Almost everybody has, or should have, a lifting partner. If you are still lifting weights alone, it is time you considered finding yourself a friend to help you make your experience at the gym a breeze. Lifting becomes more comfortable with a gym friend, iron brother or iron sister, swolemate, or metal comprade, whichever term you use at your sport to refer to a lifting partner. However, finding yourself a lifting partner is not as easy as you think. It is not anyone you meet at the gym who can make the right workout partner. It goes beyond physical compatibility, and there has to be some chemistry between the two of you. But how will you know that you’ve found the perfect lifting partner?
Well, the following are clues you may have found the ultimate lifting partner
The perfect gym partner likes most of the things you want. That includes specific exercises and particular kinds of weights. If you find out that you and your new partner do many incline presses than decline presses, you found him/her! The same applies to the number of deadlift sets and preps, and the right partner will go just as far as you can go with deadlifts. If you feel sort of overworked or underworked after a lifting round with your new partner, the chances are that they may not be the right partner for you.
Bond Outside the Gym
The relationship with your partner must not be confined to the gym. The perfect lifting partner will maintain contact with you outside the workout spot. More often, the two of you would be seen grabbing a meal together or just strolling around town. Real lifting partners will often text, joking about weights, meals, and many other things not necessarily associated with the gym.
A lifting partner where you live, they know some of your family members. They will come to check on you when you don’t respond to your phone. Your partner knows a couple of your friends as well. Once in a while, your families share a meal or a drink at a high-end restaurant. Similarly, they are your first comforters when you’re faced with sad moments like grief. That is the right lifting partner for you.
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You Have Similar Goals
The truth of the matter is; it is easier to work with someone who is trying to achieve the same thing as you or similar. The ideal lifting partner shares your aspirations in terms of what they want to accomplish in the short-term and long-term. If you are working for a lean muscle, find yourself someone who shares that dream with you. Similarly, the perfect gym partner should aim for the same career goal as you. There is no point in training with someone whose primary goal is to win a local title while you are aiming for a significant IFFB title.
Similar Bodybuilding Thoughts and Philosophies
What does your lifting partner think about bodybuilding in general? Are they doing it for fun, or are they doing it to achieve short-term goals? Your partner’s thoughts about the exercises you do will tell you whether you have found the right lifting partner or not. If they are mostly pessimistic about certain things, you should consider finding yourself another partner. Reason? They will derail you and prevent you from achieving your bodybuilding goals.
They Are Your Solid Rock
A good match will be your biggest motivation in every bodybuilding aspect. Does your partner push you to achieve your set goals? Even when your will to go on is at its lowest? If yes, then you have just found yourself an ideal partner. The wrong partner would probably discourage you from doing certain things or doesn’t push you. Also, they should be by your side when facing a bodybuilding contest at any level. They should be among the first people to comfort you when you don’t perform as expected in a particular competition.
Most importantly, a lifting partner doesn’t see you as a rival, but a comrade. That means sharing your successes and defeats in equal measure. That is the person you ought to keep as a lifting partner.
Tries to Fix Your Flaws
You don’t have to tell your lifting partner things about you. They should know you inside out as far as bodybuilding is concerned. That includes your strengths and weaknesses. The most significant role in their life is to help you become a better version of yourself. Your lifting partner should help you overcome bodybuilding challenges such as successfully performing strenuous exercises. Most importantly, they should be completely honest with you. If you were losing focus and headed in the wrong direction, they should be able to point it out.
Now that you know what your ideal lifting partner should or should not do let us see legendary lifting partners bodybuilding partners should emulate. You don’t have to copy everything they did, but let it serve as a guide to help grow your bodybuilding career.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu
Arnold Schwarzenegger is undoubtedly one of the best bodybuilders in history. His rigorous acting career meant he had to do a lot of weightlifting to take on giant monsters in his fictional world. However, without a supportive lifting partner, he could not have been as successful. Arnold was struck by the tragic death of his long-time friend and lifting partner, Franco Columbu. The two first met in Germany in the 60s. Their friendship would move to the gym where they broke and set new records in weightlifting. The duo would do as much as bench press 500 lbs. each and top it up with squats 545lbs. Additionally, the lifting partners made deadlift 710 lbs. look like a piece of cake.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was not your ordinary movie star. Most of the things Arnold did in his action moves he could do in real life thanks to his prowess in weightlifting. Together with Columbu, they would do some weight lifting an average person would consider impossible. For instance, they used 100-pound dumbbells for eight preps. And not only that, they did it for flat bench flyes. Additionally, the partners would barbell row 315 for ten without a sweat
Mike Tyson and Zab Judah
Modern boxers such as the likes of Mike Tyson lift weights like regular bodybuilders. Most of them also use performance enhancement drugs and steroids. There is a thin line between bodybuilding and boxing. Although the two are separate careers, they have a common factor, which is the gym. Before hitting the ring, Tyson spent hundreds at the gym working out and lifting weights like every other bodybuilder. Zab Judah is not just a normal weight lifting partner, but he is also a reputable boxing champion and is considered the best welterweight boxer.
