Saturday, March 11, 2006

To Excel, Get a Training Partner

Some training ideas from the "old days" are worth bringing back. One of them is having a training partner. I don’t know when the idea of having training partners died out, but you don’t see much of it in gyms today.

Of course it used to be that most gyms were independently owned and the actual owner would get you started with a routine. Then once you got acclimated, you would usually buddy-up with someone. The two of you, or sometimes three, would spot each other, count reps, and give encouragement. The only personal trainers in gyms in those days were the owners.

I realize we can't go back to 1950s, but that doesn’t mean some of the things done back then aren’t worth revisiting. And having a training partner is one of them. Or even better than having one training partner is having two. Generally, the timing and rest periods between sets is almost perfect when three people exercise in consecutive order. And for squats and bench exercises, it is ideal having a spotter at each end of the bar.

I have nothing against paying a personal trainer. Some of them are excellent, and there are people who would not workout at all without a trainer to push them. However, employing someone to work with you three days a week is very expensive. And most of the time you and a training partner can figure things out for yourselves, once you learn the fundamentals. Certainly you can arrange periodic consultations with a personal trainer if further guidance is necessary.

I don’t know the statistics, but, if I had to guess, I would say that far more beginners stick with their training when they have training partners. If you don’t train with someone now, think about trying it. Find someone with similar objectives and a compatible attitude. I bet you’ll enjoy training more than ever.

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