The 2019 Starter’s Guide Workout Plan

This training program is designed for beginners, but it doesn't dial down the intensity.
2019 M&F Starter's Guide Workout Plan
Edgar Artiga / M+F Magazine

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  • Skill level

    Beginner

  • Days per week

    4

  • Type

    Muscle Endurance, Strength Training

  • Skill level

    Beginner

  • Days per week

    4

  • Type

    Muscle Endurance, Strength Training

While most beginner programs focus on compound moves, such as the Big Three—bench press, squat, and deadlift—performed with heavy weight and low reps, Meadows feels that neglects a necessary component of becoming a bodybuilder: the mind-to-muscle connection. Mountain Dog training focuses on maximum muscle growth (hypertrophy) by using isolation exercises performed on machines as a method of developing this all-important link.

“Isolation exercises develop powerful neuromuscular innervation and neural drive, aka the mind-to-muscle connection, by placing mental and neurological focus on a targeted muscle group,” Meadows explains. “If you cannot contract a muscle in isolation, you’ll never be able to fully contract it in a compound movement.”

1109-Incline-Dumbbell-Press-Starters-Guide
Edgar Artiga / M+F Magazine

Intensify

We’re not scoffing at compound exercises or strength. Both are necessary, and Mountain Dog training utilizes them, but training for size requires specific intensity techniques and varying sets and reps to stimulate growth.

“By using intensification techniques and effective execution of reps, you’ll create not only an opportunity for muscle growth but also greater potential for strength gains on compound exercises,” Meadows says.

Fantastic Four

Each workout is organized into four distinct phases to achieve optimal hypertrophy while building strength and preventing injury.

PHASE 1 – PRE-PUMP ACTIVATION EXERCISE
This movement is easy on your joints, tendons, and ligaments. It allows you to feel the target muscle, serving as a warmup for the compound movement. This exercise is not an isolation movement designed to pre-exhaust; it’s used to pump, not fatigue, the target muscle.

PHASE 2 – EXPLOSIVE EXERCISE
This exercise is a compound barbell movement in which the weight is lowered under control and driven up hard and fast. Sets are done by gradually adding weight until you lose speed and can barely keep the bar moving.

PHASE 3 – SUPRA-MAXIMAL PUMP EXERCISE
Your intention is to maximize blood flow and metabolic stress. You’ll hammer the target muscle with high-intensity techniques and pump it to its limit with dropsets, partial reps, and forced reps.

PHASE 4 – LOADED STRETCHING EXERCISE
The goal is to get a complete and safe range of motion with the target muscle being fully elongated. In addition to these dynamic loaded stretching moves, do loaded static stretching at the end of the workout to encourage greater elongation of the muscle belly.

The Plan

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  • Skill level

    Beginner

  • Days per week

    4

  • Type

    Muscle Endurance, Strength Training

Training Split

You’ll follow this split: two days on, one off, one on, one off. On the sixth day, cycle through the split again.

  • Day 1

    Legs

    --

    5

    Yes

    Legs

  • Day 2

    Chest, Shoulders, Tris

    --

    9

    Yes

    Chest, Shoulders, Tris

  • Day 3

    Rest

  • Day 4

    Back and Biceps

    --

    6

    Yes

    Back and Biceps

  • Day 5

    Rest

  • Day 6

    Legs

    --

    --

    No

    Legs

    Repeat cycle from <a href="/2019-starters-guide/workout?day=1">Day 1</a>

Abs

Train abs twice a week on any two days of your choosing.

Lower Abs Pick one lower-abs exercise and do two sets of 25 reps: hanging leg raise, elbow-supported leg raise or decline bench leg raise
Upper Abs Pick one upper-abs exercise and do two sets of 15-25 reps: incline situp, rope pulldown/crunch or band crunch

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