How Working Out with a Partner Helps you both Reach your Goals
Some people are lone wolves in the gym, perfectly content doing their own thing. Some of us, however, would love to have a partner to work out with. Is it better to work out alone or with a partner? That is ultimately for you to decide, but we have provided some advice on how working out with a partner can help you both reach your fitness goals.
Why work out with a partner?
Well for one, they are the perfect spotter. Having a spotter during your workout is important because they can watch your form and make sure that as you get tired, your form stays consistent. Injuries often result from poor form while working out.1
Secondly, you are less likely to skip a workout when you know someone is counting on you to show up. Plus, planning workouts ahead will make exercising a more concrete part of your weekly routine.2
Your partner can also provide an objective view of your performance as well as provide you with insights into your workout or give you new ideas or tips for exercises.3 Two minds are better than one and it is helpful to have an objective view on your progress. Plus, you can celebrate your successes together!
A partner can provide a sense of healthy competition as well as provide an impulse to work harder and longer.4 However, it is important to not overtrain and to know your limits.
Doing aerobic work with a partner can be particularly beneficial and even improve your results. This is due to the increased motivation to exercise and work harder. In a study by the Society of Behavioral Medicine, researchers found that those who exercised with a partner rode the stationary bike for a longer period of time than those who rode alone.5
What is important to look for in a workout partner?
When looking for an optimal workout partner, you want someone who has similar goals as you. If you want to trim down, but they want to beef up, you may find your workout will be hard to make mutually beneficial. You also want a partner who has a similar fitness level. You do not need to be on the same level, but if you are trying to run your first 5K you may not want to pick a champion marathon runner as your new workout buddy. It can be motivational to have someone slightly better to push you, but if they leave you in the dust there is really no point in having a partner.6
Make a list of what is important for you in a workout partner. Do you want someone who will provide you with constant encouragement or who will workout with you in silence? It’s important to recognize the traits that are important for you and to look for a workout partner with those characteristics. You want your partnership to be mutually encouraging and beneficial for both of you, emphasis on mutual!7
You also want to find a partner with a similar workout schedule. If they work out at night and you always work out in the morning, chances are the partnership is not going to work out (pun not originally intended!). You may want to approach someone you see regularly at the gym or post a message on the gym bulletin board so you find someone who already attends the same gym as you and that is on a similar schedule.8
Additionally, find a partner with similar ideas on punctuality and what constitutes a valid reason for canceling a workout. You want there to be clear and open communication as well as explicit expectations so that the partnership benefits both of you.9
You may find that your significant other is not the best workout partner. Sometimes it is better to separate your workout from your work and outside stuff and to instead choose someone based off of fitness goals and compatibility.10
Want to turn your pooch into your workout partner? Check out this article written by Dr. Karen Becker on Huffington Post’s website.
For those of you who do not yet have a partner in mind, never fear! There is an app for that. It’s called WellSquad. For more information, check out this article.
If you want some inspiration for exercises you can do with a partner, check out this article from our friends at Greatist.
1. Doug Dupont, "Having a Workout Partner Can Double Performance," Breaking Muscle, Breaking Muscle, n.d., Web.; Shelley Frost, "How to Find a Gym Buddy," LIVESTRONG.COM, LIVESTRONG.COM, 11 Aug. 2015, Web.; "5 Ways to Find Motivation With a Partner," ACTIVE.com, Active Network, LLC, n.d., Web.
2. Frost, "How to Find a Gym Buddy."; “Five Reasons Why Having a Workout Partner Can Help You Achieve Your Goals," FitDay, FitDay, n.d., Web.; Madeline Romeo, "3 Reasons to Have a Workout Buddy," ACTIVE.com, Active Network, LLC, n.d., Web.
3. Frost, "How to Find a Gym Buddy."; "5 Ways to Find Motivation With a Partner."; “Five Reasons Why Having a Workout Partner Can Help You Achieve Your Goals."
4. Brad Borland, "Workout Partner Training: Maximize Your Gym Time With A Buddy," Muscle & Strength, Muscle & Strength LLC, 25 Nov. 2013, Web.; "7 Ways a Workout Partner Triggers Fitness Success." Fitness-Health-Wellness.com. Professional Fitness Institute, 13 Mar. 2012. Web.
5. Dupont, "Having a Workout Partner Can Double Performance."; Brandon C. Irwin, Jennifer Scorniaenchi, Norbert L. Kerr, Joey C. Eisenmann, and Deborah L. Feltz, "Aerobic Exercise Is Promoted When Individual Performance Affects the Group: A Test of the Kohler Motivation Gain Effect," Annals of Behavioral Medicine 44.2 (2012): 151-59, SpringerLink, Web, 24 Nov. 2016.
6. Dupont, "Having a Workout Partner Can Double Performance."; Frost, "How to Find a Gym Buddy."; "7 Ways a Workout Partner Triggers Fitness Success."; Linda Wasmer Andrews, "Eight Traits of the Perfect Workout Partner," Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, LLC, 20 Aug. 2012, Web.
7. Frost, "How to Find a Gym Buddy."; "7 Ways a Workout Partner Triggers Fitness Success."; Andrews, "Eight Traits of the Perfect Workout Partner."
8. Frost, "How to Find a Gym Buddy."; "7 Ways a Workout Partner Triggers Fitness Success."
9. Andrews, "Eight Traits of the Perfect Workout Partner."
10. "5 Ways to Find Motivation With a Partner."; Andrews, "Eight Traits of the Perfect Workout Partner."