The monotony of a regular workout schedule can quickly get dull—go to gym, lift stuff, go home, come back tomorrow. When working out threatens to becomes a snooze fest, you're more likely to go through the motions or skip workouts entirely. One surefire way to avoid this is to find a workout partner. Teaming up with a good partner will improve your workouts in a variety of ways, helping you become a better overall athlete. Here are seven reasons why pumping iron with a partner is the best way to work out.
Not just anyone can be a suitable workout partner. You want someone who is driven, talented, competitive and accountable. The idea is that you and your partner make each other better. If your partner is constantly late to the gym or more concerned with taking selfies than spotting you, he or she will probably not be a great partner. Teammates are usually good workout partners since they're assumed to be competitive and goal-oriented.
1. A Partner Makes You Work Harder
On most college sports teams, players work out with their position groups. This is a great way to keep athletes motivated, focused and competitive. If you're competing for playing time with the same guy or girl you work out with, it ignites your competitive spirit and drives you to work harder. On the flip side, working out with someone you'll be competing against on the field (like a running back working with a linebacker or a soccer forward working with a defender) can inspire you to work harder because you know you'll face them every day in practice.
Since you're teammates, the competition is healthy and fun—you both want to be your best and you share the same ultimate goal of helping your team win.
If you find a workout partner whom you perceive as "better" than you (stronger, faster, more agile, etc.), it can help you push yourself even harder. One study found that pairing up participants with virtual partners who had higher fitness levels led them to cycle for nearly twice as long as they would have if they were alone. That's an impressive improvement, demonstrating how powerful a good partner can be.
2. A Partner Holds You Accountable
It's been a long day. You had to get up early for class, you struggled through a math test and you spilled spaghetti sauce on your new shirt at lunch. All you want to do is take a nap. The last thing you want to do is go to the gym. But then your phone buzzes—"when we hitting the gym today, dude?" It's your workout partner, and you don't want to tell him you're bailing out on him.
So you suck it up, head to the gym and end up getting a solid workout. If it hadn't been for your workout partner, you would've skipped Squats in favor of nap time and Netflix. When you find a workout partner, you essentially become a member of a two-person team. Being part of a team keeps you accountable and prompts you to make sacrifices.
3. A Partner Checks Your Form
One of the most frustrating things about working out solo is never being quite sure if your form is right. If you team up with a knowledgeable workout partner, he or she can pay close attention to your form and give you instant feedback.
Knowing how low to go on a Squat or whether you're rounding your back on a Deadlift can be difficult to tell when you're the one performing the movement. But if you're watching someone else, it's easy to spot.
Working out by yourself, you could be doing hundreds of reps with poor form and never even know it! This robs you of gains and puts you at a higher risk of injury. Working out with a partner gives you certainty that every rep is picture perfect.
4. A Partner Can Teach You New Things
Performing the same exercises over and over leads to mental and physical boredom. You'll eventually get tired of doing the same old stuff, and your progress will plateau.
Introducing new movements and exercises into your workout is a critical part of becoming a better athlete. They require your body to work in new ways and challenge different muscle groups, which is exactly what you need to blast through plateaus and stay engaged in your training.
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Having a knowledgeable workout partner around is a great way to introduce new exercises or movements into your routine. No two athletes share the exact same training backgrounds.
Your partner might know all about anti-extension core training and introduce you to awesome exercises like the Barbell Rollout. You might know all about kettlebell training and introduce him or her to the Kettlebell Push Press. Both partners learn new approaches and ultimately get better.
5. You'll Always Have a Spotter
No one likes asking a stranger to spot them. It's awkward and annoying. If you're like me, you've probably skipped a set or two every now and then simply because you didn't want to go to the trouble of finding a suitable spotter.
That is certainly not a good habit, but it's better than someone who says, "forget the spotter," drops a loaded bar on their neck and ends up in the ER.
With a workout partner, you needn't worry. Your partner is always there to provide a good, safe spot whenever you need one. This helps you tackle heavy sets with confidence and continue to increase your maxes.
6. You Can Perform Two-Person Exercises
Most exercises are designed to be done by one person, but plenty of exercises require two people to be performed successfully.
Med Ball Partner Tosses, Buddy Curls and Leg Tosses cannot be performed as solo missions. They require two people to be engaged, active and attentive.
Having a workout partner opens up the world of partner bodyweight and manual resistance training.
7. You'll Have More Fun
Having a workout partner makes everything more fun. It gives you someone to celebrate with when you hit a training goal and someone to laugh with between sets. Simply put, having a good training partner makes working out feel less like work.
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