6 Questions to Ask Before Picking a Training Partner

Having a good program is a must, but there’s a secret weapon out there that many people fail to employ. Know what it is?

The training partner.

Yes, having a good training partner can make all the difference in the world--like in Rocky IV when Apollo helped him get in shape to beat Mr. T’s ass.

In short, a quality training partner can take an average program and/or training session and make it great.

You have to be selective, however, when choosing a good training partner, so here are 6 questions to help you find a winner.

Do They Train

This should be pretty obvious, but your training partner should have serious training experience.  You don’t want someone who occasionally hits the weight room, or only works out when it’s convenient for them.

You need someone who has spent a considerable amount of time under the bar gaining hands on experience.  This is important for a multitude of reasons.  First, it gives them a frame of reference.  Second, they know how it feels to push it.  Third, spending time under the bar teaches you a lot about technique and how to cue people properly.

Do They Study

Anecdotal, or under the bar knowledge as I like to call it, is very important but they should also read.  You want a training partner who cares enough to read up on the latest and greatest in his or her spare time.

This way they’ll be able to help you come up with programs, make adjustments on the fly or give you useful tips to take your workout to the next level.

For example, my best training partner and I would routinely talk for hours on end about new things we’d read, and things we wanted to add or subtract from our programs.

If your training partner can’t give you a good response when you ask for some ways to get through your most recent deadlift plateau, it may be time to hit the free agency.

Will They Speak Up

Your training partner can have all the knowledge in the world, but if they are unwilling to speak up then they’re pretty much worthless.

They may need to tell you you’re being an idiot for trying to do another set at x weight, or that you’re being a coward today and need to pick it up, or that your form is off and you need to tighten up your core.

Either way, this person has to be willing to speak up.

Make sure this doesn’t go too far though because you don’t want someone who over cues/over coaches every little thing.  That’s not what you’re looking for either.

You want someone who will be quick, concise and to the point.  Also worth noting here, never pick a chit chatter.  When it’s time to train it’s time to train.

Can You Stand Them Critiquing You

Your training partner needs to be a person you can accept criticism from.  In short, when they call you out you have to be willing to accept it better than this guy:

Will They Show Up

This is pretty important.  You have to know this person will show up everyday willing to go hard.  Not only that, you have to know this person will tell you to get your ass out of bed when you don’t feel like going.

Will They Bring You Up

We all know there are certain people out there who enjoy bringing people down--they hear your goals and instantly start telling you why you won’t achieve them, or what’s wrong with them.

You don’t want to surround yourself with people like that.

Find someone who you know will be supportive because I can promise you there will be times when you'll need to lean on them a little.

Action Item

Now that you have a place to start, begin looking for a good training partner.  Take the questions I’ve provided here, or come up with some of your own, and begin writing out possible candidates on a sheet of paper.  Then slowly go through the list, ranking them based on how they stand up against your criteria.