Couples Training: The Tactical Guide

Brad Borland

Coach

Strength and Conditioning, Bodybuilding

 

Workout partners seem to be a thing of the past. No, I’m not talking about the bros you work out with, but tried and true workout partners who show up ready, willing, and able to tackle the training ahead. Being in the same room doesn’t qualify. In order for this training partner thing to work you both have to be on the same page with similar goals and similar motivations.

 

 

There are plenty of advantages and tactics at your disposal when it comes to training as a couple. Furthermore, training with your significant other presents a whole host of new and exciting benefits.

 

The Advantages of Couple’s Workouts: 1. Accountability

Of course, as with any training partner, accountability is a positive factor. As a couple, it can be even more effective. Your significant other will expect you to be there and vice versa. After planning a program and prepping for your workouts, you will rely on the other person to be there whether it’s to spot, help with form, or even demonstrate proper execution of an exercise.

 

Accepting responsibility, showing up on time, and putting forth the work is a daily, weekly, and monthly commitment that is not attained through sporadic habits. Stay accountable and expect that from your training partner, too.

 

The Advantages of Couple’s Workouts: 2. Steady Challenges

When training alone you tend not to push yourself quite as hard as when someone is with you. You may skip a workout or two during the week or possibly give less than your best in a couple of workouts. Fostering the right kind of intensity day after day can be a challenge. Additionally, choosing the comfortable over the unknown can be a disadvantage as well. A training partner will be able to bring new and challenging exercises to the table as well as offer new ways to do old favorites.

 

The Advantages of Couple’s Workouts: 3. Operate Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Another issue when training alone is that you tend to stick to your old ways of doing things. Much like the point made above, you tend to shy away from anything too much outside of your comfort zone. Even when you try to come up with new ways of doing things during your workouts, you tend to eventually steer back to your center. Having a training partner will enable you to perform certain exercises that call for assistance and provide someone to bounce ideas off of when it's time to mix up your routine.

 

The Advantages of Couple’s Workouts: 4. You Get to Become an Island

One of the most frustrating things to experience in the gym is the inability to perform supersets, giant sets, or circuits. It never fails—someone always comes along and nabs your station when you’re clear across the gym floor. Yes, it’s all fair game, but stressful nonetheless. Having a partner can severely reduce this from happening since both of you will be at different stations, therefore occupying your territory. Going from a resistance training exercise to, say, a piece of cardio equipment is easy when there are always two of you around. Divide and conquer.

 

The Advantages of Couple’s Workouts: 5. You Keep a Steady Pace

Timing your training (rest periods) can get away from you. One minute you’re hitting it hard and the next someone is talking your head off and you’ve just wasted five minutes of precious training time knocking out your momentum. Training with your partner takes out the need to carefully pace your training. While the other person is performing a set you can either be resting or moving on to the next exercise. This way takes the guess work out of the workout and provides a steady, reliable pace.

 

Another approach, and one of the most time efficient ways to train together, is to constantly alternate exercises without rest. As you’re performing a set of chin ups your partner may be doing a set of dips. Once completed you simply switch exercises. Continue to move from one to the other as your partner does the same until all the sets are completed.

 

The Advantages of Couple’s Workouts: 6. The Option Progress and Regress

Whatever the situation is, any type of training can be progressed or regressed to cater to each individual. For example, using barbells can sometimes be troublesome due to the need to quickly add or subtract weights. In this case, opt for dumbbells instead. For certain bodyweight exercises, you can prop your feet on a bench for push ups progression, or place your hands on a bench for regression. For chin ups, one could have their feet supported or use a band to help lighten the load or go with inverted rows.

 

There are plenty of ways to quickly adjust exercises so that they specifically fit each individual’s preferences. Also, don’t buy into the false notion that some exercises are made for women and some are made for men. We all have the same muscular makeup and the weights don’t discriminate.

 

The Advantages of Couple’s Workouts: 7. Quality Time

Finally, and possibly most importantly, is the fact that if you work out as a couple it will invariably bring you closer together. Spending time sweating together will help strengthen your relationship by associating your workout partner with the release of endorphins. Those feel-good brain chemicals are abundant during and after exercise.

 

Celebrate the Closeness

Training as a couple has many advantages and little drawback. If you’re tired of the same old routine, put a little pep back into your training with some friendly competition and spark up some fun. It’ll strengthen your accountability, develop more discipline, bolster creativity, create a new level of challenge, and bring you closer together as a couple.

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