Thứ Năm, 30 tháng 7, 2015


The sweat trickles down his forehead. The calloused hands tighten on the bar. He bites his lip and focuses on the 500 pounds of cold steel hovering over his body. The grip tightens and he eases the bar off of its support rack. Slowly, but steadily, the weight descends to his sternum …

As the bar kisses his sweat soaked t-shirt, his triceps come into action and the weight begins to rise. Two inches from his body, however, the bar stops. He has reached the sticking point - the moment on the lift that is the most difficult. Now, with more than a quarter-ton threatening to splinter his ribcage into a thousand pieces, he surges every fiber of his being into the fray. A Neanderthal grunt escapes his throat as his massive chest swells the t-shirt to breaking point. But the weight refuses to budge. Sensing failure he glances skyward. Within that moment the reassuring fingers of his training partner gently glide the bar upward past the sticking point and it’s easy now. He can glide the weight back to it’s staring position.

He’s ready for one more rep …

Take the partner out of that equation and what have you got? At best a set that finishes too early - at worst a severely injured iron pumper. All of which would seem to suggest that a bodybuilder without a training partner is a bit like a smoke detector without batteries - it looks the part but it’s just not up to the job. But hang on a minute - isn’t bodybuilding meant to be the ultimate isolationist sport? In fact, didn’t the great one himself (that’s Governor great one to you) once admit that he gravitated to it because he didn’t want to share the glory with others? Well, yes but he was also a part of one of the hottest training partnerships in the history of muscledom. Hey - when you’ve won 7 Mr Olympia’s, you’re allowed a few contradictory statements. So much for him - what about you? Should you put out for a partner or continue hitting the plates as a lone wolf?

Are Two Really Better Than One?

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their hard work. For if one of them should fall, the other can raise his partner up. But how will it be with just the one who falls when there is not another to raise him up?

Sounds like good bodybuilding advice, right? Well, in fact, those words were written over 3,000 years ago in the Bible (no, we’re not referring to Bill Pearl’s Keys to the Inner Universe - were talking about the REAL Bible, Ecclesiastes 4:9,10 to be exact). So, how about it? Does the revealed wisdom of the Creator translate to the gym floor? Why not check out the pros and cons and decide for yourself?

Partner Positives


The number one advantage of a training partner is that they are there to protect you if you get into trouble under the heavy iron. Serious bodybuilding equals heavy lifting and pushing a set to failure and beyond. Without a partner you simply cannot do that as efficiently. Sure, you can always ask the guy working out next to you for a spot when you think you’re going to need one, but unless a spotter is tuned into you and your specific needs, nine times out of ten their help will actually ruin the set for you, either by giving too much assistance or by causing the bar to ascend unevenly. A partner who knows how to spot you will do the job properly.


It doesn’t matter how dedicated we are to packing mass onto our frames, all of us have times when we’re dragging the chain, when just getting to the gym is a monumental effort, when our warm-up set feels like a ton, when we’re on auto-pilot and can’t wait to get out of the place. A good partner can be the perfect antidote to these stale, unproductive patches. For a start, just knowing that someone is going to be waiting for you gives most people (those with a least a spark of conscience, anyway) a kick in the butt out the door. And unless you’ve teamed up with the clinically depressed, the odds are that they’ll show up with some of the energy that you’re lacking. That energy could be the very thing you need to transform a by the numbers work-out (in other words, a total waste of your time) into a muscle quivering growth explosion.


We humans thrive on competition - it brings out the best and the worst in us. Having a training partner can allow you to put that piece of psychology to use in your muscle building endeavors. You can push each other to your limits, try to outdo each other and even go crazy once in a while. Schwarzenegger and Columbu, for instance, used to have curl fests where they’d load up a bar and then one of them would do as many strict curls as he could. After the last rep he’d literally throw the bar at his partner who’d try to do one more rep that what he’d done. This would go on until one of them either punked out or passed out. The shock factor to their biceps allowed them to blast through plateaus and keep stretching that tape measure. Stuff like that every now and again will make your workouts more exciting and more productive.

