Training with a partner, or a few partners, can boost your intensity and result in greater strength and mass gains.


University of Oxford (United Kingdom) researchers had competitive collegiate rowers perform a 45-minute rowing workout twice. In the first, they trained alone, but in the second, they trained with five other team members. At the end of each rowing workout, the researchers placed a blood pressure cuff on one arm of each athlete and inflated it maximally to test how well they tolerated the pain from the inflated cuff.


After the team workouts, the subjects could withstand the discomfort of the cuff for about twice as long as they could after the individual workouts.


The researchers concluded that the athletes were able to withstand the pain longer after they worked out with a team because of a higher increase in endorphin levels. Endorphins are natural chemicals the body produces to blunt pain, enhance feelings of well-being and even induce euphoria.


If you train alone, now may be the time to consider hooking up with a buddy or two and working out together. It could boost your endorphin levels, which not only means feeling good while you train, but also that you can tolerate more pain, so you can make a grueling set last longer. And pumping out a few extra reps can make all the difference in the race to building bigger and stronger muscles.