I would argue that when the right partner is employed to form the perfect training alliance then
training with assistance is a superior way to hit the iron
Probably the main reason why people train together is to enjoy the added motivation such a relationship brings. By training with a dedicated partner, their success inspires us to lift our own game;
- The fact that another person has invested their time in working with us motivates us to work harder so as not to let our partner down
- We also become fired up by our partner’s vocal commentary, especially during the final few reps when a simple “you’ve got this” will often conjure superhuman strength
No, not onstage or at a power meet, though these remain worthy goals for many serious lifters. By training with an equally competitive person (and most strength athletes/recreational lifters are inherently competitive, especially when a liberal outpouring of testosterone is combined with the formidable challenge of heavy iron), we are forced to work harder and more efficiently, to win. Staging mini competitions whereby one partner will try to out-lift the other, our ability to explore our physical limits is further incentivized;
IN THE SPIRIT OF HEALTHY COMPETITION AND THROUGH OUR WILLINGNESS TO WORK TO FULL CAPACITY WE ALSO BRING OUT THE BEST IN OUR PARTNERS.
Having similar goals to those of our partner will also help to strengthen the training bond while further fostering a productively competitive environment. We must however be realistic: though trying to best our partner is to be encouraged, we must also know when to concede defeat, to yield to superior strength levels. There is no sense in pushing to the point of injury for mere bragging rights. But do keep trying to close the distance.
Knowing that you must be ready to train when your partner is eliminates many excuses for running late, or for not scheduling-in a full session. Knowing up front what your partner expects from you (for example, no holding back wherever possible and a full commitment to the training process) makes it harder to slack in any one area.Of course the reverse is also true in both cases.
YOUR PARTNER MUST KNOW YOUR TRAINING GOALS AND YOU MUST KNOW THEIRS.
Say you have a workout goal of a 2kg increase on the bench press. A good partner will hold you to this goal and remind you that quitting is not an option. In short, having a partner will help to ensure you turn up on time, commit to the training process, and achieve your training goals.
Assistance (when required)
A well matched training partner will not only be strong enough to assist with heavy lifts (spotting on those final reps) but can also help load and remove weights from bars and machines. Such assistance saves time to maximize workout efficiency while enabling us to attempt previously unmanageable training loads.
Assistance is also required during intensity methods such as heavy negatives and forced reps, important training strategies that must not be attempted without a physically strong partner.
A Critical Eye
A good training partner must not bullshit you by telling you that you look great when you resemble a vegan marathon runner on meth or a permi-bulker with a thyroid condition. Instead, they must be ultra critical and tell it how it truly is.
Whether in relation to training form, physical appearance, general gym conduct or attitude, a partner who is not afraid to covey important critical feedback is a most valuable training asset. Your friends and family will often inform you of your tremendous success
IT IS THEIR JOB TO OFFER MORAL SUPPORT AND POSITIVE ENCOURAGEMENT.
Though we all like to be spoken of in positive terms, we must also embrace the negative, without which continuous improvement would be a much harder task. A training partner can be the (largely) non-biased, impartial observer, criticizing you on your training technique, telling you to do that extra cardio to carve that additional adipose, and informing you that, no, you are not the next Ronnie Coleman in waiting.
Punctuality and a willingness to work hard are key requirements when looking for a good training partner. Talkers are easily distinguishable from those who routinely deliver. While plenty of people are momentarily inspired to do great things, very few of these folk have the fortitude and mental strength to follow through when it counts.
This is a sad fact of life: most people talk it up (on places like Facebook) but few consistently deliver. A training partner must be committed to making things happen in the gym; they must be in it for the long haul, never wavering and (barring legitimate injury or illness) always ready to give their all. Dreamers, fake people and the weak of mind need not apply.
A Positive Presence
While all of us have bad days when we find it difficult to rise to the challenges of daily life, a true champion knows how and when to dig deep and deliver when it counts. Such a trait is often referred to as being professional. A good training partner (and indeed a good trainer),
MUST ALWAYS BE POSITIVE AND READY TO INSPIRE AND LEAD.
Withholding positive energy is negligent, arrogant and foolish: it dampens one’s partner’s training experience and diminishes one’s own training productively. As a training partner it is your duty to help create the environmental conditions necessary for a great workout. Aside from screaming “one more rep” and “yeah buddy” at the top of your lungs this also means being positive at all times.
Being a positive presence also means being attentive to the needs of your training partner. Knowing when it is again time to spot, or the exact amount of weight to add to the bar must be instantaneous. Compulsively checking text messages or narcissistically trolling on Facebook mid-workout will not inspire confidence in your training partner.
A Good Spotter
Being a good spotter means providing just enough assistance to ensure your partner completes only those reps which are impossible to achieve. Grabbing the bar mid-set, when no help is needed, does not a good spotter make. A good spotter will instinctively know when to provide the minimum amount of help required
TO ASSIST THEIR PARTNER THROUGH THE MOST DIFFICULT RANGE OF A REP.
Through the proper reading of an implicitly or explicitly agreed upon series of verbal or non-verbal cues, the effective spotter will know when to un-rack the weight, lend extra muscle, shout encouragement, offer criticisms, and re-rack the weight. Besides keeping communication channels clear, concise and open, a spotter must also be trustworthy and physically strong. Their partner must implicitly know that when help is needed it will be there, thus allowing them to keep their mind on the job of moving heavy iron.
Someone Stronger Than You
By training with a partner who is physically stronger than you are, an added incentive to become as strong, if not stronger, will invariably result. Though punching above one’s weight is never to be encouraged in the weights room (doing too much, too soon, may lead to injury), there remains, mostly among guys, the urge to be on top, to be the alpha of the training pack.
Such competition (if not unchecked and balanced with a dose of realism) is healthy and often leads to phenomenal progress and optimal performances. Being the less physically strong of the training partner alliance may encourage us to improve our training game;
TO RISE TO THE CHALLENGE AND OVERCOME.
A stronger partner can also offer greater support on heavy, assisted lifts, and may indirectly enable you to become stronger as you assist them with their bar-bending weights.
A training partner can also double as a training coach. As with most important endeavors, being fully equipped with an impressive knowledge base is a key requirement for those looking to transform their physiques.
A TRAINING PARTNER WITH THE GYM EQUIVALENT OF A PHD; SOMEONE WHO IS POWERFUL, HUGE AND DRIVEN
can become a trusted bodybuilding information resource; someone whose advice, consistently applied, may hasten your ascent as you exponentially become larger and stronger.
JUST AS YOU WOULD NOT ENLIST A TRAINER WITH SCANT KNOWLEDGE
Instead you would be wiser to side with one who has been published in many reputable training publications over many years and who thus has a proven knowledge base, you would not employ a training partner with only a rudimentary understanding of basic biomechanics, performance nutrition, and bodybuilding training protocols.
Time To Partner Up
Though there are many ways to overcome a dreaded training plateau (many of which are featured on this site), probably the best strategy to employ under such conditions is to team up to train.
BY ENLISTING A TRAINING PARTNER WE MAY DOUBLE OUR MOTIVATION TO MOVE MORE IRON WHILE BECOMING MORE ACCOUNTABLE WHEN WORKING TO ACHIEVE OUR TRAINING GOALS.
A good partner will lend physical and emotional support when needed, offer critical feedback, provide sound workout advice and enhance the pleasure to be derived from the training process. So, follow the advice outlined above and start auditioning for a reliable workout buddy to help boost your bodybuilding progress.