T Nation

Mountain Dog Training Split?


i was looking at meadow’s articles on here about his mountain dog training principles.

i then started to look for a split or program that puts it all together, but i really couldn’t find one (either here or on any other site).

anyone knows a good program using his template?

i know he gave a sample workout for each muscle group in their own article, so theoretically i could just put them together and try it like that, doing the program for 12 weeks as he suggests and following the outlined progression.

if so, then would this split be decent?

Monday Chest, shoulders
Tuestday Legs
Wednesday OFF
Thursday Back
Friday Arms
Saturday OFF
Sunday OFF

any tips about this program are welcome, as this is catching my attention and it’s probably what i’m going to do next.

thank you


You can purchase copies of his workouts (he has a number of them) on his website.


Would you recommend against putting together all the workouts he posted on here and doing a division like the one I proposed?


I certainly wouldn’t countenance posting his workouts here. Those are his intellectual property, and doing so would be tantamount to stealing from him.

I’d be surprised if Meadows didn’t have a 4-day split among his for-sale programs. I would direct you to his website to check it out.

Edit: If you mean aggregating the workouts from articles he’s published on T-Nation into the split you’ve described, that would be fine.


You’ll excuse me if I ask you to provide me the link to his website? I googled it but I can’t seem to find any relevant result. (that or my brain is reacting very bad to the keto hah)

By the way, yes, I meant doing a program comprised of all the workouts he posted on t nation. Do you think that could be an effective strategy, being hypertrophy my goal?


I aggregated John Meadows’ sample workouts on T-Nation into a self-made split, and it work very well. I don’t think you can really go wrong there.

The split is fairly unimportant in the context of Mountain Dog Training, though. John sets his splits up to give more frequency to the body part(s) he wants to improve. Thus, you can buy whatever split you want from him. The important aspects of Mountain Dog Training are the techniques employed in the workouts, and the exercise sequencing.

Using a John Meadows template isn’t necessarily any better for hypertrophy than another bodybuilding program. However, lifting in that style for a while is a tremendous education that you can put in your tool-kit forever and I would highly encourage you to try his principles.

T-Nation doesn’t usually like outside URL links on the forums, so you’ll need to make the following all one word. Here’s his website if you are interested in buying something or just reading more:
mountain dog diet dot com


Just curious: how did you split up the muscle groups?

Given that in the next training cycle I would like to bring up specifically my biceps and delts, how would you suggest to up the frequency with these? Would the volume have to just be split into 2 weekly session or can I increase it altogether for the target body parts? Not asking you to design a program for me here, just interested in knowing your take on this.

Thank you, I’ll check it out


A few different ways. I don’t have my training logs with me to look too far back, so I’ll just list the last two and my current one.

Beginning of 2017; Working to improve legs:
Monday: Legs (focus on hams and calves)
Tuesday: Chest and Triceps
Wednesday: Back and Biceps
Thursday: off
Friday: Legs (focus on quads and calves)
Saturday: Delts (with some arm stuff)
Sunday: off

Middle of 2017; improving back
Monday: Vertical Back Movements
Tuesday: Chest and Triceps
Wednesday: Legs and Calves
Thursday: off
Friday: Horizontal Back Movements and Biceps
Saturday: Delts, cardio
Sunday: off

End of 2017; Improving Legs and Arms
Monday: Chest and Triceps
Tuesday: Back and Biceps
Wednesday: Quad domination (and calves)
Thursday: Off
Friday: Delts and Arms
Saturday: Hamstrings and Leg Accessories (abductors, adductors, glutes, etc)
Sunday: off

I can say with certainty (for myself) that I did too much volume for my arms there and it was detrimental. But I improved my back and my legs quite a bit last year…and I was cutting for a lot of 2017.

Now I want to gain weight again, so I decided to work a body part twice a week, but in a rotational manner. I don’t know yet if it will yield the results I want, but I like it thus far.

Current Split; Improve Everything
Day 1: Chest & Triceps
Day 2: Back & Biceps
Day 3: Legs
Day 4: off
Day 5: Delts, Abs
Day 6: Day 1
Day 7: off
– continue split in 3 on, 1 off, 2 on, 1 off manner –

This gives you Chest and Triceps twice in Week 1, Back and Biceps twice in Week 2, Legs twice in Week 3, Delts and Abs twice in Week 4, and then you repeat.


^ Well put. My eyes must be damn muscular from all the eye rolling I’ve been doing the last couple of years watching people online put coaches and authors on pedestals from just taking a bit of common sense garnered from time in the gym and presenting something that some people hadn’t thought of yet.

@BrickHead loves to rib me whenever I say anything that initially sounds against what most newbs do in the gym as being “meadows-like” simply by being well thought out or based in the most rudimentary exercise science :slight_smile:



In order for your muscles to grow, they need to rest/recover from your workout. Your body can only recover to a certain point. I’m going to use an imperfect comparison here to prove my point.

