18 Pros, Cons, and Tips for Working Out With a Partner

Exercising with a partner can be a great way to stay motivated and accountable! From having someone to cheer you on during those last few reps to pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone – there is so much potential when working out with a partner. But it's not without its downsides.  

In this article, we explore the pros and cons of taking on fitness as a team sport and provide insight into some critical factors for improving health and performance gains when sharing gym time with someone else. So strap in – let's get ready for some sweat-filled insights! 

The Benefits of Working Out With a Partner 

Working out with a partner has many benefits beyond the help of having someone assist you with technique and spotting for specific exercises. The Köhler effect suggests working in groups can increase motivation when working on challenging tasks that require little coordination of our efforts.

1. You Can Challenge Each Other  

Having a workout partner can be vital to helping you achieve your most ambitious health goals. This isn’t just theoretical either.  

A study published in Nature Communications found that exercise is “socially contagious.” In other words, the more people you know who exercise, the more likely you are to exercise. Whether it's moral support or friendly competition, having someone in the gym with you is like turbo-boosting your progress! 

2. You Can Make It Entertaining 

If getting fit feels like a chore, spice up the process with friendly competition! Working out can be more fun when you have someone to help motivate and challenge you. To take it to the next level, you could even utilize a competition app.  

Several mobile apps for iPhone and Android include competitive features such as leaderboards that you can use to challenge your friend. Check out the Nike Run Club. Find an active partner who loves games - that way, exercise won't feel like hard work anymore. 

3. You Can Learn From Each Other 

Maximize the potential of your workouts by teaming up with an experienced partner. Many people believe they don’t know enough about working out to successfully reach their goals. In fact, research shows that a lack of confidence is one of the biggest reasons people avoid going to the gym.  

Working with someone else who has more experience can be a great way to learn new exercises and gain the confidence you need. Plus, you can help them with accountability and share your knowledge. It’s a win-win! 

pushups with a partner

4. You Can Hold Each Other Accountable 

Working out alone can be difficult, but having a partner in crime makes it easier to stay on track, like having a personal trainer. Furthermore, a workout partner can also help you make sure that you are doing your exercise routine correctly and safely. Feel like skipping on those early stretches?  

Your friend won’t let you get away with it. Their encouragement and accountability give you the push needed for success - make your fitness dreams come true with somebody by your side! 

5. You're More Likely to Stick With Your Exercise Routine 

Working out can be a challenge, but with the help of an exercise buddy, reaching those fitness goals may become much easier! You might feel like skipping a day, but aren’t you less likely to do that with your friend already waiting for you at the gym?  

Having someone to hold you accountable and motivate your progress will make it more likely that you'll stick with your routine for good. 

6. Get Better Results 

When done correctly, working out with a partner can also help you achieve better results than working out alone. This is because you can push each other to new levels and help each other form better exercise habits.  

One of the hardest things about achieving real results and hitting your goals is the patience that exercise requires. According to the CDC, working out with a friend can help you be more motivated, adventurous, and consistent. Additionally, having someone there to spot you during weightlifting exercises can help avoid injury. 

Related Content: How Often Should You REALLY Go to the Gym? 

7. Save Some Money

Working out with a friend isn't only great for building camaraderie but it’s also good for your wallet. Your current financial situation might be getting in between you and your goals. Even a highly affordable gym membership might be too steep a price to pay.

By splitting the cost with a friend, you can save your hard-earned cash, and stay focused on fitness. Skip the "gym-timidation" and split the costs of memberships, trainers, or training gear. That'll keep you and your bank account in fighting shape! 

using weights to do pushups

The Downsides of Working Out With a Partner 

A workout buddy can be the key to success, but challenges can come with any great opportunity.

1. You're Stuck With Them 

Working out with a friend is like hitting the gym in tandem - you're both on board for better or worse. It's an all-in commitment to feel the burn together, no matter how your buddy feels that day. Their performance can affect yours too!

