When I was in my 20s, I was a gym rat. I was in grad school and back then I had so much free time (compared to now at least; of course, it then still felt like I had barely any time, so I guess it’s all perception). I’d go to the gym with one or two of my buddies. Back then we thought we were working hard and doing things right, but I now know we weren’t doing either.
Do you drive your training partner crazy? We didn’t know all I know now about Progressive overload The value of a training log How to structure a weight lifting program Compound movements rule (oh man, we did a lot of isolation movements back then!) Optimized form (rather than strict form; we certainly knew to avoid sloppy form) Lifting heavy Etc. And on top of it all, we’d do 40 minutes of work in 90 minutes of being there! Of course, our ignorance/inefficiency just fed off of each other. Because where did we go for advice? Each other! Once in a while we’d ask one of the “big guys” we didn’t know in the gym some question. I don’t remember the answers, but either we got more bad advice or we never took the good advice because our habits didn’t change. Now that I’m an “enlightened lifter”, I know better. But I also know that choosing a good training partner, as opposed to a mediocre training partner, can make a huge difference. So first let’s talk about choosing a training partner, and then we’ll talk about the crazy things you probably do that annoy your training buddy. Why You Might Need A Training Partner If you workout alone, and are getting great results, then I’m not going to tell you to get a training partner. But there are some reasons you might want to have a buddy to workout with regularly. Having a partner gives you Motivation To Show Up Spotting, plus Feedback on Your Form Motivation To Progress Education (if the partner is more knowledgeable than you) Fun If you are deciding who to choose, choose wisely. The wrong training partner could hinder your progress. These are the ideal things you want in a training partner. But nobody possesses all of these traits. Likable Hard working Slightly more knowledgeable and experienced than you So you can learn from him/her. But if they are too advanced, unless you’ve set it up where they are actually being a mentor, they will start to get annoyed at the difference in levels. Lifts about the same total weight as you on most exercises Minimizes time changing weights Open minded and constantly learning Ok, so let’s say you have a training partner. What should you avoid doing? What You Do That Drives Your Training Partner Crazy Once you have a great training partner, you want to keep him/her. So don’t fall into these traps or your best partner will find someone else. 1) Bad spotting I’m not going to define bad spotting except to say that bad spotting is whatever the lifter thinks is bad spotting! Lesson: TALK ABOUT IT FIRST! Some people like the illusion of spotting, some people like fingertip spotting, some people like you to take the whole thing once they stall. Find out what your training partner likes. 2) Showing up late It’s hard enough finding time to get to the gym. If your partner has to delay or change his workout because you are late, he’ll be ticked off. 3) Talking rather than lifting Some conversation is fine, but you are there to work, not to chat. If you want to chat, do it after the lifting is done. 4) You changing the workout plan unilaterally Showing up with a new plan for the day (or without a plan at all) will disrupt your partner’s routine too. Plan your routines a month in advance so you each know what to expect. If you start feeling a need to change, talk about it ahead of time. 5) You giving nonstop unsolicited advice Unless your partner has specifically asked for you to be a walking encyclopedia on lifting, keep the advice to only the necessary. There’s only so much a person can absorb at once. If you truly are that much more experienced than your partner, perhaps you chose the wrong training buddy. 6) Arrogance, Strutting, and Flirting Let’s say you know your stuff, and you look awesome. Let’s even say that heads turn when you walk into the weight room. Well, your training partner doesn’t want your ego getting in the way of his/her own progress. If you walk around with “show off” attire, or are always at the water fountain hitting on potential dates, your partner will soon get tired of you being a peacock. Tone it down, and focus on the workout, not on your social standing. Do you have other things you hate in workout partners? Other tips to share? Please add your thoughts below! Share and Enjoy: Looking to burn fat with weight training? Tired of typical routines? Get my metabolic routine here: Fat Burn Furnace! Related posts: Do I Really Need a Training Partner? Tips For Training Without A Spotter – The Big 7 Are You Keeping A Workout Journal / Training Log? Tags: spotting, training