Beginner, intermediate, advanced, casual or serious—it doesn't matter what your fitness level is when it comes to selecting a training partner. What does matter is having someone at your side, every step of the way who has your best interests at heart. As associate editor of MensFitness.com and with over 10+ years spent working out and training, I've gone through my fair share of training partners. Some have been incredibly helpful and motivational, and others have measurably slowed my progression. And over the years I’ve realized there are several killer traits you definitely want from the dude who’s truly got your back in the squat rack.
Obviously you go to the gym to work on improving yourself, but when you decide to take on a training partner there’s now another person you need to take into consideration. Odds are you aren't always going to share the same goals or agree on how to workout, but that's totally OK... as long as both parties are aware of these differences and willing to accommodate each other. Throughout my years of training, much of my personal focus has been on staying lean and having great muscular endurance, while my training partners, on the other hand, have often been looking to get bigger and stronger. As a result, I'd be working with slightly lighter weights, higher repetitions and shorter rest periods whereas my partner liked throwing around the heavier weights, training at lower rep ranges and taking longer rest periods. But because we both put each other's immediate needs before our own, regardless of our conflicting workout routines, we were still able to work well together. I was there to spot him and vice versa, I was there to push him past those last painful reps and he was there doing the same for me. There was a mutually beneficial amount of respect for each other’s workout program and no matter how we got there our ultimate goal was the same—to make serious gains in the gym.