Let’s say you dig a hole in the ground. You remove 20 cubic feet of dirt while doing so. On the other side of the hole, you have a pile of dirt that is exactly 20 cubic feet. You use this dirt to fill in the hole you just made. You are able to fill the hole until it is flush with the ground. In the end there is no change.

Let’s say you dig another hole in the ground. You remove 40 cubic feet of dirt while doing so. On the other side of the hole, you have a pile of dirt that is exactly 20 cubic feet. You use this dirt to fill in the hole you just made. But you are only able to fill the hole up half way.

Let’s say you dig yet another hole in the ground. You remove 15 cubic feet of dirt while doing so. On the other side of the hole, you have a pile of dirt that is exactly 20 cubic feet. You use this dirt to fill in the hole you just made. Now you have a little mound of earth sitting on top of the ground.

The ground is your muscle
Digging a hole is your workout
The pile of dirt at your disposal is you ability to recover
End result is filling the hole back up

The first scenario is what a lot of guys do. They work out but don’t recover enough to actually grow their muscle/they work out to the point where recovering gets them back to where they started. The second scenario is working out WAY TOO MUCH at once. Now you’re unable to recover and your muscles actually begin to decrease in size over time. The third scenario is what we’re after. You want to work out so that recovering actually builds past where you started. 8x Mr. Olympia Lee Haney had a mantra of ‘Stimulate, don’t annihilate’ or something similar.

Thus, you want to spread volume out over the week so that you can recover from the work you are doing. Whether that’s 3x a week or 2x a week is completely up to your body and recovery rate.


There is a 4 or 5 day Meadows program on this site called “Reactive Pump Hypertrophy.” I didn’t read through this whole thread, so that tidbit may no longer be relevant.


There’s a an accomplished gym vet who used to post on here more frequently, who after reading a thread on “Meadows methods”, commented something like, “this is just 80’s to 90’s volume training”. And that’s true. It’s just that Meadows started promoting standard bodybuilding training at a time in which the trend was for the promotion of "training for strength and the physique will follow. We see how that worked out for some people.


So Husker Strength and Ground Based Power shook things up in the 90s, advocating training for Performance at a time when Body Building was prominent.

As the old guys always say, Things go in Cycles.


I really dug into his stuff when he and T Nation were collaborating together, so I consider myself at least somewhat informed on his stuff.

As others have said the real “meadows magic” is the exercise selection, sequencing, and intensity/volume progression over a 12-16 week time frame.

Having said that, the “basic” layout is:

Day 1: chest, shoulders
Day 2: back
Day 3: arms
Day 4: legs

Traditionally he would put arms and legs back to back and have a rest day after each of the other workouts.

Thus a regular week would be:

Chest/shoulders, off, back, off, arms, legs, off

Again as others have said he has MANY different layouts depending on what needs to be brought up, but this is the generic meadows bro split.

Honestly, as @BrickHead said it’s essentially an intelligently laid out old school BBing routine. Lots of sets in the 10-20 rep range. Sometimes higher, sometimes lower. Slowly add volume at times, then add weight/intensity techniques at other times. Keep an eye out for joint health and voila, meadows routine. Oh, and hamstrings before squats.


His thoughts on exercise sequencing are really what sets it apart from other routines, in my opinion. I’ve never seen anyone else put as much thought into it as that (apart from corrective routines but who actually does those).

If all you ever did was alternate between a few months of Mountain Dog and a few months of DC, you’d be a very big, very strong person indeed.


I did some research but I can’t find any specific recommendations about exercise sequencing… Not in his t nation articles at least.

Anyone willing to point me in the right direction?


Its a bit trickier to find than I thought, here are a few good pages:

Basically there John outlines his generally philosophy, which is Pump Exercise, “Heavy” Exercise, Pump Exercise, Stretch Exercise

So that could be: DB Bench focusing on squeeze, bench, machine press, fly with 2 second pause in the stretched position

or: Hamstring curls, squat, leg press, lunges, romanian deads

For a back exercise here is a good write up: https://www.elitefts.com/education/training/bodybuilding/your-guide-to-a-mountain-dog-back/

From that article:

  1. Row First, 2. Stretch Movement Second , 3. Trap and Rhomboids, 4. Spinal Erectors Last


There’s an entire section on sequencing exercises for arms in this:

There is an entire section on exercise sequence for chest in this:

There is an entire section on exercise sequence for back in this:

There is an entire section on exercise sequence for legs in this:


And I’ll top it off with this one:


hey thank you, so for the past two hours i read again all the material and tried to put everything together, coming up with a template that follows meadows’ guidelines closely.

