Stalling out achieving your training goals? Work out with a partner.
How many times does this happen to you? I stare at the squat rack while picking up my phone, I tweet something meaningless about John Coltrane, then check my email, back to twitter. I stroll to the water fountain for a drink, then waltz back through the gym and say hello to my peeps on a scenic tour to the rack. Six minutes have now passed between sets. I finally settle under the bar and step out, the weight steadily attempting to crush me like an accordion. I internally agonize about the weight, how heavy it is and how much pain I’m going to be in when I drop my hips. I do four of my five scheduled reps. I excuse myself with an “I’m just having an off day.”
Inevitably, these workouts happen. Nobody is on point all the time. However, if you have a partner to train with, those sessions will happen substantially less regularly.
It’s difficult to spend time typing nonsense onto your phone with an impatient partner in front of you rolling their eyes. I can only be valuable by encouraging them, by discussing their set, their goals, etc. I want them to feel strong. I get under that bar sooner and with more explosiveness with their support and with the fear of workout embarrassment driving me. A spotter makes me feel safer dropping deeper, pushing more and digging within myself to grow, both emotionally and physically.
I have trained with and without a partner spotting me now on a roughly fifty-fifty basis for the last 90 days. During the sessions I was able to work with a spotter, I pushed 10% more weight.
10% more strength translates to…well, something better. Intuitively, my workouts are just flat out more productive with someone by my side.
A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise concluded “Directly supervised, heavy-resistance training in moderately trained men resulted in a greater rate of training load increase and magnitude which resulted in greater maximal strength gains compared with unsupervised training.”
I discussed the importance of consistency in any workout regime. When you work out with a partner, you’re accountable for your workout. It’s inherently more difficult to find your way to the pool, gym, court or wherever if nobody is on the other end to disappoint.
Next time you’re at the gym and see someone performing some of the same exercises that you’re doing, be brave and connect. You’ll be stronger and healthier in mind and body as a result.