T Nation

Mountain Dog Training for Natural?


Essentially how effective would it be for me, as a natural teen, be to hop onto one of John Meadows programs? I am going to link my road to physique thread here, where there are pictures of my current physique, which obviously needs much work, but I want to go about sculpting it optimally. I have, what I would consider a solid strength foundation, and want to know, based on my end goal of attaining that men’s physique look, if mountaindog is the way to go from here. There is more info on my training and what not in that thread, but am looking for more exposure to help me answer this question. Thanks, guys!


Are you referring to his programs or general ideas/templates in his articles?

I would not recommend that you do his programs because of your experience level. This has nothing to do with being natural or not.

My recommendation would be to do 1 major lift per muscle group with a proper progression model like 531 while implementing some of the stuff in his articles for the rest of the workout.

For example, this is what I’ve done before:

A. Incline Barbell Press
531 progression model

B: Low Incline Twist Press
3 sets of 8-10 reps, increasing weight each set, failure on last set

C. Low Incline Dumbbell Press
Continue going up in weight from last exercise, 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps, 1 count pause at bottom, explode up, no lockout

D. Ladder Pushups
2 sets of max reps


Yes, I was referring more to his programs in general. But what you said is true, they are for more advanced individuals. Thanks!


FWIW, Meadows wrote a whole article about when when he thinks is the right time for lifters to use his methods.


Yes, I saw that article, I think based on his recommendations, that I would classify myself as an intermediate, but that is just my opinion.


Some may say your lifts aren’t high enough but for 150lb a legitimate 315 squat is very impressive. I would recommend trying something like a push/pull/legs routine to try and bring the lifts up while also having sufficient volume to add mass. Just make sure to have recovery in order before trying such a routine as they can be very taxing. You may be ready for John Meadows work but there’s no sense jumping into more advanced programming while more basic things might still work.


@OP I think that, unless one is only squatting his bodyweight or something, which means he probably doesn’t even know how to squat, looking at lifts as a gauge for whether one can do a bodybuilding program or bodybuilding methods is silly. I’m just throwing this out here in case you read something like, “You need to squat 500lbs before you can train for bodybuilding.”

  1. It implies that you don’t have to progress somehow, whether in weight, reps, quality of contraction etc when bodybuilding to elicit growth. You simply use your 400lb squat strength to pump yourself up with heavier weights than you would have used with a 300lb squat and you will grow. The body does not work like that. Progression is what gives it the reason to grow.

  2. People forget that once you are used to training a movement and get fixated on chasing numbers doing what the internet calls “strength training”, turning around and focusing on actually training muscles is not something you learn overnight. It is also a skill that takes time to learn. For some it will take years. This is why you see bigger guys who are able to utilize relatively lighter weights than smaller guys to grow.

Your level of strength was not the reason why I told you that you are not experienced enough to use MD programs.

That being said, I told you to keep one main lift where you progress in reps and weight with a proper progression model to ensure that you can effectively quantify progress while you play around with different methods, ideas and exercises, the goal for the latter being learning how your body responds to these while improving your mmc over time.

Mmc takes years to learn and a Mountain Dog program that you pay for changes exercises and rep schemes every workout. You will not make the same progress as someone advanced who is proficient in various exercises and their variations and has the mmc and body awareness to quantify progress through means other than weight on the bar,


And that was from roughly 2-3 months ago, in my thread i had an update post, my squat is currently 330x3, bench is 190x3 and deadlift is a single at 415. But in terms of my physique i do believe i am still a beginner.


I completely agree, my lifts may be past the beginner stage, but my physique and mmc warrant that of a beginner and transitioning to an advanced program would do nothing more than stall my body too soon, when I could progress on something less as well as develop my mmc.


Bingo, especially when many people can reach the coveted 2 x bodyweight squat with bodybuilding training in the first place!

I am beating a dead horse, but I think such statements need repeating over and over again, especially to save young people from wasting their freaking time and to have them progress while remaining injury free, or at least try to remain injury free. The whole notion of “just add weight to the bar” and everything will fall into place for building a physique–and we are speaking of building bodybuilder physiques here–has implied to many that all one needs to do is figure out how to get a better overhead press, deadlift, bench press, and deadlift and bodybuilding success will follow, never mind that one can and should be adding weight to dumbbells, bodyweight exercises, cables, and machines over time too!

It’s as if it’s implied that bodybuilders’ do not use progressive overload at all; that they just pick up a randomly loaded dumbbell or barbell and pump away with no set and rep scheme or aim to progress in weight and repetitions. This is especially implied when discussing pre-exhaust, because heaven forbid, after completing that first isolation exercise, the subsequent compound lift will have to be lowered in weight a bit, never mind that one can still add weight to the isolation exercise and subsequent compound lift in the pre-exhaust sequence. This is all very hard to understand for some people, especially the ones who don’t understand progression in bodybuilding in a holistic sense, not just a matter of “adding weight to the bar” (barf!).

At this point I don’t know which terms make me want to barf more: “protein synthesis”, “frequency”, or “add weight to the bar”.

So true! But the aforesaid naysayers will still scoff at such a notion and say goody shit like, you should lock out on bench presses and variations because, after all, that makes for dysfunctional training, and like, you won’t be efficient in “real world” situations when you have to lock out your arms, as if one won’t follow through in a punch because he’s used to benching short of lock out! LMAO!

This is also why it actually is important to gauge whether one feels pump and congestion in a muscle after a set of an exercise done with the bodybuilding method. What the hell sense is there to blindly barbell bench press if some guy only gets a pump in his triceps and/or delts from the exercise. There are actually bodybuilders who have excelled without doing ANY barbell pressing or rowing exercises for their backs, chest, and shoulders. I myself actually built my chest from a flat one to an alright one with dumbbells, cables, dips and plate loaded bench press machines.

Of course a natural can use Meadows’ programs as there are naturals who have built up a shit ton of volume tolerance. I used high volume, pre-exhaust, and relatively high reps in some exercise. I guess one can say my training is Meadows-esque. My friends do the same.


Yeah it can work very well. I would say as a natural dont do the drop sets /beyond failure work, maybe even stop a rep before failure sometimes -the volume, sequencing and technique cues will provide more than enough stimulation

DTs idea of doing a 5/3/1 lift first will give you best of both worlds


Mind muscle connection is gay


Do you take issue with the term or do you find the idea of intramuscular coordination gay?