Partner Training for Upper Body Gains
Techniques for Two — Targeting Chest, Back, Shoulders and Arms
With both compound and isolation exercises, partner training can provide a new level of expansion in weight range used or repetitions. Consider a few key exercises for chest, arms, shoulders and back that can be enhanced with some partner training:-
Bench Presses – Targeting both upper and lower pectorals, this upper body compound movement performed with a spotting partner provides an extra pair of eyes to watch for errors such as bouncing of the weight against the chest while lowering the barbell, or avoiding any arching of the back during upward extension, and an extra pair of hands for evenly held support as the trainer approaches exhaustion, or to provide support into a few repetitions past the point of exhaustion.
Incline Bench Dumbbell Flyes – In this seated isolation exercise for the upper pectorals, a bodybuilder can watch out for: his training partner keeping the elbows back during the entire range of the movement; making sure he maintains correct form with a slow semicircular arc movement extending outward to the sides as low as possible, avoiding bouncing the weights in the low position; giving some light support to the elbow near the completion of the set, or helping in pushing his partner toward the failure range. With a partner, there is less chance of swinging the weights too far backward or in an uncontrolled motion that could result in injury.
Seated Cable Rows – This exercise stressing all the muscle groups connected into the back requires focusing on grip and arms during the forward extension and then in the contraction backward with the cable handles. A training partner can make sure that during the contracting movement, his partner is not leaning too far backward as he pulls the cable towards himself; that he has fully arched his back so that the lat muscles are intensely contracted; that he pulls the handles to just touch the lower abdomen; also, that he extends to a fully straightened finish position with arms straightened, avoiding any bending of the knees toward the chest.
T-Bar Machine Rows – One of the best full back exercises, but also a difficult movement to perform both safely, with correct form and full movement. At the end of the movement, the spotting partner should be watching to see that his training partner is using a full range of motion by arching the spine sufficiently each time at the finish position. Also, by not allowing his torso to cheat by moving upward, and ensuring correct form: the arms should be slowly bent and pulling the T-Bar up until the plates are touching the chest, the the reverse movement performed to start position — all in a controlled motion.
Standing Alternate Dumbbell Curls – -This basic standing biceps and forearm flexor exercise can also improve with a spotting partner on hand. Points about posture and performance a spotter can watch for as his training partner gets into a set: keeping the upper arms against the sides of the torso and motionless in this position throughout the movement; maintaining a balanced and steady alternating flow of movement from one arm to the next; provide a very light support at the elbow toward the end of a set or to continue toward failure.