The best weight lifting workouts build both strength and endurance, avoid placing undue stresses on the body, and are varied enough to avoid allowing the body to stagnate. A weightlifting workout should be tailored to the individual characteristics of a particular bodybuilder and the equipment available. Like any other workout, weight lifting workouts should be designed to be enjoyable, as no workout program is effective if it isn't enjoyable enough to ensure that you will keep doing it.
Ideal weight lifting workouts will build up both strength and endurance. Some people may prefer to focus on one or the other, but neither should be entirely ignored, as a body with a mix of the two performs better in a wide variety of tasks. As a general rule, exercises that focus on repetition rather than maximum weight are better for building endurance, and those that concentrate on maximum weight are better at improving strength. Endurance work produces a sleek, lean appearance, while strength training results in larger, bulkier muscles.
A workout program should be designed to not place undue stress on the body. This means that it is often a good idea to lift several times at 80% of your capacity, rather than once at 100%. Also, muscles must be allowed to heal and grow after a workout. Typically, this means that a given muscle group should not be exercised on consecutive days, although some programs get around this by training strength on one day and endurance the next. A more common solution to this problem is to focus on one set of muscles, perhaps in the upper body, on one day and another group, such as the legs and torso, the next.
No two human bodies are exactly alike, and no two weight lifting workouts should be exactly alike, either. A workout should be personally tailored, with the aid of a trainer, as needed, and should take many different variables into account. Men tend to build muscle mass more easily than women, and people over the age of 70 have more difficulty building and maintaining muscle mass. People on restricted diets may need to add additional protein to their meals in order to build muscle effectively. Dieters may have difficulty increasing their muscle mass, as weight loss comes partially from muscle tissue.
Perhaps the single most critical aspect of weight lifting workouts is the enjoyment value. It is difficult to find the motivation to keep going to the gym, day after day, to do something unpleasant. Variety can help to solve this problem and can increase the effectiveness of the workout as well, as many people find that their bodies respond better to unfamiliar exercises. Choosing the right mix of free weights and mechanical weights is also important. Both can be effective, and personal preference is often the best way to choose between them.