What SHOULD you expect from your training partner? 5 Things to look for!
It's a special bond, a special relationship, a unique relationship that's different to all others. Your training partner. A good training partner is hard to find but worth their weight in gold if you happen to stumble upon someone pretty special. I've had a number of different training partners over my bodybuilding journey, some good.. some bad.. There are a number of reasons why the perfect training partner can propel your results.
1. Trust and reliability.
Does your training partner often cancel on you? Are they always late to the session? Then you should probably be in the market for a new training partner asap. Both parties should be on time and ready to go and switched on from the get go. If you are injured and need to do extra rehab work before the session, then you arrive earlier and do this before your training partner arrives. That way you are good to go and keep to schedule. You also need to be able to trust your training partner. If you are on the bench press and you are failing, you need to know he/she is there to support you if you need it.
2. They're invested in you.
A good training partner is just as invested and just as excited about YOUR goals as they are of their own. Energy is an amazing thing. It's infectious. It can be transferred in so many ways. Your training partner should be excited every time you hit a PB or every time you achieve something wonderful in the gym. As you should be for them. This goes both ways. The relationship won't work if one person is only caring about themselves. Are they on their phone? Are you on your phone? Put it down, work can wait an hour. Unless it's an emergency of course but generally speaking, you should be able to get an hour where you are not on the phone.
3. Similar goals.
It always helps when you both have similar goals. For example, I probably wouldn't get a whole lot of benefit out of training with someone who loves doing circuit style training, jumping around all over the place when my preferred style is strength and bodybuilding. You need to train with someone that is going to want to use a very similar style of programming, preferably the exact same as that way it will be much easier in the gym as you are literally going from set to set, exercise to exercise. Plus with having similar goals, your conversations will be very similar and both on the same path not only physically but also mentally as well.
4. Better than you at certain things.
It is always beneficial when you are training with someone who is better than you in some areas. Having your training partner better than you at certain exercises means you will then learn and adopt similar traits to them. It could also be a matter of competition. If your training partner is regularly improving their squat and you are stuck on the same weight or execution for example then witnessing the progression your partner is making will entice you to lift your game and perform at a higher level. Both in numbers and in the way you execute a movement. If your training partner is generally more enthusiastic and excited than you are, you will then in turn adopt these traits as well.
Being constructive is a great quality to look for in a training partner. Think of it like this, if you were performing a deadlift and there were a few reps where you were not quite in the best position you could have been, wouldn't you want your training partner to pick up on it? Have a chat about what went wrong in the set or what could have possibly made that set a little better? It's not having a 'dig' it's about improving each other and making each other better athletes. There was posing sessions where I would hit a pose and my training partner would be observing 'Hey Ry, pull the shoulder back a little more and bend the front knee a little' Then my pose would look so much better. I never took offence to it. I respected and trusted the eye of my training partner to help me become better.
End of the day, your training partner needs to be someone you can rely on, trust and be dedicated to helping you reach your goals along with their own. Next time you're training with your training partner. Check if they display any of the five qualities I have mentioned above. If they don't, I'm not saying get rid of them, but maybe have a chat about things moving forward about what you expect from them. This also applies to yourself, check if you yourself display any of the these five qualities. If you don't, maybe it's time you step up as well.