On the Other Hand …

Wasted Time:

It’s an all too familiar scenario … you’re on the go. You’ve got work to finish off at home tonight, a wife who needs affection and a couple of kids who are hanging out for their bed time story. So what the hell are you doing standing around waiting for that bozo workout partner to make an appearance? Throw in the fact that workouts are going to take longer and, unless you’re careful, you could easily lose the advantage of zero rest time between sets on certain techniques like pre-exhaustion and super setting, and the time factor becomes a real issue.

Bad Technique:

Some people just don’t how to spot - no matter how many times you try to show them. Having a bad spotter is infinitely worse than not having one at all. If they take too much of the weight, your set is ruined. And if they focus on the babe on the leg adductor machine instead of the weight in your hand, your set, not to mention your potential well being, is on the skids once again.

Different Mindsets:

Finding partner who wants to build muscle may not be that difficult. But how about finding one who’s willing to get out of bed at 5:30 every morning, who’s open minded enough to try training routines that fly in the face of what they think they know and who’ve got the guts and determination to consistently push through the pain barrier. It ain’t that easy.

Internal Motivators:

Tom Platz retired from competitive bodybuilding well over a decade ago. Yet, he’s still revered as one of the hardest trainers of all time. Funny thing is, his motivation didn’t come from a training partner. From within himself, Platz was able to summon up seemingly super human qualities of concentration, focus and intensity. Platz would play mind games on himself wherein his temporary reality would be that his wife had been kidnapped and would be killed if he didn’t get a certain number of reps on a certain exercise that he was doing. The results were legendary workouts. Needless to say, Platz was the ultimate lone wolf. A partner would have ruined his ability to concentrate. There are many such individuals who are able to fully self-motivate and to whom a partner would be nothing short of a pain in the gluteus maximus.

Program Conflicts:

So, your weak point is your upper pecs. Your partner, however - well you could balance a glass of water on his damned pecs and not spill a drop. His delts, however, are another story. Unlike yours, they’ve got no width. Clearly you’ve got different weak points. A good program should be built around hammering weak points first, but what’s a guy to do when he and his partner have different areas of priority. Compromises will necessarily have to be made which could led to less than optimum workouts.

And the Verdict Is …?

Now that we’ve got you nice and confused, what are you going to decide - partner or solo? First determine if you’re a self motivator or a guy who thrives on external input. If you’ve got that Platz-like ability to summon up super-human energy, by all means go it alone. Talk to an instructor at the gym and explain to them that you prefer to train alone but that you’ll be calling on them for a spot when you go real heavy. If they’re any good at their job they’ll be happy to oblige and they’ll know how to spot you properly. If they’re not, then what the hell are you doing there?

Everyone else should seriously consider a training partner. They key, however, is to be selective. Get the wrong guy and your muscle building goals are in jeopardy. Here’s a checklist of qualities that you’ll want to have ticks beside if you’ve found the right partner. Have a trial of a couple of weeks and see how he goes …

How Does He Rate?


If the guys not there at least a couple of minutes before the scheduled start time of your workout, every workout for the first two weeks, can him. The first time he’s late, start your workout on time and let him jump in when he arrives - he’ll know you mean business.


Worse than being late is not showing up at all. A missed day during that trial period means the guy’s a total loser. Move on.


The last thing you want when you’re trying to focus is some goof spewing on about how great they are. In fact, those idiots who don’t know when to shut up and concentrate are even worse. So, if he suffers from verbal diarrhea, give him the shove.

Ability to Motivate:

He doesn’t have to bark catch phrases at you like a drill sergeant, but he should be able to gently say the right words at the right time to help you achieve at the highest level. He should now, after those first two weeks, what buttons to push to get you to push out those critical last couple of reps.

Comparable Strength Levels:

You don’t want to be flipping 20 pounders on and off between sets, so look for a guy who’s about as strong as you are, maybe even just a little stronger. The exception to this is the extra motivation a guy can get from working out with a female. It’s a proven fact that female partners give a male trainer the extra motivation to lift more - after all, who wants to fail in front of a girl?

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