What is the perfect weight training program?

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What is the perfect weight training program?

mmmmm… this was a trick question!!…. sorry…the answer is “there is none”. I have been involved in fitness and wellness for over 36 years now (that makes me old I guess) and I have seen the “PERFECT WORKOUT” (like the perfect diet) each week in magazines and on- line every week for literally years. The truth is that there is a myriad of weight training techniques and they can all be of some use provided that the basic training procedures are followed. Over the years and in some cases still, we see programs with titles such as, drop sets, pyramids, matrix, exhaust training, “21’s etc most of these are made up names to sell a particular program that some snake oil salesmen have come up with. In some cases those in involved in the fitness industry will be promoting some research they may have done and these training programs seem to get a life of their own and in turn make them money.

 Provided you follow the basic well documented principles of weight training most or at least some may have some merit. Always ensure that you follow a particular program (provide it is reasonably valid) for 8-12 weeks. When we keep changing programs (because our best friend said so) we never develop neural adaptation (Neural adaptation or sensory adaptation is a change over time in the responsiveness of the sensory system to a constant stimulus.) Therefore it you keep chopping and changing the results will be limited.

Simply follow these rules and you won’t go too far wrong and may even save yourself some money.

Start a beginner on an endurance program first, and then follow up with a hypertrophy program, then strength, power, and power strength.  Some people will recommend machines for beginners, I do not. Free weights are a better alternative in my opinion, just ensure the beginner starts with very light weights and increase the sets over the first couple of weeks to avoid DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness)See my article about DOMS on line @ www.johnhartfitness.com.

Program Load (% 1 RM)  Repetitions 
Strength 85-95 1-5 (sets 3-4)
Power 80-90 6-8 (sets 2-3)
Hypertrophy 60-85 8-10 (sets 3-4)
Endurance 60 15-20 (sets 2-3)


The above are guidelines in relation to loads. The idea is that the person weight training should be able to just complete his/her last rep and set. As it becomes easier increase the weight throughout the particular program.


John Hart

“Master’s In Education” (Disability) Newcastle University Australia

“Grad Cert Education” Newcastle University Australia

“Diploma Fitness/Recreation”

“Diploma of Sport and Recreation”

“Cert 4 Personal Training”

“Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Coach

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