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It’s one of the eternal conundrums of the fitness world – should you enlist a friend as a training partner, or would you be better off going the isolationist route? This is a decision that is critical to your training success or failure – and possibly your friendship. With all of that at stake, you owe it to yourself to do some due diligence on the issue. So, let’s get to it.

Partner Plusses

Motivation: Sustaining the motivation required to power through your workouts day in and day out isn’t easy. In fact, running out of steam is the major reason most people never achieve their fitness goals. A great way to inject a little motivation into the workout equation is to team up with a partner. The knowledge that there’s someone waiting on you to show up and do the work is a great boost to overcoming ‘mind over mattress’ syndrome.

Safety: Hitting the gym on your own can be risky business. Whether you’re bench pressing, squatting or doing lunges, the presence of a partner could be the difference between an extra couple of forced reps and six months of chiropractic treatment.

Competition: Nothing propels humans to excel more than a sense of competition. In the gym, healthy competition can be the difference between a by-the-numbers session and a fat-scorching, body-shaping frenzy. To really get the most out of your workouts, find a partner who’s a little fitter than you – you’ll be constantly pushing yourself to keep up with them.

Training Tempo: Many guys misjudge how much rest they need between sets; they either don’t allow enough time for the cells to recuperate, or they wait too long and then the cumulative training effect has been wasted. When you train with a partner, however, it’s simple: as soon as they have finished their set, it’s your turn. This back-and-forth tempo provides you with just the right amount of rest to sustain intensity through your workout.