Mountain Dog Training For Beginners | The Ultimate Guide!


John Meadows developed Mountain Dog Training to help advanced bodybuilders to build muscle while avoiding injuries.

John says that beginners can use his program as long as they use his beginner-friendly workouts.

If you are new to weight training and want to train like John Meadows then this article is for you!

Introduction

  • Part 1: Push / Pull / Leg Workouts
  • Part 2: Upper / Lower Workouts
  • Part 3: Full Body Workouts

In this comprehensive guide I will teach you some of John’s favorite ways to structure bodybuilding workouts for beginners.

John likes to use bodybuilding-style training splits where you train 1-2 muscle groups per day with his advanced trainees. However, with his beginner clients John likes to use a push / pull / legs split, an upper / lower split or even a full body split.

These training splits let you train each muscle group more frequently which is important for beginners who are still learning how to perform different exercises and how to train with intensity.

One of John’s favorite beginner-friendly training splits is the classic push / pull / legs split. Check it out:

The Push / Pull / Legs Split

  • Push Day: Chest / shoulders / triceps
  • Pull Day: Back / biceps
  • Legs Day: Quads / hamstrings / calves

John likes to use the push / pull / legs split with beginners because it reduces overlap between muscle groups and makes it slightly easier for you to recover between workouts.

It also makes the workouts simpler and easier to understand.

Here is a beginner-friendly push workout that you can try. Check it out:

Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: 10 degree decline DB press, 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Exercise #2: 60 degree incline DB press, 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Exercise #3: Pec minor dip, 3 sets to failure
  • Exercise #4: Smith machine overhead press, 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Exercise #5: 30 degree incline DB “Y” raise, 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Exercise #6: Dual rope cable pushdown, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Exercise #7: Dual rope overhead cable extension (high pulley), 3 sets to failure

Here is the training video:

For this workout you are going to perform 3 exercises for your chest, 2 exercises for your shoulders and 2 exercises for your triceps.

John doesn’t want you to perform any high-intensity techniques like drop sets, partial reps or iso-holds. Instead you are just going to perform 3-4 good, solid working sets for each exercise.

He also avoids some of the more helpful but complicated exercises like the 30 degree incline bench press.

Now let’s look at one of John’s beginner-friendly pull workouts. Check it out:

Workout #2

  • Exercise #1: Meadows row, 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #2: One-arm barbell row, 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #3: Band-assisted pull up (wide / pronated grip), 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #4: Bent-over rear delt DB fly, 3 sets of 20-30 reps
  • Exercise #5: Seated DB hammer curl, 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Here is the training video:

John really likes this simple back / biceps workout for beginner bodybuilders. He uses 3 exercises for his upper back, 1 exercise for his rear delts and 1 exercise for his biceps.

Just like with the first workout he avoids any high-intensity sets. Instead he just has you perform 3-4 solid working sets per exercise.

In this workout John has you perform 2 of his favorite rowing exercises: the Meadows row and the one-arm barbell row. John says that these exercises did more for his upper back than anything else.

Now let’s look at one of his beginner-friendly leg workouts. Check it out:

Workout #3

  • Exercise A1: Lying leg curl, 4 sets of 8 reps**
  • Exercise B1: Spider bar squat, 4 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Exercise C1: Vertical leg press, 3 sets of 8-12 reps, no rest
  • Exercise C2: Sissy squat, 3 sets of 8-12 reps, 2 minutes rest
  • Exercise D1: Smith machine split squat, 3 sets of 12-15 reps

**On your last set perform a double drop set, then perform 10 partial reps in the bottom position of the exercise, then perform a 10-second iso-hold near the bottom position to create even more tension on your hamstrings.

Here is the training video:

I have to admit, this is a slightly more advanced leg workout but John included it in his beginner-friendly series for Muscle & Fitness so we will cover it here. John starts this workout with lying leg curls.

John says he loves to warm up his hamstrings with leg curls before moving onto his heavier quadriceps exercises. On the last set he throws in a high-intensity set with drop sets, partial reps and even an iso-hold.

If you are new to weight training then you can skip this high-intensity set and just perform 4 solid working sets.

After the leg curls John moves onto squats, leg presses and smith machine squats. These are all basic exercises that John uses in almost all of his Mountain Dog training programs.

Sometimes John will have beginners use an upper / lower split where you train your entire upper body on one day and your entire lower body on another. This strategy works well for beginners who can’t handle as much volume per body part.

Here is a Mountain Dog style upper body workout that you can try. Check it out:

Upper Body Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: 15 degree incline DB press, 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #2: Flat machine press, 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #3: Seated cable row (V-handle), 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #4: Hammer strength pulldown, 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #5: Seated DB lateral raise, 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #6: Bent over reverse DB fly, 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #7: Seated DB hammer curl, 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #8: Standing rope cable pushdown, 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Here is the training video:

In this workout John uses 2 exercises each for his chest, back, shoulders and arms. This is a great way to train if you are new to weight training and you need more practice with all the basic exercises.

Here is another simple upper body workout that you can try. Check it out:

Upper Body Workout #2

  • Exercise #1: Incline machine press (neutral grip), 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #2: Flat machine press, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #3: Machine pulldown (wide / neutral grip), 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #4: Chest supported row (medium / neutral grip), 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #5: Machine overhead press (neutral grip), 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #6: Machine dips, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #7: Machine prone rear delt fly, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #8: Wrist machine, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Here is the training video:

The upper / lower split is a great choice for beginners. However, another great choice would be the full body split. Many people new to weight training get their best results training their entire body three times per week.

Here is a simple full body Mountain Dog style workout that you can try. Check it out:

Full Body Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: Spider bar squats, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #2: Decline hammer strength press with bands, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #3: Machine inverse leg curl, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #4: Lying kettlebell pullover, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #5: Standing DB lateral raise**, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #6: Incline DB curls (hammer grip), 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #7: Seated calf raise, 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

**Perform partial reps in the bottom half of the range of motion

Here is the training video:

In this workout John uses 7 different exercises to train his entire body. He uses about 1 exercise each for his chest, back, shoulders, arms, quads, hamstring and calves.

I think John was inspired to try this workout after seeing Jeff Nippard’s success with his full body workouts but it is still a great option for beginners.

Conclusion

If you are new to weight training then I highly recommend you try one of John’s beginner-friendly workouts.

You can use John’s push / pull / legs workouts, his upper / lower workouts or even his full body workouts. They are all great choices for someone new to weight training.

If you enjoyed this content then make sure you check out my article “Mountain Dog Training: The Ultimate Guide!

“If you want to turn a vision into reality, you have to give 100% and never stop believing in your dream.”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

 

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

What's going on! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen, I'm the creator of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to take your training to the next level, then you've come to the right place... My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world!

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