‘Tis the Season for Working Out Together

Miranda Keane

Hydrow brings people together

At Hydrow, we encouraged all members to invite friends and family to a workout. Not only is it another fun way to connect during the holiday season with people you care about, it’s also a great way to stay motivated and consistent—but don’t take it from us, take it from science.

It’s not a holiday miracle, it’s the Köhler effect

The Köhler effect, as it’s called, is named after German psychologist Otto Köhler, who in the 1920s asked a rowing team to perform an experiment around weight lifting. Köhler observed that working out as a group increased performance for every member of the team, and was significantly more pronounced than when they worked out as individuals. Researchers in the time since then have found that group work and collaboration can boost performance even in non-athletic activities.

So what’s actually happening here?

The effect is deeply rooted in our primal selves and history. In nature, competition is, well…natural. Every human has a competitive element as part of our makeup. In the early days of humanity you had to scramble for food and shelter while today, you might be trying to win the takeoff when a traffic light turns green. The underlying competition from a group dynamic gives you an extra burst of energy and motivation to keep going.

But it’s not all about individual pursuits either. As society became more organised, teamwork became necessary for survival—think group projects in school or at work. When working in these teams, it’s natural to want approval and praise from your peers. This lends itself to increased motivation to push a little harder and come through for others.

And finally, there’s good old self-consciousness. Studies have shown that when you know you’re being observed, additional brain cells are activated, heightening your focus and ultimately, performance.

And the best thing is, it also works virtually…

Research published in the Journal Of Sport And Exercise Psychology found that the Köhler effect’s benefits held up in a buddy workout when the participants were connected virtually via video conference call. The feeling of pushing yourself at the same time as someone else is what makes the biggest difference, especially when that feeling is in a live setting.

Bring your crew…or join Hydrow’s

With Hydrow, there’s always a way to team up and work out with others. You’ve got the option of inviting friends and family, or connect with the thousands of other Hydrow members like you who are looking for their next breakthrough.

In our live workouts, you can get individual recognition from one of our world-class Athletes. Just join a workout 5 minutes before the session begins—you may hear your name in a personal shout-out! You can also join the Hydrow community online at Hydrow Training Camp, a Facebook group where people discuss workouts, challenges, and share tips and knowledge.

Metre by metre, together

In the end, you never really have to work out alone. The Hydrow community is full of like-minded people who are as excited about exercise and finding a community as you are. And the experience is even better if you can bring friends along.

So the next time you set exercise goals for yourself, think about how you can team up with others to push yourself a little more. While there are a lot of portrayals of the individual going at it alone (think of all those Rocky montages…), remember that the Hydrow team, Athletes, and community are always here to help you reach your best!