90% of the time I train alone. This is mostly due to scheduling conflicts rather than my social awkwardness – though that element may in fact be a larger piece than I am willing to admit to the five of you who read this. Most of these training sessions are good. Not great and not awful. I come in, warm-up (not for 45 minutes), do my work, and cool off. Occasionally, I have a training session that just downright sucks. Mobility is awful, warm-up weights feel heavy, breathing is all kinds of wrong, whatever. Even more rare that those off sessions, I have a day of training that feels amazing! I feel strong, mobile, feel like my endurance could go all day; pretty damn sweet. Like I said though, these sessions of transcendence are most rare. That is, unless I am training with a partner.
Last month, I asked Rodney – a former Member of the Month and current coach – if I could train with him on one of my variety days. He was more than happy to kick my ass and obliged. It was his squat day so we went to work. Now, I love squats, however, I have not been doing any weighted squats since my current focus is kettlebell training. I decided to front squat and told myself I would just “keep up”. Well the weight for the day was 195#, not very heavy, but keep in mind I have not been squatting much. The days training called for 5×5. Easy enough. Now, I normally take a good 3+ minutes between squat sets. NOT TODAY. Rodney does not stop moving. I was not going to slow him down either for fear of getting ninja kicked through the wall. So my 3 minute rest turned into about 1 minute. Thanks for the cardio Rodney. We hit all 5 sets and I was actually feeling pretty good; until he said we were doing 30 clean and press for time. I agreed and decided to use 2 KBs for the session. We decided we would target around 6-7 minutes for the 30 reps. We were both done in under 5. Neither one of us wanted to let the other “beat” us. Now, we didn’t have money or a prize on the line, but our competitive nature just took over. We finished and decided to do EMOM burpees for the next 5 minutes. Why? Why not was what we told ourselves. After the burpees we took the time to really stretch out and attack our pain points. We didn’t set any PRs or even hit anywhere close, but nevertheless the training day was awesome.
The reality is, training with another person is a great way to push yourself past your comfort zone. I find that my rest time is always shorter with a partner, and I push the weights a little heavier. This is the same reason personal training and group training programs are more effective than training alone for many people. Whether we realize it or not, we tend to be more aware of our training capacity and push a bit harder if we see someone else killing it.
Because of the effect training with a partner has on me, I have committed to training every Sunday with my friend and fellow coach Justin. We have been talking about how cool it would be to open this time up for anyone that wanted to train, so we are gonna try something called “Kick it with Coaches”. This is going to be a free session for the entire community, open to the public. We will meet at the gym every Sunday at noon to get an hour of training in together. Some days we will lift heavy and some days we will condition hard. Regardless, every Sunday we’ll give it our best.
If you want to join the fun, check out our Facebook page events and sign up. All you have to do is show up, sign a waiver, and get ready to lift! See you soon!