Here's some context... Rob and I met four and a half years ago while training together at California Strength and that has had both a huge impact on my life as an athlete and a human. Training every day with your significant other is by no means easy but for us it has been extremely rewarding allowing us to stay together while still pushing and supporting each other to be the best that we can possibly be.
Coaching your significant other is definitely a skill, and takes some serious practice, some would say finesse even, to maintain a environment that is conducive for training. Of course, you start with the best of intentions. You want them to lift well and would hate to jeopardize a training session because of your lack of coaching game. So here are a five simple tips to help you when coaching your significant other!
(WARNING: Satire ahead)
1) Give as many cues as possible.
When coaching, it's typical to focus on the first (sequential) error that happens during the lift. From that first cue, you can setup a change that will work in a positive, domino like effect in correcting the rest of the lift. Providing one or two cues is ideal and will setup your partner to narrow their focus on what's most important but chances are your lover ain’t got time for that. Instead, give him or her as many cues as possible so that time isn’t wasted on either end. After all, efficiency is an important part of being a successful weightlifter.
Your significant other will want your full attention while he or she is lifting but lifts happen so quickly, there often isn’t even time to blink, much less provide immediate feedback. The problem is, weightlifting is so monotonous with plenty of rest time in between sets, that it's also a good time to multitask! Check email, respond to texts, eat meals, hit some bicep curls... So many possibilities! Your significant other will definitely appreciate your ability to get things done while you’re coaching him or her to a new PR.
3) Never comment on their increasing leg size.
Thick, strong, and juicy legs are ideal in both men's and women's weightlifting. However, a strong woman like myself does not want to hear that their legs are getting bulky, especially as a result from crushing PR's or otherwise lifting heavy stuff. Don't tell your male counterpart either, they know that women only care about abs and biceps.
4) Give back what you receive.
It does not take much for a training session to turn frustrating when training side by side with your significant other. But rest assured as I have found a solution, simply give back what you receive and everything works out just fine! If your significant other asks a question, answer with another question. If he or she gets lazy in their workout, lay down and coach from the floor. If they spitefully overcorrect, I have found that demonstrating emphatically with arm movements and stomping does just the trick. If they can’t do what you’re asking them to do, just stay silent. They’ll get it.
5) End each session with a compliment STACK.
Reinforcement should always be positive however keep in mind that your significant other will only hear what he or she wants to hear. So, play it safe and instead of the broadly accepted compliment “sandwich”, end the session with a compliment STACK. Here’s a perfect example, “That was a great session today. You were finishing great. You look great. That was a really great session. I had a great time coaching you".