Mar 6, 2013

The Best Way to Increase your Training Intensity

Daniel Guzman, BS, CSCS

What is the best way to increase your training? A well thought out nutrition plan, the perfect program design, a solid recovery regimen? While those are all great things, there is something even better that will take your training to the next level. 

The best way to increase your training is with a great training partner. I have had several solid training partners in the past. In college, one of those guys was Ben Gordon (an Arizonan native). Like myself, Ben has a hunger to always get after his training. We would meet at the field an hour early to do additional skill work, or meet in the gym before or after practice to get in a lift. We had a training romance that matched us up perfectly. Here are 3 things to look for in a great training partner:


The first thing you want in a solid training partner is a person who will show up consistently to train. Whether this is in the weight room or in your arena of competition, your training partner needs to be there. Rain or shine, just showing up is half the battle. 


Yes, it sounds kind of cheesy, but it really is true. Think about the athletes on your team or even the people you work with. Things happen when someone's attitude reflects their desire for improvement and when they enjoy putting in the hard work, even when no one is there to see it. First, attitudes are infectious to the others on the team, especially when it is just you and your partner. Second, the greater the desire, the harder you will train. Ben and I saw tremendous growth transfer to our practices from our skill work and strength training sessions. Not only did we notice, but our coaches and teammates noticed as well. More than anything, your desire to become a better "_______" for your team or your organization will gain the respect of others, causing them to want to work with you. 


Finally, you want a training partner who has a similar sense of direction. It is challenging to have a training partner with a different end goal, or even worse, no end goal at all. Showing up and getting in shape is fine, but it is the mutual understanding and accountability that creates a great training partnership. In college, I knew I wanted to become a better soccer player. I wanted to work on my skills and train in the weight room: the most beneficial way to hit those goals. Ben shared the same goals and we had an understanding.

(Myself on left, Ben on the right with the ball)


I spent a ton of quality time on my favorite field in the world (Peg Lovik at Westmont) and I had a passion to improve in the areas of my game that needed work. My training was always better when Ben and I were working together an hour before or after practice. Without a doubt. Find a solid partner to train with. 

The truth is, sometimes one of us would show up tired from classes, and the other one was right there to raise the intensity and hold the other accountable to our end goal. Or maybe one or both of us needed a push to get to the training room for some recovery. And the days when we were both fired up ready to go, it was simply a beautiful sight to see. 

I have had many other solid training partners throughout different times of my life (Nick Hale, Shane Vereen, Chris Ecklund, Frankie Larez) and my training intensity was always higher. 

Do you have a training partner? If so, do they have these 3 fundamental values? Share your stories of the times your training was higher or more intense because of a solid partner. What are some things you look for in a training partner?

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