We hear it all the time: There’s strength in numbers. But that’s not only the case when it comes to supporting a cause you love. If you’re the kind of person who typically works out solo, it’s time to consider the benefits of teams. Working out with other people (even just a partner) can offer you full-body perks.
The Mind/Body Benefits of Teams
Aside from feel-good vibes, research shows that working out with others produces a motivation gain that can help you push harder for longer. For instance: Those who planked with a partner were able to hold the exercise for up to 24 percent more time than those doing it alone, according to a study published in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology.
“When we have a support system that elevates us, we can experience tremendous gains,” says Dr. Lara Pence, clinical psychologist and Chief Mind Doctor for Spartan. “Often, when we are training, we can encounter those self-limiting beliefs, like ‘why am I doing this?’ If we have a tribe around us, they can lift us up, elevate us, and provide in-real-time feedback about our capacity to keep going we will benefit.”
But it doesn’t end there: A team can also hold you accountable to showing up time and time again. In 2016, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that team competition encourages a higher participation rate than individual effort. In an 11-week study of nearly 800 people, those motivated by competitive classes exercised 90 percent more than those sweating it out alone.
How to Max Out the Benefits of Teams
The catch with team competition? Comparison can quickly become your enemy. Get the most out of a group experience by remembering that you’re on your own path, says Pence. “Your journey is unique. Measuring your progress against others is a slippery slope. Be supportive of those around you instead of evaluating your own worth and process to theirs.”
Whether you lean into local adult intramurals or boutique fitness classes, how you get your team-based fitness on is up to you. The only rule? Real sweat-drenched camaraderie is going to require a willingness to work hard.