Some people insist on going to the gym with a workout partner. Others are more the lone-wolf type. No matter which camp you’re in, this article is for you.
If you tend to work out by yourself, this article will provide some of the best reasons to find someone else to lift with. If you already work out with a partner, this article might present some views or activities that you hadn’t thought of before.
Top reasons to call your workout partner
In a moment, we’ll present some workouts that are easiest or best with a partner. First, let’s look at why you should bother finding a workout partner at all.
If your primary workout is lifting, read “workout partner” as “spotter.” Spotters play a lot of the psychological roles, like helping to hype you up. They also do another important role – they dig you out if you’re in over your head.
Having a partner that can give you a hand when you need it is nice, but it can also keep you from hurting yourself. You can do any lift with a spotter, but having one on deck is particularly important for lifts that put you under the weights, like the bench-press.
Even if you don’t want a spotter all the time, consider enlisting one when you increase the weight that you lift or experiment with finding your one-rep max.
Do you have trouble keeping up with your fitness goals? Does anyone else know what those goals are? You’re more likely to keep up with the goals that you set for yourself if you have someone else to hold you accountable.
The idea isn’t that you have to tell your weight goals, calorie counts, or how much you can lift to your workout partner. However, if your goal is to exercise five or six days a week, you’re more likely to meet that goal if you workout with a partner.
The same is true if you have trouble sticking to your diet.
Encouragement and competition
On a related note, even if you do keep up the commitment to your workout schedule, having a workout partner can help you push yourself to the next level.
Even if you’re currently jogging a decent distance at a good pace, or lifting an impressive load for double-digit reps, your current level of fitness will only do you so much good for so long. If you don’t continually challenge yourself, you’ll see a plateau in performance.
A workout partner may inspire you to challenge yourself, or there may be some friendly competition involved. Either way, they can help to fight off complacency.
Just looking at the number of articles on this site – and the number of sites out there – should key you in to a little secret: fitness is a bottomless pit.
No matter how much you know, we all have something to learn. Working out with a partner can be a great way to learn new exercises, have someone to critique your form, and more. If there’s a lesson you can learn from your bicep, it’s that two heads are better than one.
Best workouts to do with a partner
So now that you’ve heard all of the great reasons to work out with a partner, what workouts are best for two people?
Any workout can be done with a friend, but there are some that it’s better fitted to than others.
We said it above and we’ll say it again: the best time to work out with a friend is when you’re doing heavy lifting. You can get yourself into serious trouble if you bite off more than you can chew and wind up under a barbell.
Because you would be helping to move that weight, your spotter doesn’t even need to be the biggest and baddest bloke in the gym – just someone to support you and watch out for you.
Balance and flexibility exercises
The rough thing about balance and flexibility exercises is that form is everything. That means that if you do them alone, it can be hard to tell whether you’re doing them correctly. Do one wrong enough for long enough, and you could hurt yourself.
Not only is doing these exercises with a partner a good way to make sure that your form is good, there are some forms that you can only do with a partner.
Platforms like YouTube even have special videos for “partner” yoga poses. Watch out though – it was one of those zany YouTube challenges for a while, so if you don’t find a video by the right group you’ll find yourself watching an ameteur “what-not-to-do” video.
Classic competitive sports
Any classically competitive sport – think swimming, running, biking, etc. – can be improved by an amiable workout partner.
You don’t need to compete all the time, but we’ve all raced our shadows on a stopwatch before and going up against a living person can be so much more invigorating. And the best part is, no race, no problem. You can still walk, run, ride, or swim together. After all, you can’t talk back to your playlist or podcast.
Finding a workout partner
So, if you don’t already have a workout partner, how do you find one? There are a couple of places to look.
Where you work out
Whether you work out at the gym or in your neighborhood, you probably run into other people doing the same thing. Some people don’t like it when people talk to them at the gym, but there’s no harm in asking them if they’re interested in buddying up.
This is particularly true if you notice that you tend to do the same workouts or if you work out the same muscle groups but in different styles – say, one of you uses machines and the other uses free weights.
Where you are
Your workout partner doesn’t have to be a stranger. Consider talking to one of your friends, or even a romantic partner about working out together.
Working out with someone that you know can be a great bonding experience, and it gets around a lot of the awkward interactions that can come from looking for a workout partner that you aren’t already close to.
The only potential downside is that some people find working out around someone that they are already close to to be a little bit intimidating.
Where you work
If you’ve been looking for a good after-work or weekend activity, consider working with a coworker or two. A lot of offices have off-shift rituals like going to the bar but that’s not for everyone. If you’d rather lift weights than glasses, see if anyone feels the same.
These days, some companies are even working fitness incentive programs into their HR structures, so joining a gym or engaging in other physical activity may have perks with your employer.
Where you live
Finding a workout partner means that you don’t have to go it alone. If you don’t know where to start, consider starting with your favorite social media platform, your favorite search engine, or your local newspaper.
A lot of communities have grass-roots organizations dedicated to health and wellness. These are great ways to get access to already-established communities of people thinking about their health.
What are you waiting for? No matter what exercise you’re into, there are benefits to doing them with a partner. So snag a buddy and get going.