In order for weight training to be effective, the following rules should be followed:
Sessions should be short: 60 minutes maximum. The maximum amount of time a weight training session should last is 60 minutes. After 60 minutes the levels of muscle building and fat burning hormones (like growth hormone and testosterone) begin to drop. In addition, the glycogen (stored carbohydrates) in your system, which is the fuel that your muscles use to contract, is depleted. If you weight train more than 60 minutes you will actually be wasting your time since you will no longer have the hormones or the fuel necessary to produce muscle growth. Continue to train past 60 minutes and you will get impaired recovery, which leads to overtraining, a condition where your body does not recover from its weight training sessions. This leads to loss of strength andmuscle mass.
The rest between sets should be kept to a minimum: 90 seconds or less. Keeping your rest time in between sets and exercises to a minimum not only allows you to perform a prodigious amount of work within the 60 minute weight training window, but also helps to improve your cardiovascular system and most importantly maximizes the output of growth hormone, a powerful fat burning/muscle building hormone. Also, this rest interval promotes a muscle voluminizing effect in which water goes inside the muscle cells (not outside) and makes the muscles look more firm and toned. Do not confuse this with water retention outside of the muscle cells, which is what makes us look puffy and fat.
Sets of each exercise should consist of 8-15 repetitions. There are many reasons for this. First and foremost, it has been shown that it is within this range that growth hormone output is maximized. As we already know, this is a good thing since this hormone does exactly what we are looking for (increases muscle and decreases body fat). In addition, since you are performing so many repetitions, you get a great pump (blood rushing into the muscle) that provides nutrients to nourish muscle cells and helps them recover and rebuild faster. Finally, performing 8-15 repetitions reduces the possibility of injury dramatically since you will need to use a weight that you can control in order to perform the prescribed amount of reps. (Notes: This rule does not apply to the calves andabdominals as these muscles usually respond better to higher repetition ranges, in the order of 15-25 reps).
Training must be progressive. Progression means one more repetition than the last time the exercise was performed or a little bit more weight if you are able to do more than 15 repetitions for a particular exercise. It is important to understand that you will not be able to increase weight or the number of repetitions every session. However, progression comes in many forms; like performing more work within the 60-minute period. The overall goal of a training routine is to ensure progression over a period of time to bring about continuous improvements in muscle tone and definition.
Training must be varied. This principle is vital to ensure continuous gains in strength and muscle tone as well as to prevent boredom. Variation does not necessarily mean changing all of the exercises in your program. Variation can occur in the form of using different techniques to stimulate the muscle, changing repetition and set parameters, and even changing the rest in between sets or simply changing the width of your grip placement on the bar to help isolate specific muscles.
Training must consists primarily of free weight basic exercises. Only free weight basic exercises provide the fast results you are looking for because they recruit the most muscle while you are performing them. Besides, the body is designed to be in a three dimensional universe. Whenever you use a machine you limit your body to a two-dimensional universe and consequently you limit the amount of muscle fibers that are going to do work. However, not all machines are bad. Some definitely have a place in our weight-training programbecause they allow you to isolate the muscle in a way that no free weights would allow you to do. However, our program should be mostly based on barbells, dumbbells and exercises where the body moves through space such as the dip, the pull-up and the squat.
Training for Body sculpting
The goal here is to lose as much fat as it is needed until you reach a goal of 10-12% for women . Also a gain of 5lbs of muscle for women in order to increase the metabolism, firm up and increase muscle tone. In order to accomplish this, the exercise strategy is to perform 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3-4 times per week first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Also conduct 3-4 weight training sessions of 30 to 45 minutes per week utilizing basic exercises such as bench press, chin-ups, and squats.
Training for Bodybuilding
The goal here is maximum muscle size with minimum body fat. In order to accomplish this, 4 – 6 weight training sessions of 45-75 minutes composed of basic exercises are required per week (Note: Due to the cycling of workout parameters, workout length will vary between 45 to 75 minutes). As far as cardiovascular exercise, 3 to 4 sessions of cardio first thing in the morning (or three hours after a meal) consisting of 20 minutes should suffice. More cardio than this and you may start robbing away your muscle gains.