Why Arnold Schwarzenegger Had Training Partners (Part 2)

Let’s continue our discussion on why Arnold Schwarzenegger had training partners, how he used them to become not only the most influential bodybuilder of all times but also an accomplished powerlifter with a 710lb Deadlift, and how you’ll be more successful by getting yourself a training partner.

One of the many benefits of training partners is that they’ll make you lift heavier weight, achieve more reps and train much harder than when you are lifting alone. There’s the obvious ongoing competition between you and him, but also the “I don’t want to appear as a sissy“-mindset if he’s stronger than you.

Yet where training partners truly become invaluable is when you’re having a bad day. And let’s be honest here – you will have bad days. You’re going to be sick, sore, tired, not motivated, even injured. That’s normal and inevitable.

11 year ago, my first trainingpartner and early mentor showed me that you might be tired or not in the mood to lift, the strength is always there. Skinny me weighing only 132lb with stubborn belly fat, stepping under that bar while feeling like crap, yet getting all my reps anyway because that’s what my mentor was yelling at me to do. It doesn’t take a lot of workouts to realize that it’s all in your head, but I needed a training partner to discover this secret.

One decade later, you’ll find me standing right behind my training partner when he’s Squatting. Counting his reps, giving cues, and yelling at him to get his reps whenever he starts struggling. And he’ll do the same when it’s my turn.

You can see Arnold’s Schwarzenegger doing all this in his documentary Pumping Iron (1977). His training partner Ed Corney is struggling to Squat 12 reps with 375lb, but gets them anyway thanks to Arnold’s famous yelling: “Come on, let’s get serious. 2 more, I want to see 2 more. No matter what.” Here’s the scene:

You can be sure Ed Corney would have Squatted less reps if he didn’t have the Terminator yelling at him to do 2 more. You can also be sure that when you’re having a bad day, you’re much more likely to get lazy if you don’t have a training partner motivating you with his yelling. The small stuff adds up over time.

Am I saying that you absolutely need a training partner to succeed? No, only that you would benefit from it. The fact is that you’re going to have a hard time finding a successful lifter who get there alone – Arnold had training partners. So does world record holder Andy Bolton (1003lb Deadlift) and British Columbia record holder StrongLifts Member Jake (600lb Squat/600lb Deadlift at age 18). Even I have a training partner in spite of being more of a loner-type.

If we all have training partners, then why not you?