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    Photo Credit: courtesy of David Rich

The quest for the perfect workout program, part 1

By David Rich

First in a five part series
At some point along the way, we've all come to the realization that in order to develop the body you've always wanted, you need a great workout plan. Simply going to the gym a few hours a week and randomly lifting up weights won't do it.

And with all the people out there hyping up their workout programs, it's hard to know which one choose. I’m not going to go over every workout program out there, but I will teach you 10 proven factors that make up a perfect workout system.

No. 1: Training session duration
If you believe the myth that workouts should last 90 minutes or more, you wasting your time.

During long workouts your body will have an increase in the production of "bad" hormones and chemicals, such as cortisol which breaks down muscle. While the bodies production of "good" chemicals decreases, testosterone can decrease as high as 80 percent in a workout lasting over an hour. Your body's ability to process blood glucose for energy also decreases in longer workouts. Longer workouts are psychologically tiring. You lose focus. Your desire to train wanes. Additionally, you increase your chance of injury.

So how long should you train? Keep your workouts under 55 minutes. If you're doing things right several short workouts during the week will produce maximum results.

No. 2: Exercise selection
Not all exercises are created equally. Certain exercises stimulate the neurotransmitters that cause the muscles' motor units to contract, more than others. The more they are stimulated, the more the muscle contacts and you get better results. Isolation exercises such as machines and concentration curls do not stimulate as many motor units. While free-weights and cables will stimulated more muscle fibers. An ideal training routine will range anywhere from 70% free weights 30% cables, to 30% free weights 70% cables with a few select machines, such as the leg press, back flies, leg curls, etc. Your workouts need to be diverse because the more exercises you know, and do, the better your results will be. Variety is the spice of life and training. Doing many exercises allows you to hint different muscle fibers you may be neglecting if you just do the same exercise. Mentally things get stale if you don’t change your exercises, as the mind goes the body will follow.

David Rich is a personal trainer and model. Visit his web site, FitnessModelBody for more information.

Part 1: Training length and exercise selection
Part 2: Recovery times and resting between sets
Part 3: Volume and tempo
Part 4: Form and repetition
Part 5: Periodization and training intensity