Having a gym buddy can benefit both parties, as you will keep each other motivated (even when you don’t feel like training) by working out side-by-side and sharing your highs and lows. A great way of training is to challenge your gym partner to a little competition.
Even if your workout session is over and you feel like you’re running on empty, you can often find that little bit extra if some friendly competition is on the cards. A challenge is a good way to see how much strength you have in reserve.
Challenging your gym partner is good for you, in that it improves your motivation and stamina – it is also socially beneficial. Having a workout partner provides valuable social time while you enhance each other’s fitness level, as working out alone can seem like an isolated pastime.
The beauty of a challenge is that it doesn’t have to take place in the gym. You can set a challenge to complete on the way home, in your own home or even at work. Having the increased social contact and being able to encourage and motivate each other will make the whole session more enjoyable.
Doing challenges helps you to set yourself a target to beat for the next time, making you more determined to win and keeping the momentum going. There’s a wide variety of challenges you can set each other to benefit you both physically and mentally.
If you’re looking for a challenge you can do after your workout (when you’re not necessarily still in the gym) try the push-up challenge. One person begins by completing 10 push-ups. Then, the other person matches the 10 push-ups and adds as many extra ones as they can. The next person adds on a few more reps, and so it continues.
For the duration of the game, you must maintain the push-up position and your knees mustn’t touch the ground. The game continues and the winner is the person who completes all of the push-ups without collapse.
A similar game of endurance is the squat hold. Both of you must square off and get into a squat position, your hips and knees below 90 degrees of flexion. It’s important not to drop right down to your heels, however. The person who can maintain the squat for the longest time, without dropping backwards or standing up, is the winner.
A challenge you can try in the gym is the single-leg bench get-up. Sit next to your gym partner on a weight bench, with one leg elevated off the floor. On one leg, begin to stand up at the same time at a slow and steady pace. The last person to complete the get-up wins the challenge.
A game of endurance is the pull-up add-on, which begins with one person doing a pull-up on a high bar. The next person then completes a pull-up, but adds a second pull-up to it, or another hanging movement. You can combine clapping pull-ups, hanging leg raises, circular pull-ups or other movements to mix it up and keep it interesting.
Gradually, the game builds into a long series of movements. It ends when one of you is unable to complete the sequence.
Another challenge which requires endurance is the handstand hold. Each of you must kick up to a handstand against the wall and lock out your arms. Then, settle in to see who can stay up the longest to win the challenge.
A similar challenge is side-plankers. Each of you needs to hold a side-plank with your top arm and leg elevated for as long as possible. The person who manages the longest duration is the winner.
Challenging your gym partner is friendly competition that will make you work harder. When a challenge is on the cards, you may find you have hidden depths of strength that you didn’t think you could muster up.
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