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Mountain dog training for the more advanced

Mountain Dog Training für etwas Fortgeschrittene

As the inventor of the Mountain Dog training system, even I will admit that it can be a bit brutal.

I've gotten hundreds of hateful emails and obscene text messages over the years from readers and clients telling me they were too sore to climb a few flights of stairs or even sit on the toilet after a Mountain Dog leg workout.

And for the last time, no, I do not have stock in any brand that sells adult diapers.

This has led me to characterize the Mountain Dog training system as an "advanced" training system, suitable for exercisers who have exhausted most traditional training methods. Basically, I agree that just like dieting, it makes sense to try to get the most out of the least.

In other words, this means the following: Why do a full-on Mountain Dog leg workout to get rolled out of the gym on a stretcher when a simpler program of linear progression and basic exercises will work?

But there is a large category of so-called "somewhat advanced exercisers." These guys are more muscular and stronger than rank beginners, but not yet developed enough to do damage on a bodybuilding stage or a powerlifting platform. Are these guys ready for Mountain Dog yet? Maybe, but maybe not.

With that in mind, here is my classification of beginners, somewhat advanced exercisers and advanced exercisers:

Beginner

  • Less than 2 years of experience in the gym and weight room
  • Strength is modest. Cannot yet move own weight on bench press or squat.
  • Not coordinated enough to perform heavy basic exercises well. Needs plenty of supervision and help.
  • Often cannot feel target muscles working.
  • Cannot understand most cues such as "keep your elbows close to your body" or "lift your sternum".
  • Body development can vary greatly, but will usually have little muscle fullness, little muscle roundness, little vascularity, and little visible muscle separation or striations. Could even be "skinny fat" (skinny and flabby at the same time).

Somewhat advanced exercisers

  • Usually have 2 years or more of training experience in the weight room or gym.
  • Are capable of performing the basic heavy exercises in a serviceable manner.
  • Can feel most muscles working well.
  • Understands most verbal training cues.
  • Has useful strength levels. Can probably perform a few repetitions of bench presses with own body weight (or 15 kilos less for females) and a few repetitions of squats with own weight plus 50 kilos (or body weight plus 15 kilos for females) with good form.
  • Body development shows signs of good development and is usually described as "athletic". Could have a few muscle groups that are lean and of a useful size and fullness. Again, body development can vary significantly.

Advanced exercisers

  • Five years or more experience in the weight room or gym.
  • Very good at performing basic multi-joint exercises. Understands how to use machines and position own body to target specific muscles.
  • Understands the little things, like the correct elbow movement path when rowing. Good kinesthetic awareness.
  • Has successfully used descending sets, supersets and other intensity techniques.
  • Has mental toughness, having already pushed himself hard to break through plateaus.
  • Can feel his muscles working well.
  • Very good at understanding verbal training cues.
  • Body development may vary, but may be able to strip and have good vascularity combined with some "under the radar" muscle development such as leg flexors and posterior shoulder muscles.

More on beginners

To top it off, some "insanity" is not necessary if you are a beginner. Strive to master the basic exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, leg presses, barbell curls, tricep presses, etc. You will only become more muscular and stronger by performing the basic exercises and focusing on increasing the weight or number of repetitions.

The focus should be on surpassing your performance from previous workouts and performing all exercises with perfect form. Don't let the need to move more weight dictate your exercise form - it should be consistent and near perfect. Keep your training simple and grow.

The next step: Welcome to Mountain Dog Land for the slightly more advanced

Now it's time to increase the volume and intensity to superhuman levels, right? Not so fast. At this level, I'm going to challenge you a little more with some high-intensity sets and increase your volume a bit - but not to an advanced level. Here's my simple way of explaining the main differences between an advanced workout and a somewhat advanced workout:

Volume

The volume will be lower for intermediate users. The table below shows a typical 12 week program model:

Phase 1 (weeks 1-3)

Phase 2 (week 4-9)

Phase 3 (week 10-12)

Somewhat advanced

6-8 sets *

8-12 sets *

6-8 sets *

Advanced

9-12 sets *

12-20 sets *

7-10 sets *

* Depending on the size of the muscle group.

Why such a moderate approach? Again, it's all about getting the most out of the least. The somewhat advanced program is a step up from what beginners would do, but still doesn't include everything that advanced exercisers would do. This still means additional stress and muscle breakdown, which will set the stage for continued gains.

What about unloading phases?

With advanced programs, I recommend that you take a lighter training week or a completely non-training week if you feel you need to. If you have been doing the program correctly, then you will probably need a break of some kind.

For more advanced programs, unloading is usually not necessary. Even if you push yourself harder, you will not reach the threshold of overtraining or overreaching.

What about the training frequency

I often use five or even six day programs for advanced exercisers. Advanced athletes usually have a better handle on their supplements and nutrition, which is another factor that allows them to push themselves harder and for a longer period of time.

Somewhat advanced athletes will not use more than the standard four training days per week. This helps to build fitness and establish good habits in terms of training style and lifestyle. Form your habits now, as these will become a necessity when you are ready to take a step up to the advanced exerciser level.

Exercise Rotation

In advanced training programs, I never schedule the same workout twice in a row. At this level of training, you need to continually find ways to shock your body. The "keep it simple" motto that got you to this level in the first place is no longer the best choice when it comes to staying ahead of the adaptation curve.

For the more advanced, we will keep a basic core exercise in the same place (usually the second exercise performed) in the training session. We will change the execution of this exercise, but this exercise will be performed in this spot every week.

