The Gains Train: Partner Workouts

What if there was a training protocol that allowed you to get a couple extra reps in each set you completed? Lift weights that you’d only hit during weightlifting classes? Improve your movement mechanics while also giving you the opportunity to practice real-life skills? Well luckily for us, there is. Most of us have completed partner workouts before but may not have fully realized the benefits.

Something I noticed right away during my first partner workout is the intensity factor. With the built-in rest interval, there’s a real opportunity for you to push deeper into the pain cave. Maybe during a conventional workout you break your pull-ups into sets of 5 or less, but knowing you can rest while your partner works, you push through eight or ten reps during your set. Personally, I’ve found more often than not, I’ve got a lot more reps in the tank than I thought.  These larger sets are a strong stimulus for muscle growth and give you some confidence with higher rep sets when you go back to doing individual workouts.

Partner workouts are also an opportunity to practice real life skills. Let’s say you’ve got a really strong front squat, and your partner is a muscle up, ninja. During the workout, you’ve got to make quick, but intelligent choices on how to break up the work while under fatigue. Missed reps can also force you to change up your game plan on the fly. You now have to decide whether to push through your set or hand it over to your teammate. You also get the chance to really push your peers, and that support can help people accomplish things they wouldn’t have attempted on their own. These are all good practices for improving your value in a team, anywhere in life.

Partner workouts also give you the opportunity to focus more on your movement mechanics. While the rest interval can be used to increase intensity in movements you’re confident with, they also give you time to focus more on technique while performing movements you’re not as confident with. Your partner may also be able to give you some small cues to think about while completing your set. Performing your sets in front of a partner also makes you more accountable to hitting the movement standards and reps, as they should be calling you out for shady lockouts. Don’t be a bro-repper.

With all of this in mind, hopefully, you can take full advantage of the next partner workout you participate in, happy training!

– Ben