Fitness: The importance of a workout buddy

Boyz Personal Trainer: Guys that train together, stay together

Personal trainer Stephen White is the man behind SWFitness. This month he explains the benefits of training with a partner.

Now that you’re hopefully feeling all loved-up after Valentine’s, I thought I’d give you my perspective on taking your guy down the gym and how it can take your love life to a whole new level.

In my opinion, working out with your better half is one of the best ways to get to know your guy. Yes, you get to show off your bodies to each other, but you also get to see what really makes them tick.

If you both enjoy getting fit and healthy then training with your partner – or a date – is a great way to bond and relax. Over time, training with someone, supporting and motivating them, really helps to bring two people together.

I know from personal experience that heading down the gym for a session can be a great way to impress your new man – and it can make you push harder than ever before. Of course there are the fitness benefits, but you also release endorphins, which can make post-gym activities even more fun.

Here are some training tips you can do with your other half.


Spotting is the term we use when assisting your training partner. It helps the guy lifting to lift heavier and harder safe in the knowledge that you are there to save their arse if anything goes wrong. Below are a few pointers about how to spot on certain lifts. Make sure that you don’t actually lift the weight for them; it completely defeats the object. Communication is the key with spotting as telepathy usually doesn’t work.

Bench Press Probably the best exercise for a spot. Start by helping your fella lift the bar off the rack. Once in position, allow them to press a few times until they start to fatigue, then place you fingers under the bar as shown in the picture above. As they lift, gently give a bit of assistance so their chest can fully contract. Stay with them for the next few reps until the set is complete. Make sure you help them re-rack the bar as their chest muscles will be buggered.

Squat Rather than try and describe this one we thought it would be easier just to take a picture which you can see above. Be very careful when spotting on a squat; if you do it wrong or knock into your partner it can break their concentration and they could drop the bar or hurt themselves. Never touch the bar; always put your forearms under their pits to guide.

Skull Crushers A lovely little triceps exercise, but as the name indicates it can be risky and you could end up with a wallop on the noggin. When spotting this one, always pass the bar to your fella and make sure they have the bar securely in their hands before you let go. To spot, simply be there to give assistance when they fatigue. Once the set is complete, take the bar
off them.

Forced Reps

This is a training style we use when we want to push the muscle to its limits in order to totally exhaust a particular body part. Forced reps are more beneficial to micro tear the muscles fibres apart so you burn to the max. Remember, the more you burn, in combination with an intake of protein, the more you grow.

Your partner can help push you to your limits by assisting you with the lift once you’re almost completely spent at the end of a set.

Take the picture of me and my lovely colleague Paul, for instance: he is simply helping the bar up slowly so I can curl a few more reps. It hurts like an absolute bar-steward but it’s incredibly effective.


High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is perfect for couples, thrupples or more; not only does it help motivate each other but also makes better use of time. Usually HIIT is a few different exercises that make up a circuit, so while your partner does one exercise you can be doing another.

HIIT training is hardcore and has very short rest periods, so having a buddy makes it a lot more fun (…ish). Even if you’re totally battered and starting to struggle, having your other half drive you harder helps you achieve better results than if you’d trained on your own. Occasionally the use of weight comes in handy too, as demonstrated in the picture by the
lovely Paul.

SWFitness is a London-based group of personal trainers brought together by founder Stephen White and is predominantly based at Jubilee Hall Gym in Covent Garden, WC2E 8BE

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