If you are familiar with the gym Invictus and the main coach, C.J. Martin, you may be familiar with his way of thinking and some of his training methods. Recently I read an Invictus blog written by C.J. titled “Good Training Partners Make for Great Training”. You can read the original article HERE.
C.J. goes on to talk about why you should always partner up, even if there is plenty of space in the gym.
For people that are familiar with globo-gyms, they know it is against code to talk to other people in the gym, let alone train with anyone else that is not a close friend to them. But in the CrossFit community we are more of a close-knit bunch and tend to build relationships rather quickly with others we workout with. Maybe it is because we are all suffering together day-in and day-out. Maybe it’s because we typically go to the same class at the same time 4-6 days a week and see the same people. Whatever the reason may be, CrossFit gyms are a bit different in that sense.
But why should you be training with a partner even if you aren’t working out during a class? In C.J.s article he discusses 5 reasons to train with a partner during a strength or skill session: safety, feedback, focus, support/motivation, and community.
Safety: You are not always able to exclusively work one-on-one with the coach in each class. Usually you get some feedback, they watch a few lifts/movements, then they have to go help others in the class. When the coach walks away you are expected to take the coach’s cues and perform quality movement mechanics. Alone it is difficult to tell if you are doing a movement correctly or making the correction suggested to you. But with a training partner, it is an extra set of ears to hear what feedback you were given and an extra set of eyes to help determine if you are doing movements safely. They can watch for any deviation in proper form or movement that could be harmful to you. They can also veto bad decisions, helping keep you and them safe.
Feedback: As C.J. mentioned, “you don’t have to be a world-class coach to provide a training partner with feedback”. A partner can easily tell you if your back is rounding on your deadlifts, or if the first few reps looked better than the last few reps. They don’t have to tell you how to fix anything or what is happening that your movement is going to crap, but they can give you feedback and let you know it’s happening.
Focus: A partner can count reps for you or count the tempo for you when you are trying to focus on the mechanics of the movement. They can also keep you on track when lifting and switching back and forth on a lift, keeping you from slacking off too much or taking too much time between lifts.
Support/Motivation: A good partner is there with you, helping you, watching you, and cheering you on when you are struggling to get out of the bottom of a heavy back squat. They encourage you to go hard, get an extra rep, and help you to be better you. Working out with a partner helps you get more out of your training than working out alone.
Community: Partnering up builds relationships and creates more of a community. Human interaction, support, encouragement, and friendship make each person more connected and help the gym be successful in changing peoples lives when it comes to health and happiness.
Next time you find yourself alone, pair up with someone, even if you don’t know them. You never know, they may just end up becoming a close friend. Plus you two will finish your session feeling more productive and happier.