Chad Smith: How to train with a friend

April 05, 2010

In last week's column, I shared a few stratagies for getting into great summer shape during the spring. One of these was developing a little friendly fitness competiton with a friend.

Training with a friend can be a fun and motivating experience that can push you to your goal faster than constantly trying to do it on your own.

Some of my best workouts were when I had a steady training partner. I actually prefer to "partner up" as it keeps me consistent, and consistency is the key to progression.

Here are some tips to make the most of your training partnership:

Seek balance, Grasshopper

When you are looking for a friend to train with, make sure you think of someone that is of similar size and strength as you. There shouldn't be a big disparity between the level of ability and conditioning.


It can be a little frustrating to train with an uberathlete if you haven't trained in years. Plus it can be tempting to try to train up to their level, which could lead to injury. On the flip side, it can be equally frustrating to train with someone you always have to slow down for. Find that friend that you can progress at about the same pace with.

Let's bump schedules

When you have that training partner list narrowed down, make sure that whomever you have in mind can work with you to create a regular training schedule, and can commit to being there as scheduled barring unforseen circumstances.

Having someone who constantly misses workouts, or is chronically late for workouts, can be a real buzzkill, and make workouts feel rushed if you are tight on time. If you have a training partner who constantly misses or is late for workouts, let them know that if it keeps happening, they can expext less of a spot on their heaviest lifts.

Just kidding, but in all seriousness, you have to have a reliable training partner for the thing to work as good as you need it to.

Let's get busy

When you have that perfect training partner, and you have your schedule together, get to work. Spend the time in training tearing into the workout, pushing each forward to knock down every goal you want to achieve.

Don't spend your time talking too much or hanging out. It's funny how many times I'll get to the gym not feeling motivated to train with full sails until I get the first few minutes in with whoever I'm working out with, and it's full speed ahead. That's the power of team training.

So the take-home is this: Training with a friend can be a powerful and motivating thing if done properly. It can also be a nightmare if you don't do it the right way.

Head over to our blog,, to see some great partner exercises that will energize your training, and give you a chance to show off your skills to your training partner.

Chad Smith is co-owner of Home Team Fitness. Visit his Web site

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