Are you a workout partner or a training partner?
Having training partners may not seem like a big deal to some of you, and it may be because you have never had a great one! We recently had Coach Ken Wheeler visit Garage Gym Barbell this last week for a powerlifting seminar and something really struck home. Having great training partners and how important they are, and how much they mean to being a successful lifter. There is a huge difference between working out with someone and being a training partner.
Here's a little backstory, I live in a small mountain town where you won't find a powerlifting gym closer than 1 hour away. I fully converted my garage into an awesome training space, and have "most" the equipment I need (there's always something I want/need). The only thing missing for a while was a training partner with the same goal in mind of competing. Now don't get me wrong, I have many that are willing to workout with me but I just couldn't find someone that wanted to make "Powerlifting" their sport and start competing seriously. Someone with the mental attitude to show up for training day in and day out and take to learning the sport of powerlifting. I started to feel like maybe I was taking my passion too far.
Fast forward 4 years later and I've slowly introduced many women in my small mountain town to the sport of powerlifting and we now have a small group of like minded I consider my training partners.
Stronger standing next to you
Being a great training partner directly impacts the success of yourself and others on your team. The team is only as strong as it's weakest lifter in the gym. Think about that for a moment, if we are only as strong as our weakest team member, then the goal should always be to do whatever it takes to make each other stronger. Mentally & physically.
Building a winning culture of training together and holding each other accountable so that we all get better takes some practice to have mastery. Some people don’t respond well to you getting in their face and challenging them, while others relish in it. Some are easily offended by your asshole jokes and others will appreciate the humor (I raise my hand to this). Whatever the case, we are constantly trying to build a fortress in our tribe that can't be shaken by any personality differences. Stronger is always the goal!
The only move to make is FORWARD
How do we apply this thought of contributing to the culture of strength with your training partners? Here are a few tips to practically put into practice.
Not only showing up, but showing up with the attitude of ready to push even on days you feel like crap. In our gym, we have different times that we arrive. Each have paired up to make sure no one trains alone. Even though we may not be training "together", seeing others arrive, showing up and pushing through any personal challenges going on at home or behind the scenes is so powerful. You are here and nothing can shake your commitment to training speaks very loud.
Don't be the smartest or the strongest in the gym:
“Never be the smartest person in the room.” or how about “If you want to be a millionaire, surround yourself with rich people.” These are good quotes to put into play. Training with someone bigger, stronger or smarter than you stokes that competitive fire that gives you no option but to get better. Don’t get intimidated. Don’t get frustrated. Just get better.
Hearing your form sucks, you didn’t hit depth on a squat, you're lift off was horrible or calling you out when you’re not pushing yourself as hard as you should can hit your ego and maybe strike a small irritated nerve. A good training partner isn’t there for rainbows and unicorns. They’re there to give honest feedback, hold you accountable and tell it like it is. Don't take it personal. Take a walk outside, shake it off and get back to training. If you're the training partner giving the feedback, gain mastery over your delivery, because you will also be on the other side of that feedback.
They might be onto something:
Each of us think differently in everything. Sometimes, I warm up too long while others get right in. I tend to shy away from pushing the limits and while my training partner pushes to the edge each time. I'm thankful to have a training partner to call me out on it. The point is, take another person's point of view and see what you can draw to build your weaknesses up.
Place a high value on your training partners and seek ways to make them stronger. This includes putting aside personality differences.. let that shit go. I promise it will benefit you as a lifter and on the platform because there will be no greater screams while you're hitting those big lifts on the platform then the ones coming from your team! Stay true and always move forward.