His leg articles went over very well, so here's the next installment, "One Cold-blooded Chest Training – Mountain Dog Style."

Back Story

I’m not sure if I described in past articles how I got in touch with John Meadows and why I'm using him for my training and nutritional programing. I will keep this as short as I can so we can get to the training.

About 18 months ago, I was dealing with some VERY big issues in my life. Every aspect with being majorly impacted from the loss of my father, a very big business deal became very ugly and we had to walk away at a very large financial loss (and a lot of wasted time), my wife suffering from a major pulmonary embolism that required emergency open heart surgery and numerous issues with the school system and my son (special needs – read my angry birds posts). All of this happened within eight weeks of each other and were all intertwined. Needless to say, my focus in the weight room was NOT good at all and my diet was getting bad, real bad.

With so many other higher priority items that required my focus, I didn’t have the time to think about my training or nutrition. I was taught as a child that I have to always take care of myself if I expect to take care of other people or issues. As I walked in the gym I realized I had no idea what I wanted to do and really didn’t want to do anything…

Now this is where the problem started. I KNOW not just for physical reasons, but for metal ones I HAVE to be in the gym training my ass off. Once this hit me, I sent an e-mail to Shelby and asked him to send me a leg training session. I didn’t explain why, nor did I really want to.

Within 15 minutes I got an email that said, "Try This…"

It was one of John’s leg sessions. I can’t remember what it was now, but it was insanely brutal. Shelby was months into this type of training and he sent me one of the sessions that destroyed him. I had no idea what to expect so this session tore me up.


Later that week, I e-mailed and spoke to John and let him know what was going on, my past nutrition and training experience and that I really didn’t have any training goals. Basically, I wanted to turn it ALL over to him. My goals, training and nutrition would be outsourced to him. John still works a full-time professional job as a bank manager and has a boatload of clients, so I knew his time was valuable and didn’t expect any of this to be free. I was just hoping he had the time to do it. If you think about what I was asking and my history, this was a tall order. He was good with it, so all we had to do was agree on the compensation and get started.

I will write in other installments about some of John’s methods and what we have done, but I did say I would keep this short and already said what I needed to say for this one.

Before getting into the training, I want to make one other note that over the past eight months, I've been training with John every Saturday. I think this started as a way to hold me accountable, but also led to some insane training sessions and a great friendship. I’m point this out because I'll post what the chest training for the day was programed to be, but then post what we did. Most of the time what is on paper gets tossed out the window when we train together. The volume stays close to what it is supposed to be, but the movements can be different.

What We Were Supposed to Do

This is from John’s program notes that he sent to me. This is from Program 5 week 9.

Chest - 16 sets & Shoulders – 14 sets

  • Machine or hammer incline press: 2-3 sets of 10 to warmup. Pyramid up doing sets of 8. Once you get to a tough 8, hit 3 sets of 8 hard. Do not lockout on these this week. I want continuous tension. I also want a fourth set. This will be a drop set. I want you to add a little weight and do around 6 reps, then drop to a weight you can get for another 6, then drop again, and do 15 partials out of the bottom. These are just pulses, or half reps out of the bottom. 4 total work sets.
  • Banded bench: Do 4 sets of 5 here. Set the weight down on your chest, then blast it off and flex at the top. Use the set of black monster minis on these. Try to use a little more then you used last week on these. We moved this up in the exercise order this week, so you should be able to. On the other hand, the drop set might make the first set or two challenging. 4 total work sets.

If you have chains, you can use two sets of chains on each side on these.

  • Pec minor dips: Push yourself up by flexing pecs, don’t bend your arms! If you can add a little weight and still get 8 reps, go for it. 

Superset these with

  • Decline dumbell press: Get a nice deep stretch and flex 6 reps really hard. Doing these after the pec minor dips will destroy your lower pecs. 

Do 4 rounds for 8 total work sets here.

  • Machine rear delts: I want 6 sets of 15 reps with a one-second flex, and only take 45 seconds between sets – FIRE!!! 6 total work sets.
  • Dumbbell side laterals:- Regular sets of 10 reps.

Superset these with

  • Spider crawls – Go up and down the wall three times per set. 

Do 4 rounds for 8 total work sets.

This Is What We Did

  • Decline with bands: using double mini bands we did 3 warmup sets of 8 with one plate per side (PPS) and then worked up to 4 sets of 6, with short rest periods. We pushed the concentric as explosive as we could. I trained with Ryan Smith and John Meadows and when we train, the sets are usually back-to-back, so the rest periods are under one minute.

Here is my first set…

  • Incline super set: For the flys, the range of motion was between 10 and 2 o'clock, with constant tension for 10 reps. We did not rest and moved right into the Super Shoulder Saver Bar for 6 reps. After 4 rotations, we did one extra high rep set without the flys first.

Here are some are the sets…

  • Cable flies with 3” Training Grenades super set with pec minor dips: I wanted to use the grenades for this, so I could see how they felt. I don’t want this to be a sales article, but these attachments are awesome! I’ve used them for grip work, flys, triceps, biceps, shoulders and every single movement I use them with is made better! We did 4 rotations of these two movements. The flies were for 8-12 reps and the pec minor dips were to failure.

Here is one of my sets…

  • Incline smith JM presses with bands: We tossed in some extra tricep work. This was a real treat to do after all the other movements. I was lucky to get 5-6 reps with any of the sets. We did 4 sets.

Here are two of the sets…

  • Rear delt cables with training grenades: Due to my shoulders being trashed, we always toss in some rear delt work on this day. On this movement, we do one set of 15, then 12, then 10, and finally a very high rep set. The high rep set is performed using mini reps and will light your shoulder up!

Here are some of the sets…

  • Swiss Bar lat pulldowns: For a reason that I have no idea why, John decided we needed to toss in some lat work at the end of this session. Nothing crazy, just 4 sets of 8-10 with short rest periods – adding weight each set.

After spending 15 minutes going over what I needed to do for my diet the following week, the session was over and another one was in the books.

For more information on John Meadows and his Diet and Training Programs click HERE