- Matthew Cavalier
Should you train alone or train with a group? Surprisingly, this is a question that pops up quite a bit. There are some people who only like to train alone, and there are others who exclusively train in groups. Neither approach is wrong, but both have their positives and negatives. It is important to know what they are so that you can make the best decision for yourself.
I personally spend most of my training hours alone. For me, the alone time I spend in the gym is my own, especially early in the morning. I can train how I want to, I don’t have to worry about a rack or implement being unavailable and I can get inside my own head without having to have conversations with other people. Basically, it’s my “me” time. In my opinion, training alone means that I am solely responsible for my own progress. Either I do what is necessary to improve, or I fail. There are no in betweens. I am also allowed to train at my own pace, whether I want to increase the tempo, or take things a little more slowly. Training alone definitely has its benefits, especially for someone like myself who likes to run accessory work in a giant set format. I also do not have to accommodate others. Once I set the weight to what my program calls for, I do not have to constantly remove and replace weights for someone who is either stronger or not as strong as I am. This also saves time; I can get basically all of my work done within ninety minutes. Training alone does have its pitfalls, though. For instance, it is considerably more dangerous. The level of intensity must be taken into serious consideration. For exercises like the squat or bench press, failure is not an option. If no one is there to spot or bail me out, it is not advisable to attempt lifts in the 95% and higher ranges of intensity. If I was to fail a lift, I have to figure out a way to bail without injuring myself or damaging expensive equipment. Therefore, technique and form must always and will always be paramount. If for some reason an accident occurs and I am injured, I am basically on my own. Chances are, I will be in a bad way should something happen. Even though I train submaximally, I must use all safety measures. If I’m performing squats or bench press, I will have the guard rails in place in case I need to bail. The deadlift and overhead press are not so risky, since the weight will either fall to the floor or back into the front rack position, which I can easily manipulate. Training alone is probably best for those who have some experience in the gym. Despite the dangers that exist, I do think that everyone should be able to train alone. At the end of the day, you are responsible for yourself. There will be times that you won’t be able to train with friends for one reason or another. You should be capable of doing the work needed when necessary. Circumstances change and people are going to go where they are needed. You should have the discipline to keep working.
Training in a Group
Training with people who are like minded and have the same goals provides great benefits. Training partners can spot each other during high intensity exercises. They can also give real time feedback. It can be difficult to know how your lifts look unless you record them. Having some training partners around can give an immediate assessment of the lifts. Sometimes the weights feel like they’re moving slowly, but they’re moving just fine. Other times you might think that things are moving great, but it’s actually a bad set. Having extra eyes during training sessions can give that kind of feedback that can address the issue on the spot instead of having to review a video and fixing things later. Having training partners can also boost morale and confidence. Having a group of people cheer you on and keep you focused on the task at hand can keep you on track with your training. There’s a sense of comradery and it’s fun to push each other and watch each other succeed. Friendships are formed, and training partners learn that they can trust each other. They can hold each other accountable and share knowledge that members of the group may not know. Exchanging ideas and knowledge is how people can get better. Having training partners also makes the task at hand less daunting. Sometimes training sessions just suck. The weights are heavy, you’re feeling stiff or sore and you may not always want to train. Knowing that you have some buddies who are going to talk you through it and push you can be a significant relief. There are a few downsides training with a group, though. It can be time consuming, especially for large groups. Not everyone may be at the same strength level, and there may be a constant changing of weights. It can be very easy to distract each other from the task at hand because of too much talking or goofing off. It is very easy to turn a ninety minute session into a four hour session just because of good conversation. It can also be hard to agree to a consistent training time. We all have things going on in our lives, and our schedule can’t always line up. Even though it can be a little challenging to get a group together and train, I do recommend that everyone spend some time training with other people. It makes the whole process more fun, and you learn things that you may not have been able to on your own.
Even if you can’t train with other people all of the time, you should make an effort to do it at least sometimes. If you need a place to train with awesome people, you should check out the Atlas Strength Shop. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a visit. Be sure to like our Facebook page, here, and follow us on Instagram, here. We also have a TikTok page that you can follow, here. If you need some high quality energy supplements, check out veteran owned strikeforceenergy.com and use promo code ATLASSTRENGTH at checkout to get 20% off of your order. Come check us out and release the titan in you!
“If you’re capable of sending a legible text message between sets, you probably aren’t working hard enough.” - Dave Tate