For years I thought lifting weights by myself was the best way to train. I was wrong.
It may sound dumb, but I really thought that I excelled in the gym the most when no one trained with me. Why? It was because no one slowed me down. I could train at my level, get inside my own head, motivate myself, and lift as hard or as heavy as humanly possible. That’s what I believed until I found my training partners.
The Body Spartan Squad consists of four guys: me, Brandon Griffith, John Foster, and Howard Perry. I hand picked these three guys not because of their size, how much body fat they had, or how old they were – but rather because of their inner drive. These guys are all self motivated and want to be their very best selves. For John and Howard, that means competing. For Brandon, it means keeping up with me and representing Body Spartan in the best possible light because he believes in the cause.
By training with my squad, be it two of us or four of us, I’ve packed on almost 20 lbs of muscle in about three years. It’s all because of my training partners and here’s why:
1. Your training partner should be able to get inside your head
By “get inside your head” I mean dig down deep into your inner most being and pull out your driving force. This should be the person that says all the right things at all the right times. For me, my training partners will remind me that I’m the founder of this movement and in order to keep this movement going, I HAVE to be a leader. To quote Howard:
“There is no choice, there is no question about this Gabe. Lead the pack! Show us why you’re the leader. Lift that f-in’ weight!”
Each one of your training partners should know your “why”. This is the emotional attachment behind what you are doing. It is the sole reason that you are in the gym, reaching for your goals. I just was live on the air with KOWS radio and Jen Julius where we discussed this in-depth. The podcast is below:
This is so amazingly critical because when your training partner gets inside your head, you unlock a force so powerful it will literally blow your mind. The mind muscle connection is an incredible force that few have harnessed. Make your training partner dig deep inside and pull out your why and help you create that mind-muscle connection.
2. Your training partner should be self motivated and positive
No negativity. That’s one of our main rules. Each one of my training partners was picked specifically because they exude positivity. They don’t partake in putting others down at the gym, snickering behind other peoples’ backs, or being generally in a bad mood. Instead, each one of them uplifts, encourages, and looks for the good in every situation. Sometimes it’s difficult but when two people that are both positive are in each other’s presence, they will excel in being positive. The energy that you produce will rub off on the other person. The old phrase, “happiness is contagious” truly plays it’s part with your training partners.
If your training partners are self motivated, they will be there on-time, ready to work and ready to encourage YOU to meet your goals. In turn, you will be more motivated to tackle the workout and to motivate your training partner as well. Like attracts like and in this case, positive attracts positive making for one hell of a workout.
3. Find training partners with similar goals
If your potential training partner has the goal of being in the gym three times a week and doesn’t really care about spending the extra few bucks on a solid nutrition plan BUT you are thinking about competing in your first fitness contest, this obviously isn’t a good match. Now, this is an extreme example but the basic principles are there. Selecting a training partner whose goals are similar to yours will ensure that you will be working out the proper number of times per week with your partner or squad to meet your goals. This is critical on heavy volume days not only for consistency but to ensure you have a spotter. Forced reps, 1 rep max’s, drop sets and super sets are far more effective with a spotter (forced reps actually requires a spotter) – Which is a perfect transition into the next item.
4. Train to failure with your training partner
Failure, not fatigue. Fatigue is when your muscles burn and hurt and are tired and you feel like stopping. Failure is when you absolutely cannot do one more rep because you have completely exhausted your muscles and no matter what your mind tells them to do, you simply cannot lift the weight. THAT’S failure and you should be training to failure in everything you do. Without a training partner though, it’s nearly impossible to do this on major compound movements like the bench press, squats, military press, overhead triceps extensions, etc.
Your training partner should push you beyond where you think your upper limit is – right to the point of failure. That is when you will be ripe for growth. 3 sets of 10 won’t get you there either. You need drop sets, super sets, tri-sets, giant sets, etc. with as little rest as possible in between sets. That’s how you force huge amounts of blood into your muscle cells and make them grow. Having your training partner ensure you train to failure will pack pounds of lean muscle mass on your body in a very short amount of time.
Get a training partner and get one now. Find people that are more knowledgeable than you, that train harder than you, that you look up to and ask if you can train with them. Track your results. I guarantee if you stick with it, you won’t be sorry.