Home Blog Strength Training Programs: What a Puppy Can Teach You About Resistance Training Progress

Strength Training Programs: What a Puppy Can Teach You About Resistance Training Progress

Written on October 22, 2010 at 6:46 am, by Eric Cressey

As I mentioned in a blog earlier this week, my wife and I got a puppy last weekend.  “Tank” is absolutely awesome and we (and all the CP clients) love him.

Like any puppy, though, it is going to take some time to housebreak him.  While he’s going to crap on the floor and pee on the carpet quite a bit over the first few months, we have faith in the fact that if we praise him like crazy and give him treats consistently each time he “goes” outside, he will get the point eventually and make great progress.  This “faith” has been present in every single pet owner with whom we’ve talked over the past month.

Nobody uses electroshock routines to try to “get through” to the puppy faster, and there aren’t thousands of supplements out there to expedite outdoor crappy progress.  People are patient and trust in the system.

Wouldn’t it be nice if those beginning strength training programs were like this???

I am fortunate to know a lot of people who have made ridiculous progress in the weight room and dramatically changed their bodies.  And, I can tell you that just about all of them chalk up a big chunk of their success to just consistently busting their humps – both in the weight room and the kitchen – for years.  I’ve never met a world-class bodybuilder, powerlifter, or other athlete that devotes a huge part of their success to a supplement they use, or radical training program they did in their first few years of training.  It’s funny, though; when I meet an up-and-coming lifter or athlete (and particularly professional baseball players), the first question is “what supplements should I take?”  I generally recommend “Shut up and Train” in softgel form.

I’ve commented before on how I attribute a big chunk of my success to the fact that I didn’t miss a single planned resistance training session in roughly eight years – and to end that streak, it took 32 inches of snow in 24 hours (and I made the lift up the next day).

Consistency is the most important thing – especially in beginners.  You don’t need reverse undulating cybernetic periodization with quasi-isometric inverted wave loading and contrast training; you need to shut up and pick up some heavy stuff, as anything will work as you begin as long as you are consistent.  Heck, I did garbage weight training programs straight out of bodybuilding magazines when I first got started and made great progress because there was no place to go but up.  All that mattered was that for two years, I went home after lifting and shoveled down about 1,500 calories of quality food each and every time.  My diet and training may not have been perfect (or even close to it), but they were damn consistent.

So, the next time you think that you start thinking that you’re super special and physiologically different from everyone else, imagine me standing out in my backyard at 5:30AM freezing my butt off while I wait for my puppy to drop a deuce so that he can take one more step toward awesomeness while you spin your wheels.  It might put things in perspective and have you back to the basics before you know it.

To take the guesswork out of your programming, check out Show and Go: High Performance Training to Look, Feel, and Move Better.

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12 Responses to “Strength Training Programs: What a Puppy Can Teach You About Resistance Training Progress”

  1. Jeremy Says:

    Why do you have your athlete in the video take such a wide stance in his front squat? Is he have weakness in hips, knee problems with a close stance, have a better leverage point because of his height…

  2. Eric Cressey Says:

    Jeremy, he’s got some crazy long femurs – so he needs to get the knees out pretty wide to avoid them getting in the way.

  3. John Says:

    How tall is he?

  4. Eric Cressey Says:


  5. Kyle Says:

    What are the rings around the foam roller that is shown in the picture with Tank and do they provide more durability for the foam roller?

    Tank is a very cute little puppy. Keep the faith and he’ll be house broken and no time.

  6. Shawn Thistle Says:


    How much “shut up and train” do you recommend? Do you complex that with quasi-isometric inverted wave loading or without?

    We could do a review on that for Research Review Service 🙂



  7. Eric Cressey Says:

    Kyle, those are just athletic tape. The texture helps the roller grip the thigh so that it doesn’t slide so much.

  8. Terry Despot Says:



    1)”Doggies are the best” I would whisper that to my “pup” all the time.

    “Shut up and train” doesn’t get any better than that. In soft gel form no less!!!

    Enjoy your puppy!!!!

  9. Rachel Says:

    Thanks for the support! Patience and hard, consistent work is definitely the key to a healthy lifestyle. As you may already realize, with your pup, you should show him exactly where you want him to go. You said you wait for him to “go”. Hopefully its not any where in the yard he wants. We always brought our pup out on a leash to the same bushes in the yard everyday. Eventually we could let him out on his own and he would stop there first everytime. (Too bad my neighbors didn’t do that, they always have piles all over!) Take care and have fun with your new fam! Rachel. 🙂

  10. mark Says:

    430 front squat and puppies! This site rocks!

  11. Dylan Jones Says:

    Cheers for the post Eric rather inspirational.
    I’ve been weight training and working in a local gym for little over a year now. I’m half way through your Maximum strength program it’s great I’m loving every training session works me hard and I’m seeing some great results already in strength, size, mobility and performance can’t ask for anything better than that. With my front squats I’ve noticed I have a wider stance as well (I’m 6-3, 180 pounds and nothing but legs) there a great lift and I’m loving all the Deadlifts 🙂 my buns and hurting from yesterday session got to love it.
    Can’t wait to start Show and Go


  12. Jeremy Says:

    I totally agree. Nothing can beat consistent improvements even if the program is not that great.

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