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Should You Train With a Workout Partner or Train Alone?

Is that workout buddy with you REALLY going to have a positive impact?

Fit couple doing partner workout and training together

Workout partners are a great thing to have for most people.

There are lots of pros and advantages that come with training with a workout partner, all of which help to create a better workout experience both in and out of the gym.

However, it's important for you to realize that not all workout partners are going to have a good influence on you.

And depending on your circumstances, sometimes you'd be much better off just training alone.

However it can often be hard to decide whether or not you should train with a partner, as it is a pretty big decision that you'll make in terms of your training at the gym.

In this post I'm going to be breaking down the advantages and disadvantages that come with a training partner, and helping you decide whether or not you really need to be working out with another person.

So let's get started!

What Are the Benefits of a Training Partner?

Like I said earlier there are countless benefits that come with training with another person.

I'll briefly break each one down.

Training Partners Can Motivate You

A lot of the time, having a training partner with you can increase your motivation and increase your willingness to push harder during your working sets or periods.

Whether you're lifting weights, doing a sprint interval workout or rowing on the machines next to each other, having a training partner with you is often going to cause you to want to push and train harder.

Whether this is due to friendly competition or simply feeling happier, more motivated and more energetic is completely individual.

For example, I used to row all the time in high school both on water and on the machines in my gym.

Often I would get my other friend who was also a rower to hop on the machine next to me, and we'd have a bit of a friendly competition during our workout.

Looking back on it now, it definitely helped push me to row that much harder, and really had a good influence on the effectiveness of my workouts.

Training With a Partner Is Often Safer

Fit and muscular man doing barbell bench press with workout partner as his spotter behind him

This one mainly applies to weight training in the gym.

When you train with somebody else, you're getting access to another pair of hand to help you out if something goes wrong.

For example, training with a partner during exercises such as the barbell bench press is extremely useful and is almost always a good idea.

Having that spotter with you can really give you the confidence you need to push for those extra couple of reps at the end of your set, knowing that you'll (hopefully!) be safe if you do fail those reps.

The same goes for exercises such as the barbell back squat or the dumbbell shoulder press.

And if you've got this increased confidence to push harder during your sets, you're undoubtedly going to see more progress and results from your hard work in the gym!


If you train with a partner, you'll also have an extra pair of eyes watching you to spot any mistakes you're making, and look for any potential improvements that you could make to your workouts.

For example if your form is a little off one day and you haven't noticed it yourself, it might pay to have a partner with you to point it out and help you fix it.

Or if you've been stopping too early on during your working sets and periods, it might pay to have a partner with you to keep yourself accountable and knowing that you need to be training harder.

Working Out With a Partner is Also Social Time

Working out with a partner also counts as social time, and spending your time around other people to form better connections.

Whether you go out and meet new people. or strengthen your existing relationships with your current workout partners, you're going to benefit socially from working out with a partner.

It's highly likely that you and your workout partner(s) will be chatting to each other during the session, which can really help improve your social life and have you feeling like you're able to connect with other people.

Now that you know the upsides of having a training partner, it's also important for you to learn about the downsides and potential drawbacks that could come with one.

Potential Disadvantages of a Workout Partner

Having a training partner with you isn't always the better option, and you need to carefully think about what you're doing before making a decision.

Workouts Can Become Less Intense and Serious

Depending on the nature of your relationship with your training partner, the intensity and effectiveness of your workouts can either be positively or negatively impacted.

On one side you'll have a training partner that motivates you to push harder and to take your workout more seriously, and on the other side you might have a partner that prefers to chat and laugh instead of actually working out.

Two women train together as workout partners

If the second scenario seems to apply to you, you need to realize that something like this is going to cost you a lot of gains and progress in the long run.

If this is the case, you might be better off finding another training partner or working out alone.

You need to do what's best for you, not what you think will keep others happy.

Hindered Rest Periods

I said above that a bad workout partner can cause you to become distracted, and potentially take longer rest periods than you really need to.

You might end up being in the gym for hours and hours at a time, with very little intensity in your workout.

However, there's also a pretty good chance that you'll end up going into sets without having taken enough rest if you train with a workout partner.

If you start your set just because your workout partner finished his or hers, then this is going to be a problem.

You're likely resting no more than a minute in between sets, which is going to have a big impact on your ability to train hard and stimulate growth.

You need to be sure that you're getting adequate rest between your sets.

If this means taking a break in between alternating with your workout partner, then so be it.

Different Abilities Between You and Your Workout Partner

One of the most frustrating things that comes with workout partners has to be constantly having to change weights and stopping/slowing down to allow your partner to catch up.

On exercises such as the barbell deadlift or squat where individual capabilities tend to range very far from each other, this can be extremely time consuming.

Often times simply changing the weights all the time can feel like a workout in itself, and seriously drain your energy.

Now one way to combat this is to find a workout partner that's about equally as strong and as fit as you.

However this isn't the easiest thing to do in the world, and often times you'll end up training with people that aren't on the same level of ability as you.

So Should You Train With a Workout Partner?

Well, this is up to you to decide. But don't worry, I'll help you as promised.

The main thing that it comes down to is personal preference.

If you prefer to train alone, then it makes sense to do it solo and for you to train by yourself. There's nothing wrong with that if that's the way you like to do it.

However there are also a few other things that you should bear in mind, as they will have an influence on whether or not a workout partner is actually a good thing for you to have in the gym.

You should look to train alone if the following apply to you:

  • you find that you get distracted easily

  • your workout partner would be a close friend that would easily distract you

  • your abilities are significantly different to that of your workout partner's

  • you enjoy more of a solo work environment

  • you simply prefer to train alone.

Otherwise, if you're still not sure which one you prefer you should take a look at the following and see if they apply to you:

  • you like to work in teams instead of doing things alone

  • you find that you're much more motivated with others around you

  • you hate asking random people for spots or help

  • your workout partner is or would be around the same fitness level as you

  • your workout partner takes things just as seriously as you do

  • you have the self discipline to keep focused, even when others could be distracting you

  • you simply prefer to train with a partner.

And if, after carefully considering all this you're still not sure whether you should be training alone or with a workout partner, then it might be a good idea for you to simply give both methods a try and see which one works best for you!


To wrap things up, both solo training and workout partners have their time and place in a training program.

Depending on the type of person you are and your own preferences, one of them is going to suit you better.

And it's up to you to find out which one that is!

I hope you've found value in this post, and were able to learn something from it! If you did don't forget to share it with your friends so that we can reach more people and help more achieve their goals in fitness!

Do you train with a workout partner?

Let us know in the comments section below!


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