Advantages of training in a team, over training solo.
Spotters always on hand
You will always have someone to spot you / give you lift outs. Not a stranger either, someone who learns how to spot you in the way which you require.
You will always have people to keep you motivated. If you ever feel like skipping a session, you have an obligation to show up. Not only this , but nobody wants to be the guy dragging their heels and not showing enthusiasm. In a group, you are accountable for putting effort in, unlike when training solo people can get away with half arsing their session because it makes no difference to anyone else if they do.
When one person gets fired up for a lift it raises everyone else’s effort as well. Whilst the opposite is true if your training partners are not motivated, as a group there is always a common desire to get work done and a group working together will always get the best out of each other. As an individual training, when there is a loss of motivation, there is no-one to stop them from slacking off or going home early. Call it peer pressure, call it what you like, a group adds more incentive to perform at your best when working together.
You become accountable for your own progress (nowhere to hide)
You become accountable for making progress. All too often people who train by themselves can go off the boil when it comes to pushing to make progress. Sometimes people drift with their training, and when left to their own devices can make excuses and let weeks, months and sometimes even years go by without pushing for more progress. Typically this can happen after injuries, but sometimes just a bit of a plateau can cause the same thing. A group will encourage you to push past this, stick to the goal and they will help you find ways of getting back on track.
Form Analysis and Coaching
Yes you can film your sets and watch them back, but it’s notoriously hard to remain objective when watching your own lifts. I’ve seen lifters grind out an 8 second concentric phase on a squat and tag it with an ‘RPE 8’ on their instagram video. This is proof enough that people can’t always see the truth when analysing a video of their own lift. Also a fresh pair of eyes will spot things that you may have missed. With a team of lifters around you, you have multiple view points on your lift. Not only can they judge your squat depth, pause on the bench etc, but they will get to know you individually as a lifter and know what things to look out for. Your team will also be able to give you specific cues to help you. There is nothing worse than people who don’t know you as a lifter shouting generic cues like ‘chest up’, ‘back tight’ etc which could be directed at any lifter and are not specific at all. A lifting team will learn which cues are the ones which the lifter can understand and make use of. Essentially you have a group of coaches around you. Now some people will always be more use than others and be able to offer more constructive criticism than others, but when you have trained with people for a while you should learn things about the way they lift and how you can be of use to them with verbal cues.
Assistance with lifting equipment
This is more applicable for people who lift with any form of lifting equipment, but having people on hand to help wrap your knees on the squat, help with suits and bench shirts is invaluable. Equally having people to help set up equipment and do things like hold boards for the bench press etc. Can a lot of this stuff be done solo if absolutely necessary, yes. Is it much easier in a group, definitely YES.
Your training partners can reign you in AND/OR Push you harder
Some people need holding back and to be told not to add another 10kg because the last set looked rough as a badgers arse and they will most likely fail if they attempt any more. Equally, some people need to be told to push harder, take another attempt, to pull their finger out and push harder because they are being too conservative. Good training partners / team members will provide the balance and get you working optimally.
Less wait time for equipment if you work in together
This is partially dependant on the type of gym you train at. If you train in a commercial gym with one squat rack then this is very applicable. If a group of 5 of you can work in on one squat rack and train together then you can all get started with your session rather than having to wait your turn in a queue only to use it solo.
The friendships and trust you build with team mates
I class my team mates as some of the best friends I have and have ever had. I trust each of them implicitly because week in week out we put each others lives in each others hands. Lifting heavy weights can be dangerous. A big reason why so many people never push past a certain level is the fear of attempting very heavy weights. A team of trusted friends around you, in my opinion, is essential to help remove this fear. With the fear gone, you can go on to achieve levels which you would otherwise have never come close to. Finding like minded people to train with leads to strong bonds of friendship and subsequent socialising outside of the gym as a group.
You learn from each other.
In my team, predominantly I am coaching, as its my profession, however we all learn off each other and share info we have found and read. All of us are enthusiastic about the sport and so of course all do our own reading and research. We read articles and share them with one another. We pick up tips and ideas here and there and share them with the group and as we go on from month to the month and the programme develops we teach each other and learn more and more about what works and what doesn’t. When someone joins the group they are taught by everyone in the group to ensure they understand the methods and progressively we all become better lifters for it.
Shared cost of speciality pieces of equipment
Whilst much of the equipment most people use is owned by the gym they train at. More and more these days products come out like slingshots, hip circles, bench boards, bands, chains etc which may not be provided by your gym. When training in a team / group, when pieces or kit are needed or required you can share the cost. Want a new speciality bar which the gym doesn’t have, split it between your team and you’ve got a privately owned piece of kit with minimal expenditure for any one person.