One thing that a lot of people have trouble deciding is whether to find a training partner or not. The thought of a training partner may be appealing to some, but the reality might be a bit different.
There are certainly some advantages to having a training partner. For example, he or she can always help with forced reps at the end of a set where you know you wouldn’t be able to do them by yourself. If you’re “just not feelin’ it” that day, you can feed off of your partner’s energy. Then there’s the ability to push each other to higher and higher intensity during the workout. And, finally, your partner can be a source of feedback about form, progress, etc.
Now for the disadvantages. Are they reliable and on time? If not you may be doing a lot of waiting. And, I don’t know about you, but when people go to the gym to train, they have no time to waste. They can’t be sitting there waiting for someone to get there. Something else to consider – is your training partner selfish? If he/she is, then you won’t get any of the benefits we spoke about above. If all he/she is worried about is getting a workout in and then checking themselves in the mirror, that will more than likely not work for you and your goals.
But even if your training partner is on time and isn’t selfish, here are a couple additional questions to ask yourself before moving forward. Does your partner have the same goals you do? In other words, is one person preparing for a contest vs. the other in a mass gaining phase? That could lead to issues down the road the closer the contest competitor gets to the show.
Also, does your partner roughly have the same strength as you? This may not seem like a very important question to ask, but if you are experienced and relatively strong and your partner is a beginner (or a smaller female), you may not be thrilled about racking and re-racking your own weights between sets. It may not be a problem for you, but it could be. It could also limit your progress in the gym.
The take home message here is that there are a number of things to consider before taking on a training partner. The pros may outweigh the cons for you. Then again, they may not. That’s something only you can answer. Most people train by themselves pretty much their entire training-life, not always because they want to but because it can be difficult to find anyone who shared the same desires/goals at the same time. However,when you finally start training consistently with a partner and it’s a right fit it can really take your training to a higher level.