Working out with a teammate may be better for you
A Kansas State University study claims that working out with a teammate or colleague you think is better than you can help increase your workout time and intensity by up to 200%.
The study looked at whether individuals trained harder when they worked out alone, with a virtual partner or with a teammate/partner they believed to be better than them.
Subjects were first asked to workout alone on the stationary bike for six sessions over a four week period. They were then asked to perform the same exercise sessions while watching a virtual partner on a screen whom they were told had performed 40% better than them on the first part of the trial.
In the virtual partner trials, the subjects rode on average 90% more than they had in the first set of sessions. So the researchers finally had them ride a third time, telling them they were riding as part of a team where the their score would be the time of the one who quits first.
As a team, the participants started out by exercising at least one minute longer than the virtual partner trial. As four week study went on, the time difference increased. By the end it was 160% longer than the partner group and almost 200% longer than working out alone.
Lead researcher Brandon Irwin suggests that working out as a team motivated the subjects to workout harder so as not to let the teammate down. Irwin also found that there is an optimal level at which the partner can be perceived to be better. If subjects perceived their teammate to be roughly the same level or exponentially better, then the level of motivation diminished.
Irwin plans to continue studying virtual partner workouts and eventually partner up actual individuals in person. Results from such studies may in the future be used to pair up individuals as workout partners with similar fitness goals much like dating sites.
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Source: Burning More Calories Is Easier When Working out With Someone You Perceive as Better