Before we begin, check out this quote from the man himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“I did it because of something I’d seen in Franco (Columbo), which was his incredible willpower. I knew he could go all the way. I knew too that he was the training partner who could weather the ferocious workouts necessary in the coming year. It was important for me to be with Franco during a time when I wanted to adhere to a grueling workout schedule.”
That’s a really cool quote for me. I came across it the other day, and it inspired this article. It got me thinking of the gains in athleticism, strength, and power I’ve made over the past few years, and forced me to realize the importance that incredible training partners have had on my development. In one sentence I would say this.
“A great training partner can take a great program and make it superhuman.”
Yep. I just quoted myself, but I don’t care. I feel that strongly of a great training buddy’s impact on one’s progress in the gym.
I also don’t feel that a training partner is limited to just people who share the same program as you. In fact not one of the athlete’s that trained alongside me in Boston at CP shared the same program as I did. Each person brings an individual set of strengths and weaknesses to the table, therefore no program there is designed alike.
With that in mind, a “training partner” can be a coach, mentor, friend, family member, or even someone you don’t really care for, and probably would never go grab a beer with. That’s ok. They come in all shape’s and sizes, and here are the qualities that every great one possesses….
1.) A great training partner hold’s his buddy accountable for effort and consistency.- Effort and consistency are certainly two of the biggest deterrents of training gains, and when working alone, it’s easy for many people to use their rational mind to negotiate around a tough ass workout, or showing up every day ready to crush it. It’s simply human nature for most individuals to avoid discomfort, good pain, and loads of sweat. An awesome training partner doesn’t care whether you hate him or her temporarily. He or she will push you to your breaking point, make sure you finish all your reps, all your sets, and take you beyond your comfort zone. If you can find someone around you who you feel is capable of this, bring them into the gym for a test run.
2.) A great training partner is probably stronger than you. If they aren’t, then they are usually just as strong. – This quality is something that I’ve noticed over and over. I’m no sociology major, but strong motherfuckers tend to gravitate and train with strong motherfuckers. The weak guys tend to workout together too. If you are weak, I recommend finding someone who trains hard, is strong, and does it the right way. By the right way I mean working their butt off, eating right, and living a diesel lifestyle. Find this person. Sack up and ask them for some training advice. Ask them who taught them to get strong and get the body they wanted. Just don’t ask them 2 seconds before they pull 600 off the floor. Have some feel…Maybe they can help you with a program or keep you accountable for showing up and getting after it like an animal.
3.) A great training partner isn’t a prima donna. This should go unsaid, but unfortunately it must be expressed. The last two months I’ve been training at a commercial gym, so I’ve gotten to see some of the umm how should I say this…”interesting” dynamics of not only what people do in the gym, but with whom and how they go about it. I give people a bunch of credit for showing up. If I was a teacher of gym101, that would be half the credit of my student’s grade. A great training companion encompasses the other half of the grade. He or she trains and doesn’t simply “workout.” He or she pushes themselves and whoever they are with to the max. He or she isn’t afraid of heavy weights. He or she isn’t afraid of sweat, blood, and possibly regurgitation. Above all ,you and the person you train with have a responsibility. You owe it to each other to move weight around fast and hard, keep your head down and work without looking at your phone or socializing. Bottom line. Don’t be this guy….
In summary, take Arnold’s advice. Find that person this offseason with the willpower, commitment, and no bullshit workhorse mentality. Watch them, talk to them, train with them. It will take your training to levels you never thought possible.