The Texas Method
THE TEXAS METHOD
This method uses a sharp contrast in training variables between the beginning and the end of the week. High volume at moderate intensity is used at the first of the week, a light workout is done in the middle for maitenance of motor pathways, and then a high intensity workout at very low volume ends the week.
This simple program is probably the most productive routine in existence for trainees at this level. It is usually the first program to use when simple linear programming doesnt work anymore. The trainee is transition from a novice to an intermediate is unable to make progress with either a workoutload he can recover from enough to do 2 to 3 times per week, or conversely, a workload that is stressful enough to produce the stress/adaptation/supercompensation cycle that he cannot recover from quickly enough to do 2 to 3 times per week.
In-Depth Coverage With Examples, Modifications, etc etc etc
In the Texas Method, the workout at the beginning of the week is the "stress" workout, the lighter midweek workout comes during the recovery period, and the last, higher-intensity/lower-volume workout is done when the trainee has recovered enough to show an increase in perfermance. The total weekly training volume and training stress is low enough that as each week begins the trainee has no accumulated fatigue from the previous week, yet the one "stress" workout on Monday is high enough in volume to trigger an adaptation, and the heavy single set on Friday provides enough intensity that neuromuscular function is reinforced without fatally upping the volume.
A classic example of this variation would be a squat program where, after warm-ups, Monday's workout is 5 work sets of 5 across, Wednesday's is lighter - perhaps 5's at 80% of 5RM, or front squats for a variation in exercise technique - and Friday's is a single heavier set of 5. It looks like this:
Squat, 5 sets of 5 reps
Squat, 2 light sets of 5
Front Squat, 3 sets of 3
Squat, One heavy set of 5
Here is another example of this basic intermediate template, this time for pressing exercises:
Push Press, 6 sets of 3 reps
Press, 2 sets of 5 reps
Push Press, 1RM, 2RM, or 3RM
Most intermediate trainees will be able to spend months making progress on programs set up like this one. Different set and rep schemes can be used, as long as the basic template of a volume workout, a light workout, and an intensity workout is followed.
The Monday workout should be stressful enough to cause hemeostatic disruption. The second training session should be enough work that the muscles involved are used through the range of motion, but at a load that does not add to the disruption caused by the first workout. The third day should be an attempt at a personal record.
When a program like this is started, the goal is to make progress on both Monday and Friday, just as in the novice program. When all the prescribed sets and reps on Monday are accomplished, raise the weight for the next week. If a new 1RM is set on Friday, next week try for a new 2RM. In essense, linear progress is still being made, but the line is now being drawn between Monday and Monday and Friday and Friday, instead of between Monday and Wednesday.
Very often, after 4 or 5 weeks of the progress with personal records getting more difficult on Friday, what is needed to keep the cycle running for a few more weeks is nothing more than a slight reduction in Monday's workload. Cut back the number of sets, or even the weight on the bar a little, and progress on Friday's workout can usually be sustained. The object is to make Monday's workout stressful enough to spur progress, not so stressful that it interferes with Friday's PR.
If progress simply stalls, with no reduction in the ability to complete Monday's workouts but an absense of personal records on Fridays, the stress needed to spur progress is probably not being applied on Monday. Often an increase or slight change in Monday's workout will restore progress. Adding a set is a good idea. Or, holding the total number of reps constant while using more lower-rep sets with a slightly higher weight also works well.
If however, actual regression occurs, not only in Friday's workout but with staleness carrying over into Monday, then usually the workload on Monday is too high, and residual unrecovered fatigue is creeping in. Possible solutions could be to drop a set or two from the sets across, reduce the work-set weight, or reduce the reps in the work sets - from 5 sets of 5 with 300 pounds to 5 sets of 3 with 300 for example.
A valuable training tool that fits very well into this template is speed sets, as popularized by Louie Simmons in his Westside method. High intensity training, the utilization of a very high percentage of force production capacity, is very productive but difficult to recover from in large doses.
When beginning this type of training, it is normal to continue to use 5 sets of 5 on Monday and replace Friday's workout with speed sets. usually u do a 3 week cycle in Westside.
Week 1: 12 sets of 2 reps @ 50% of 1RM
Week 2: 12 sets of 2 reps @ 55% of 1RM
Week 3: 10 sets of 2 reps @ 60% of 1RM
this cycle is then repeated many many times.
The object is to really explode under the bar and complete each set as quickly as possible. It is normal to take 2 to 3 workouts to get adjusted to this system. If even the last rep of the last set slows down, the weight is too heavy. In fact, the first time this workout is used, the last set of 3 should be noticeably faster than the first. The speed workout is substituted for the PR workout on Friday, with the high volume workout remaining as the primary stressor on Monday.
The Texas Model works in 3 sessions:
High Volume / Moderate Intensity Session
Low Volume / Low Intensity Session
Low Volume / High Intensity Session
In summary, this is how it is outlined:
High Volume / High Intensity Session
Squats 5 sets of 5 reps across
Bench Press 5 sets of 5 reps across
JS Rows / Power Cleans 5 sets of 5 reps across
Low Volume / Low Intensity Session
Squats 2 sets of 5 reps @ 80% of Monday
Press 3 sets of 5 reps
Deadlift 1 set of 5 reps
Low Volume / High Intensity Session
Squats 1 set of 5 new PR
Bench Press 1 set of 5 new PR
Pull-ups 3 sets to failure
the last program is a mere example and can be modified in many many ways.
This is a routine I've always liked the look of, very simple and effective. I still have Practical Programming to read from when I was going to switch to TM over christmas.
Great post BTB. I think Mark Rippetoe is one of the best authors in the world. I haven't read practical programming yet but I've read starting strength and loved it. Anyway time I begin to train someone I always start by making them watching videos usually by Mark Rippetoe, Joe DeFranco, Dave Tate, and Louie Simmons.
The only disagreement I have with Mark Rippetoe is in regards to the "no rows" logic he uses. I don't think power cleans, presses, deadlifts and optional chinups are enough to train the scapulae retractors specifically and the external rotators. I strongly believe every routine with a bench press should have an identical frequency for horizontal pulling.
One more think he says I think is a little off is the gallon of milk per day crap. I mean what if the person is lactose intolerant? Liquids is never a replacement for actual food breakdown if you're not gaining weight just eat more. Of course you can drink a lot of milk but a gallon everyday is a lot and not to mention expensive.
I prefer a natural head position with a concentration on driving the head up while driving the hips out of the hole. This doesn't mean throwing my eyes to the ceiling; my eyes remain pretty neutral during the squat.
If you get in a half squat position and lift your head up ever so slightly you can feel the back, hips and glutes working with it, naturally trying to follow and working with you to stand up. Where the head wants to go, the body will naturally follow.
When I am locking out a heavy squat and deadlift the only form cue I ever think about is "stand up; drive the head up."
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