I'd like to take this opportunity to draw attention to a special group of people training partners. I know many bodybuilders who have chosen not to work with partners. They say things like, "I want to do what works for me without having to think of someone else," or, I like to
train whenever I want; my life is too crazy to make a schedule with another person." These excuses indicate that those folks just haven't found the right partners. There are many reasons to train with a partner. Safety is a big one. Have you every tried to squat or bench-press
a weight that you thought you could handle and, in fact, couldn't? A partner can save you from serious injury. If you're safety conscious, the lack of a spotter can keep you from trying an additional rep or two, which can retard your progress.
This brings up another problem. Have you ever received a spot from someone who failed to do it correctly because he or she wasn't familiar with your needs? Then there's the emotional support a workout partner can give you. Back when I was in high school, I joined the track team, on weekends and holidays during the track season I was lucky enough to train with one of the best runners on the team.
I can remember mornings when, even though my bed was warm and there was snow on the ground outside, I got moving because I knew Paul would be waiting for me. On days when the chips were down, we put out extra effort because of the support we had from each other. This type of team spirit proved beneficial off the track as well, when I studied for exams and later during my years as a powerlifter in the Army. Now it's even more important. My present teammate, Jamie Callahan, is a former gymnast who's an aerobics instructor and fitness competitor. As far as I'm concerned, a partner can be male or female, as long the person is motivated, goal-oriented, consistent, considerate and willing to leave the ego at home.
Jamie and I began working out together eight months ago, and it's been a success. I've heard some people say that a woman's workout must be different from a man's, hut disagree. After training with women such as WNBF competitor Summer Strother and IFBB champion Tami Imbriale as well as Jamie, I can say that I haven't made any special adjustments. There's one common thread that seems to hold true for all women-their ability to endure pain, especially when training legs. A familiar battery commercial makes a good analogy-women keep going and going and going even when the intensity levels get higher and higher. This has helped motivate me.
Training partners are also invaluable in the final phase of contest preparation. I can recall times as an inexperienced amateur when my partner had to take me for long drives. We'd talk and talk just to help me calm my nerves before a major event. After all, your partner was there during the training, so he or she knows exactly what you've been through and will know too how to support you.
If you never need assistance and are always on top of everything you do, maybe a training partner would be of no use. For the rest of us, let's continue to excel-and give unlimited respect to other halves of our teams as we continue to strive for ultimate greatness.