Choosing the Right Training Partner

Finding a compatible partner for a team workout may be one of the most important relationships you forge.
By Jamie Toland, CF-L1 ,

Now that it’s legal for all Americans to pick whichever partner they would like to spend the rest of their lives with, there are some important partner-based decisions to be made.

For example, selecting the best person to do a partner WOD with. (What? Did you think this was going to be about marriage rights?)

Aside from your spouse, picking the right partner for a partner or team workout might be the single most important decision in your relationship life.

And it’s not as easy at it seems.

For some people, it can be like dating or at least a bad middle-school dance. You show up with no partner in mind and no plan on who you are going to ask, so you fumble around the box and aimlessly ask this person or that person and hold your breath as you wait nervously for the “yes” or “no” to your proposal. (You might as well write it on a note and have them circle the response if you are using this method.)

Most of us will make one HUGE mistake if we don’t have a partner planned going into our WOD: picking someone out of your league. The same problem people have when selecting a date or partner in a romantic setting applies in the gym. You make things harder on yourself when you pick someone outside your level. If you walk up to Johnny CrossFit who has every PR on the board and consistently crushes every Rx workout, guess what, he’s going to want to train at that level during the partner WOD, too.

Are you at that level? Nope, you’re just a grinder there on a Saturday to get a fourth workout in for the week. Trust me, I have made this mistake. The initial thought is, Dude, this guy is a beast! We are going to kick all the ass today.

You’re half right, he is. You’re going to spend 20 minutes with your hands on your knees, sucking wind, trying not to puke and panting out, “Hold … on … one … second,” while you try to keep up with Johnny CrossFit.

Sometimes you might end up with someone who is not very good at CrossFit or, through no fault of his or her own, is really new to the movements or training. If you’re patient, it’s not the end of the world if you are doing a WOD with this kind of partner. A good CrossFit box is a place to learn and experience all kinds of levels and abilities, and being matched up with someone who might not be at yours is a good chance to show someone how it’s done (or at least how you do it).

I love partner WODs. My main man Doug and I are NEVER the one’s who finish first, but we always try to finish. A lot can be learned from CrossFit training, and partner workouts are no exception. If you haven’t had a chance to do a lot of partner or team workouts, schedule some, program some or find some competitions that let you have a shot at them. You just might find yourself a new life partner in the process.

What’s your partner WOD experience? How do you like to match up to tackle these types of WODs?

Stay on the Grind.

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