i used the sample workouts given in his articles and adjusted the volume according to his “mountain dog training for intermediates” article.

in addition to the ones who already posted here, i’d really like to have this program review by some of the more knowledgeable users here whose advice i really value. i’m sorry if i’m bothering you guys by tagging, but i’d love to hear thoughts from:

thank you!

this is the plan:

Mon chest delts
Tue off
Wed back
Thu off
Fri legs
Sat arms
Sun off

note: when two number of sets are listed (like 2-3x*), it means that for the first week(s) of the phase i’ll start with the low end and build up to the higher number towards the end of the phase to transition into the high volume one

PHASE 1 (weeks 1-3)


Db incline press 2-3x10
Smith machine incline press 2-3x15-20
Machine “press and stretch” (set followed by band pec stretch) 2x8-10
Cable fly 2x12-15 (hold stretched position 2 s each rep)
Heavy partial lateral raise 3-4x35
Reverse cable fly 3x35 (week 1)/ 3x20-25 (week 2)/ 3x12-15 (week 3)
(only on week 3) DB Rear raise “destroyer set” 1x60 + 30 + 10 (look up meadow’s shoulder article)


Smith machine bent over row 3x8
Lat “stretcher” 2x10-12
Deadstop db row 2-3x8-10 x side
Deadlift 1x8


Lying leg curl 2xWU, 1x15, 1x12, 1x8 + dropset (10 reps with 12RM, then drop and do 10, then drop and do 25 partials)
BB Romaninan DL 2xWU, 2x10
Leg press 2-3x10 with 1 minute quad stretch at the end of every set
Hack squat 2x10 + dropset on last set
Quad stretch for 1 minute three times


Cross Body Hammer curl 2XWU, 2-3x10
EZ Preacher curl 2-3x8
BB Curl 2x8
Rope Pushdown 3x12
Bench dips 3xfailure
Incline ez bar extension 2-3x15

PHASE 2 (week 4-9)


Incline db press 3x8
Decline smith machine press 25, 20, 12, 8 + double dropset on last set
Flat bb press 3x6 with 4RM (Rest pause)
Pec minor dip 2xfailure
Bradford press 4x12
Reverse cable fly 35, 25, 15-20, 8-12
Six ways 4x10


Smith machine bent over row 2xWU, 3x8 (first set with one rep in the tank, last 2 using 6RM with rest pause)
DB Deadstop row 3x8
Lat “stretcher” 2x12
then lat stretch for 1 minute twice
Partial heavy lat pulldown 2x8
then lat stretch for 2 minute twice
Chest supported db row 3x10


Leg curl 2xWU, 14, 12, 10, 35
Leg press 3x16 (using 12RM and assisting with hands on knees when needed)
Smith machine squat 3x8, using 1 1/2 rep style on last set
DB RDL 2-3x12


EZ reverse curl 4x10 with 10 s rest
Rope pushdown 4x10 with 10 s rest
Cable preacher curl 3x12 (with 6RM, with the last reps assisted by spotter)
Bench dips 3x8 (3 s negative)
Incline curl 2x8 with 20-30 s loaded stretch at the end of the sets
DB L-extension 2x15
Seated DB Curl 2x8 (3 s negative)
Smith machine close grip bench press 3x8

PHASE 3 (week 10-12)


Incline db press 3x8 + double dropset on last set
Incilne smith machine press 3x6 (first one with one rep in the tank, last two with 4RM and using rest pause)
Pec deck 2x12 (3 s in stretched position on each rep)
Partial lateral raise + full ROM Lateral raise 3x20 partials + 15 full rom reps
Incline rear delt raise 3x35
Seated Smith machine ultra wide OHP 2x10


Smith machine bent over row 2xWU, 3x8 with the last 2 sets using rest pause
DB Deadstop row 2x8
Partial lat pulldown 2x8
Deadlift 1x8


Leg curl 2xWU, 12, 10, 35
Leg press 2x10 with double dropset on each set
Smith machine squat 3x8 using 1 1/2 rep style on each set


Hammer curl 2x8 with double dropset on second set
Preacher curl 3x10 using 6RM and doing partials at the end
BB Curl 1 set of multi-hold (20 s hold + 10 reps + 15 s hold + 8 reps + 10 s hold + max reps)
V bar pushdown 3x8 with double dropset on last set
Smith machine close grip press 3x10 using 6RM and doing partials
Overhead rope extension 1 set of multi hold

so this is the plan. phase 1 is preparation phase, whereas the second one is high volume, and the last one is low-volume high-intensity.

i tried to follow meadows’ principles as closely as possible and i hope this is not a mess. if this plan gets green lights, i plan on doing it for the full 12 weeks this summer and see how it goes.

let me know what i can improve it on!