How To Be a Good Training Partner

Do you work out with a partner? You should consider it: some studies of athletes who trained with partners found that they would put in nearly double the effort when paired up than they would working alone– a result of what’s known in psychology as the Köhler Effect. Basically, most people want to avoid being seen as the weak link in a group. When pushed or observed by others, they will perform better (or at least put in more effort).

training partner
Yeah bro!

So it pays to have a training partner. It also pays to be a training partner. But you don’t simply become a good training partner overnight. Over the years I’ve been very lucky in the people I train with, so here are some of my best tips for being a good training partner:

How to be a good training partner:

Remember that you’re not your partner’s coach; you’re sharing your opinions when you give criticism. They have their training session set out for them (hopefully), so you’re just largely there to keep them going and help reinforce any teaching points.

Know what your friend is focusing on for the session. This way instead of just yelling “YOU’RE A GODDAMN BEAST!” during every set, you can actually give constructive cues.

sack of potatoes.JPG
Like telling them to be less of a potato or sack of carrots.

Remember that focus is infectious. Together you set the tone for your sessions. Keep it positive but focused.


Share your goals and keep each other accountable to them. Whether it’s the next open competition or qualifying for a world championship, sharing your goals and giving regular progress updates makes you more likely to achieve them.

Be honest when giving feedback. If you have a buddy who’s dreaming big, but isn’t putting in the work needed to fulfill those dreams, tell them that you’re concerned and offer support.

Be a Nag. Don’t let your buddy talk themselves out of the session they have programmed. Unless she drops the bar on her head and is obviously concussed. *looks at Rose*

Bring the Tunes: Develop a partner workout playlist together– even if your tastes are chalk and cheese. (Who doesn’t enjoy a clash between metal and K-pop?) Also be aware of your partner’s current power tune– it’s nice to put it on just as they are psyching themselves up for a big set or PB and watch the fire enter their soul.

This week’s go-to tune

Crouching Partner, Hidden Camera: Being a secret camera man/woman is an asset for any athlete. Never under estimate the benefits of visual feedback, especially when you are not a coach yourself.


Go forth and dominate together. You know how they say “a burden shared is a burden halved?” Well, a training session shared is a training session smashed out the fucking park.

What are your favourite dos and don’ts for training as a partner?


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