However, if you were to face either of them in a training session, your life would flash before your eyes. The speed, furiousness, aggressiveness, and intensity of their training is out of this world. If you walked into the gym and didn’t know them well, which is quite unlikely, you can’t say one of them is the trainer. Zab Judah stated that Tyson worked as much in training as he works in the ring. That is perhaps the reason the legendary boxer has seen more successes in the ring than any other fighter in history.
Typical exercise for Tyson and Zab involve 2000 squats, 66-pound barbell that is accompanied by 500 shrugs. They also do a lot of neck exercises using various weights. Their partnership in weightlifting has seen them become the undisputed boxers in their respective fields.
Flex Wheeler and Ronnie Coleman
Most people only know Kenneth ‘Flex’ Wheeler and Ronnie Coleman as rivals. What many people don’t know is that the two trained together as well. Their connection goes beyond the ring to other aspects of bodybuilding.
For instance, Ronnie once stated that it is Flex who introduced him to steroid use. But that is not the juice here. The two bodybuilding icons did a lot together to achieve mutual dreams, except when they were competing against each other, of course. Flex Wheeler has won 4 Arnold Classics and many other titles. Ronnie Coleman, on the other hand, commonly referred to as the real-life ‘Hulk’ won Mr. Olympia eight years in a row. The combined achievement of the two bodybuilders is a feat many bodybuilders can only dream of.
The two bodybuilders are known to have intense back, shoulder, and chest workouts. The workouts included barbell deadlift, T-bar row, assisted and non-assisted pull-up machine, inclined barbell raise, seated calf raise, among others.
Dexter Jackson and Kai Greene
Dexter Jackson and Kai Greene had a unique training style that involved body part split. The overall objective was to develop maximum muscular mass hypertrophy. The exercises typically involved 3 to 4 sets. Additionally, each training had approximately six activities. If you are still wondering why you need a lifting partner, try digging deeper into the kinds of exercises these two did together. The discipline and commitment to do these exercises successfully comes with a collaboration of two like-minded bodybuilders.
Their vigorous exercises saw both of them succeed in their respective fields, sometimes in the same competition, beyond expectation. Dexter is an Olympia bodybuilding champion as well as a 2015 Arnold Classic winner. Kai Greene may not be fortunate, having come second in the Mr Olympia competition three consecutive times in 2012, 2013, and 2014. However, his bodybuilding has contributed to his successes in other areas such as acting, as a trainer, and artist.
Frank Zane and Dave Draper
The duo is lucky to train alongside Arnold and Columbu. Zane and Draper may not have achieved much in their bodybuilding career, but they are among the best lifting partners. Their training followed a weekly routine with each exercise meant to achieve a particular goal.
On Mondays, Zane and his partner would do quadriceps and calves. They would do forearms and Abs in the evening of the same day. Every other day of the week had two sets of exercises, one in the morning and the other in the evening. On Thursdays, for instance, they would do back exercises in the morning then shoulders, forearms, biceps, and abs in the evening. Their training involved three days of rest every week.
Frank Zane is a 2-time Mr. Olympia winner while Dave Draper is considered a legend from the golden era. The latter won Mr. New Jersey when he was only 21 years of age.
Bodybuilding is a sport of pride, but one can achieve a lot more if they have a lifting partner to help them gain some lifting milestones. The best bodybuilders in history have had a lifting partner at some point in their fitness careers. A lifting partner does not necessarily make the weights lighter but will motivate you to lift even heavier weights. Like it was highlighted earlier in this article, the perfect lifting partner will push your fitness limits and inspires you to bring out the best in you.
If you have never thought about getting yourself a lifting partner, it is about time you found one. A lifting partner doesn’t have to be a fellow bodybuilder, but it would be better if they are one. Finding a lifting partner could be as easy as approaching anyone at your gym. It will take you a couple of days to know whether they make a perfect partner or not. If not, feel free to move to the next person.
All in all, find yourself a lifting partner who is disciplined enough to help you realize your bodybuilding dreams. Bodybuilding comes with many freedoms. Consequently, many people do not make it to the top because of a lack of discipline. Additionally, you may have heard of prolific bodybuilders who came down crashing after finding themselves a bad company.
In conclusion, a lifting partner is like your third eye. They see what you don’t see, and they know what works for you and what does not. Listen to what they have to say, you don’t have to agree with everything they suggest, but consider their opinion when making critical bodybuilding decisions.