This article will give you a glimpse into the training of a Mountain Dog Leg session. I’ve been working with John Meadows on my programming for over a year now, and I am currently on program five, week eight. Program one, week one started hard, and the sessions have just gotten harder from there. I have been using a five-day split for my training program:

Day 1 – Legs

Day 2 – Shoulders

Day 3 – Arms

Day 4 – Chest

Day 5 – Back

Calves and abs are trained two to three times per week.

I take days off when I feel I need them, usually between arms and chest, and legs and shoulders, but this can be different every week. My training is also based on my work schedule, and I work a lot of hours. Some days I want to train but can’t, and others are more flexible. This split is designed to accommodate my schedule, with the main sessions, legs, chest, and back, falling on or around the weekend. Right now, it’s been chest on Saturday, back on Sunday, and legs on Monday. This leaves shoulders and arms during the bulk of the workweek. These are the two quickest and easiest sessions to fit in.

Cardio has also been part of the program and has been as high as one hour per day, every day, up to three times per week for 30 minutes. This is usually done before bed.

Over the past six months, I’ve gone from 287 pounds at 16% body fat down to 230 at 6%.  With the exception of some of the core lifts, I’m stronger and in far better condition than I’ve ever been.

In the future, John and I will sit down and knock out a full recap of what we have done and why to better illustrate the progression of this program. The end goal is to maintain a weight under 250 at 8% body fat. At this point, we need to take off a tad more fat and then begin adding some of the weight back very slowly to bring back some of the muscle I lost.

I was asked to post what one of his leg sessions looks like (these are BY FAR the most brutal part of all his programs). This article will tell exactly what was requested, explain the modifications, and show videos of the last sets.

The straight text is directly from the program sent to me from John Meadows. My notes are in italics.

Lying Leg Curls: 2–3 warm-up sets. Very simple this week, I want you to do 4 sets of 10 with perfect form. That’s it. Get your hams pumped and ready for stiff legs—4 total work sets. Set up bands for this.

I added some mini reps at the end of the last set. I’ve never been very strong on these because I’ve spent most of my training life developing hamstrings with more compound movements, such as Glute Ham Raises, RDLs, and Stiff Leg Deadlifts.

Here is a video of the last set.

Barbell Stiff-Legged Deadlifts: Ok, let’s work these hard. I want a pyramid. Use 25 lb. plates so you get a better stretch. Do sets of 8 as you go up. Do not come up all the way; only come up ¾ of the way, and make sure you have a slight bend in your knees. When you get to a fairly hard 8 reps, count that as the first set. Add 5–10 lbs. per set, and do 3 more after, for a total of 4 sets. Four total work sets.

I hate any kind of deadlift and just wrote an article about why this is so. So I changed the movement to machine stiff legs. I get a better feel doing these because it puts more stress on my hamstrings and less on my lower back. Here is the video of the last set.


Banded Leg Press: Ok, this is what you did last week. I want you to do several warm-up sets with the bands. Work your way up doing sets of 8 until you hit a weight that is very hard for 8. Stay there for your 4 sets. Keep your feet in (shoulder width), and place them in the middle of the platform. I want 4 hard sets of 8 with the bands. I want you to change something on the 4th  set this week. I want you to do 6, then drop the weight and do 6 going a little deeper, and then one more drop for 6, going really deep. Four total work sets.

Use the black monster mini bands for these.

I knew this was going to be hell going into it. I did five to seven warm-up sets before getting to my top weight (see video). I did three sets of eight with this and then hit the final set—strip set seen in the video. This was an ugly set. The shaking you see is due to spinal damage and the way my legs fire sometimes. It really means nothing and just looks uncoordinated. This is still one ugly set for about five different reasons. When it was all done, it completely messed me up and made me want to vomit. Oh, there is no way I’m using any type of mini band on a leg press. I used double light bands—one black monster mini is embarrassing!


Safety Bar Squats: I want you to do the same form you did last week on squats (trying to get parallel), and the same weight, but GIVE IT YOUR ALL to get 3 sets of 12. You did 10s last week. Three total work sets.

What kind of wise ass sticks squats AFTER all the other stuff? Simple answer—John Meadows. These were not that hard from a strength perspective, but breathing was a completely different issue. All three sets of 12 were done with three plates per side. Here is the last set:

Bodyweight Lunges: I want you to clasp your hands behind your head and do walking lunges, alternating legs as you go, for 20 steps on each leg. I want 2 rounds of this. Two total work sets.

I like to use the lunge platform to get a bigger stretch. For me it’s a bigger stretch. Here is my last set. These have gotten WAY better over time. I still have a long way to go on these, but after all the other stuff, I was happy to be able to do one repetition.

Leg Extensions

One set to failure with minis

This wasn’t in the program, but I figured what will one set hurt. I still had a bit left in me. I did make sure this extra movement involved sitting down. Walking at this time was becoming an issue.

Seated Calves

This has been my go-to movement lately. One set lasts one song. You can yield and stretch but can’t stop until the pain is unreal.  You can stop but no more than two times in one song, and only to stretch for a few seconds. This is extremely painful but effective.

If you like this article, I will post some other sessions in the future. From time to time, I will drop some of these videos in my training log and always (or almost always) write in every training session and diet modification I perform.

2011 elitefts™ Author of the Year