Having life-long friends, community connections and an overall active social life has many proven health benefits. The same can be said for exercising, so is it beneficial to workout with a partner? Let’s weigh the pros and cons of exercising with a significant other, friend and/or in groups.
The benefits of working out with a partner/in groups
The Social Comparison Theory suggests that people have an innate drive to evaluate themselves, often in comparison to others. It has been said that people exercise to the intensity of those around them. If you train with a partner that you perceive to having a high level of fitness, the Social Comparison Theory suggests that you will then match said partner’s exercise intensity and vice versa. Others suggest that for some individuals, exercising alone may be more beneficial than exercising with someone when trying to secure a relaxing exercise experience. You need to identify what kind of experience you are looking for when training.
Other benefits of training with a partner/in groups include:
The thought of pushing through an intense workout on your own can daunting but dominating an hour-long workout alongside someone else or even a group of people is a different story. Partner/group workouts are a great way to kick yourself into gear on those lazy days. Group classes/ training with a partner can help rev up lacklustre energy levels, making it ideal for individuals who consistently find themselves grabbing a beer with co-workers instead of hitting the gym.
Skipping a solo workout can have fewer consequences than ditching your friends. Meeting someone or a group of people for a workout session makes you more likely to head to the gym because they are counting on you to show up, whereas if you’re training alone you have no one to be accountable for.
Following the same old routine over and over again can become rather mundane. But group/buddy workouts tend to include more variety during training. With the growing variety of class types, there is bound to be one to fit whatever mood you happen to be in.
Cons and other things to consider when training with a partner/in groups
If you are training with someone that is either older or younger than you, you are likely to have two very different levels of fitness, training needs as well as goals. The difference in fitness level is definitely something to consider then training with a friend and/or in a group.
Lack of attention to form
The motivational benefit of exercising in a group or with a partner also has some downsides. For instance, if you are participating in a class, it can be more difficult for an instructor to watch and critique individual performance. Therefore, if your form is less than perfect, there is no one there to correct you or inform you that your form is not up to par.
Those who chose to train with others or in groups run the risk of over doing it. if you are exercising with someone who has a higher level of fitness than you do, you could overexert yourself. The same could be said when taking a class with a larger group of people. The intensity is pretty much set to one level and if you are unable to maintain that set pace, you could end up hurting yourself and setting yourself back.
How to make to most of training with a buddy
For those who train with a partner, make sure to incorporate activities that allow you to work together, encourage one another as well as hold each other accountable and celebrate each other’s achievements.
Here are some training ideas to do with your buddy
- Do partner movements like wheel-barrow walks, medicine ball tosses and relay runs.
- Encourage accountability by counting each other’s reps, even carpool to the gym together to ensure you both pitch up.
- Celebrate and congratulate one another one your fitness achievements.
If you prefer to train alone, here on are some things you can do to stay motivated and diligent:
- Keep a journal, tracking app or jot down your workouts in a calendar to help keep yourself accountable as well as motivated.
- Celebrate your milestones, focus on the feeling of getting stronger, faster, more flexible, etc. This will help keep you on track and motivated to go to the gym and keep putting that work in.
- Keep pushing towards you set goals and re-assess certain goals when necessary.