People vary greatly in their view of gym-time.
For some, it's a social experience meant to be shared with just about everyone with whom it could possibly be shared. Others, though, take a much more solitary approach – isolating themselves as much as possible.
As it turns it out, though, the extroverts out there might have an advantage here. According to an ever-growing body of research, there are lots of benefits to working out with a partner.
Here are just a few reasons why you should have a workout buddy.
Peer pressure, although generally seen as a negative, could be a good thing. Especially when workouts are involved.
When you have a workout buddy, and the two of you have agreed on a program and a schedule, you don't want to disappoint that person. So, you're more likely to stick to that plan.
Plus – as we'll talk about in greater detail later – your workout buddy can help to motivate (read: push) you to work out even when you may not feel like it.
Along with their ability to help get you to the gym mentioned above, your workout buddy may also be able to help you through the actual activity.
It's not unusual for athletes to use self-talk to psych themselves up. A workout buddy can do the same for you. Minus the odd looks from passersby.
3) Improved Form and Safety
When exercising alone, form checks can be a daunting task. A workout buddy, though, can keep an eye on your form and give you any feedback needed.
At the same time, your workout buddy can act as a spotter, giving you assistance on some of the bigger lifts. While this might seem like cheating... it's not.
In fact, have a spotter offer that help can allow you to successfully lift your maximum weight. This, in turn, will make it easier for you to make faster progress on your lifts.
4) Improved Performance
Sure, the increased motivation and improved form that you can expect when you start training with a workout buddy can definitely translate to improve performance. Absolutely.
But, interestingly, studies have found a more direct connection as well. A 2012 study from the University of Michigan, for example, divided 58 female cyclists into three groups.
One group exercised with a virtual partner, via videoconference.
Another group had virtual partners as well, except they were told that their partner's performance would depend on their own and that their partners had performed just a little bit better in the initial time trials.
What the researchers didn't say was that the second group's workout partners were fake; they were just prerecorded video loops.
The last group, the control, cycled by themselves.
Not really all that surprisingly, the partner groups both totally outdid the control. What is a little of a shock, though, is that the group with the fake partners went two minutes longer than the other video group and a full 10 minutes longer than the control.
Exercising with a partner who was just slightly more fit, then, provided a major performance enhancement.