Here are a few examples:

Chest workout for slightly advanced, week 1 (8 work sets)

Exercise

Sets

A

Dumbbell incline bench press *

3

8

B

Barbell incline bench press * *

4

12, 10, 8, 6

C

Dumbbell press with rotation

3

10

* after increasing the weight in pyramid style up to a heavy weight

* * the last two sets are considered working sets

Chest training session for slightly advanced users, week 1 (10 work sets)

Exercise

Sets

A

Dumbbell press on the reverse incline bench *

3

10

B

Barbell incline bench press * *

4

10, 8, 6, 4

C

Ladder push-ups

2

Muscle failure

D

Dips for the pectoralis minor

1

Muscle failure

* after increasing the weight in pyramid style up to a heavy weight

* * the last two sets are considered working sets

As you can see, the basic exercise remains in position 2 and will likely remain in this position throughout the program, while only some minor changes are made to the number of repetitions performed and the form used.

This allows the trainee to maintain focus on a good foundational exercise while providing them with a way to assess and evaluate their strength. Eventually these exercisers will reach the advanced level and the weights moved will still be important, but not as important as the intensity generated during the set.

Compare this to 2 weeks of an advanced program:

Intermediate Chest Workout, Week 1 (10 work sets)

Exercise

Sets

A

Dumbbell incline bench press *

4

8

B

Barbell incline bench press * *

5

12, 10, 8, 7, 6

C

Dumbbell press with rotation

3

10

* after increasing the weight in pyramid style up to a heavy weight

* * the last two sets are considered working sets

Chest training session for advanced users, week 2 (12 work sets)

Exercise

Sets

A

Dumbbell press on the reverse incline bench *

3

10 *

B

Bench press on reverse incline bench with bands * *

5

5

C

Ladder push-ups

2

Muscle failure

D

Dips for the pectoralis minor

2

Muscle failure

* after increasing the weight in pyramid style up to a heavy weight

* * the last two sets are considered working sets

As you can see, the entire selection of exercises changes during the second week and will completely change again during the third week.

Intensity

For more advanced users, I slowly start to add more intensity to their programs for an extra push.

As you can see below, the main difference between somewhat advanced and advanced exercisers is in Phase 2. I believe in throwing everything I can at the exerciser during this phase, but I hold back a bit with somewhat advanced exercisers as they are typically just getting used to using high-intensity techniques on a weekly basis.

Somewhat Advanced:

Phase 1 (weeks 1-3)

Phase 2 (week 4-9)

Phase 3 (week 10-12)

6-8 sets *

One of these sets could be a descending set, a rest/pause set, a set with additional partial repetitions, etc.

This prepares you for phase 2.

8-12 sets *

Two or three of these sentences could be descending sentences, brutal rest/pause sentences, sentences with additional partial repetitions, etc.

This prepares for phase 3.

We increased the intensity of Phase 1, but did so logically and slowly.

6-8 sets *

Two or three of these sets will be very high intensity.

These are fewer total sets to aid recovery from phase 2, which should have been very heavy.

It is during this lower intensity phase that you will grow the most.

Advanced:

Phase 1 (week 1-3)

Phase 2 (week 4-9)

Phase 3 (week 10-12)

9-12 sets *

Two or three of these sets could be a descending set, a rest/pause set, a set with additional partial repetitions, etc.

12-20 sets *

4 to 10 of these sets could be descending sets, rest/pause sets, sets with additional partial repetitions, etc.

This is a grueling time. My goal is to push you to the edge of overreaching, and maybe a little beyond, and bring you back in.

7-10 sets *

Two of these sets could be descending sets, brutal rest/pause sets, sets with additional partial reps, etc.

This is the phase during which you will see the most growth, as we allow the body to grow with slightly less volume after phase 2.

* Depending on the size of the muscle group.

Working with bands

When used correctly, bands are a great way to add intensity to your training. They are not often used in the bodybuilding world, but I have adapted their use to fit a hypertrophy model. I also like to use chains when they are available.

Somewhat advanced

Phase 1 (week 1-3)

Phase 2 (week 4-9)

Phase 3 (week 10-12)

No training with bands

A few sets with bands - primarily to learn the technique and add some extra intensity.

No training with bands

Advanced

Phase 1 (week 1-3)

Phase 2 (week 4-9)

Phase 3 (week 10-12)

No training with bands

6 weeks of very structured training with bands with weekly increasing loads. 6 weeks will take you to the threshold of overreaching or beyond if done correctly.

No training with bands

Final thoughts on somewhat advanced exercisers Even though this article is training based, it would be remiss not to mention the value of proper nutrition and supplementation.

The more advanced your training program becomes, the higher your training intensity and volume will be. Your body needs fuel - it needs high quality food and in some cases supplements to deliver maximum results.

Training and nutrition must always receive equal attention if you want to achieve exceptional results. If your diet is poor, then I can guarantee you that my program won't do much except teach you some cool exercises. However, if your diet is top notch, then you will see results - I can guarantee that.

Moving from beginner to somewhat advanced status is an important milestone, as this is the point at which dedicated bodybuilders begin to separate themselves from many recreational athletes. But going straight from a basic program to an extreme mountain dog approach is unwise, unnecessary and counterproductive. Try some of these intermediate steps and take your body one step closer to the advanced level.

Source: https://www.t-nation.com/training/mountain-dog-training-for-intermediates

From John Meadows

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