2. They May Be a Distraction  

If your partner's idea of exercise is more chat than crunch, you might be better off going at it alone. Nothing will stand between you and those results like a gossip session with your workout partner!

3. You May Not Be on the Same Page

You and your partner might be on different planets when it comes to hitting the gym. You're strength training, and they are all about the cardio; finding the perfect mix could challenge both of you. If you’re friends outside of the gym, it should be easy to reconcile these differences. However, it might be better to find another partner if you aren’t able to support each other’s goals. 

4. You May Feel pressured to Keep Up 

When your partner has a head start in their fitness journey, it's easy to fall into the trap of keeping up at any cost. However, pushing yourself too far can have dangerous ramifications - don't strain and injure yourself while striving for better health! 

5. They May not Take Your Workout Seriously 

Having a workout buddy should be motivational and fun, not frustrating. So, if your partner is more circus clown than a gym rat, it can make reaching those fitness goals all the harder! Be careful to choose your partner carefully or their lack of motivation could make it harder for you to stay on track.  

6. Commitment Issues That Slow You Down 

Even if you're the most committed person in the world to your physical activity, your partner might not be. This can lead to frustration on your part, as well as a lot of wasted time waiting around for them to show up or get ready.

working out with a medicine ball


7. You Might Not Be Compatible 

Just because you get along swimmingly outside the gym doesn't mean you'll make good workout partners. Finding someone who shares your fitness goals and is compatible with your workout style is essential. Otherwise, you might get more frustrated than motivated. 

Tips For Working Out With a Partner 

Working out gets even better when you get a plus one! Here are some hot tips to ensure that the two of you make each session count.

1. Find a compatible workout partner 

Like in a romantic relationship, you want to ensure you and your workout partner are compatible. Do you have similar fitness goals? Do you like the same type of workouts? Do you have the same schedule? Finding a compatible partner will make working out together much more enjoyable. 

2. Set some ground rules 

Before you start working out with your partner, setting some ground rules is essential. Will you be working out every day? How long will your workouts be? What type of workouts will you be doing? Having a plan will help keep you both accountable and on track.

Without a good plan, it will be more challenging to reach your goals and may result in disagreements when your friend is waiting for you at the gym on a day when you’re at the beach. 

3. Take turns leading the workout

One of the benefits of working out with a partner is that you can take turns leading the workout. This can help keep things fresh and prevent you from getting bored. Plus, it's a great way to try new things. Maybe you enjoy the treadmill but your partner wants to swim. If you alternate leading the workout, you'll both be happy.  

4. Encourage each other

Working out with a partner can be a great motivator, but that requires you to motivate. When you're tired or can't do one more rep, your partner can help encourage you and push you to keep going. Just make sure that you return the favor when they need it! 

two people working out together

5. Be respectful of each other's space

When you're working out with someone, it's essential to be respectful of their personal space. Don't get too close, touch them without permission, or invade their bubble in any way. Even the most cuddly people in the world can become annoyed if touched during their workout. If you are uncomfortable, the whole experience will be less enjoyable. 

6. Cool down and stretch together 

After your workout, take some time to cool down and stretch together. This is a great way to bond with your partner and wind down after an intense workout session. Plus, it can help to prevent injuries. 

7. Have fun! 

Working out with a partner should be fun! Take a break or try something new if it feels like a chore. Most importantly, you are enjoying yourselves and getting in a good workout. 

Final Thoughts on Working Out With a Partner 

Partner workouts can be tricky. We all know that. But, if you can find the right workout buddy with similar goals and motivation levels as yourself, you may be on track for success. Everyone can benefit from a fitness partner – if only to help keep your training intensity level up! The key is not trying to outdo each other but working together to achieve the same goal. 

So, whether it's joining each other occasionally or looking into a partner program, why not jump in and give bodybuilding duos a go? Simply put – they might be your ticket to success. If you're in the Chicago area, join one of the Chicago Athletic Clubs to get started with your partner fitness journey today!