Strength Building Workouts

Texas Method Training System

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The Texas Method is one of the most difficult training systems out there, it is not aimed at new lifters, but instead intermediate and advanced lifters who’ve begun to stall in their training. It’s been described as perhaps the best program around for intermediate lifters. In this article we’ll be taking a look at what the Texas Method is, and how you can achieve amazing results with it.

The Origins of the Texas Method

Mark Rippetoe is one of the most famous strength coaches in the world, his work with CrossFit has elevated him to a public figure, yet before that he was mostly known in powerlifting circles. He has written for some of the biggest fitness websites, built numerous courses, and has sold many books. One of his most famous being “Practical Programming for Strength Training”.

It was in this book that Rippetoe first mentioned the Texas method, a training system he’d developed with weightlifting coach Glenn Pendlay (inventor of the Pendlay row and all around legend). The story goes that one of Glenn’s students was complaining about the workload one day when the class was supposed to be performing five sets of five reps of squats.

Pendlay promised the student that if he hit a personal best for one five rep set, he could go home for the day. The student achieved this and was able to go home early, but the seed of an idea was planted in Pendlay’s brain.

Rippetoe was simultaneously inspired by Canadian strongman Doug Hepburn who would perform five 1-rep sets followed by five 5-rep sets on bench press. Depending on who you listen to, it was either this or Pendlay’s experience that led to the Texas Method, but it could well have been a combination of the two.

The Texas Method

You have three days of training each week in the Texas Method, Monday is volume day, Wednesday is Recovery day, and Friday is Intensity day. This is what the program looks like:

Monday: Volume Day

  • Barbell Squat 5 sets of 5 reps (90% of 5 rep max)
  • Bench Press (or) Overhead Press 5 sets of 5 reps (90% of 5 rep max)*
  • Deadlift 1 set of 5 reps (90% of 5 rep max)

*alternate each week

Wednesday: Recovery Day

  • Barbell Squat 2 sets of 5 reps (using 80% of the weight you used on Monday)
  • Bench Press (or) Overhead Press 3 sets of 5 reps (90% of Monday’s weight)*
  • Chin Up (Bodyweight) 3 sets till failure
  • Back Extension (or) Glute Ham Raises 5 sets of 10 reps*

*alternate each week

Friday: Intensity Day

  • Barbell Squat warm up and then 1 set of 5 reps (for a new 5 rep max)
  • Bench Press (or) Overhead Press 1 set of 5 reps (for a new 5 rep max)*
  • Power Clean (or) Power Snatch 5 sets of 3 reps (or) 6 sets of 2 reps*

*alternate each week

Note: Rest can be for as long as you need, Rippetoe mentions resting for around 8-10 minutes between sets. This is a lot longer than many gym goers are used to resting, but most powerlifters will find this about right (maybe even a little short!).

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there really isn’t too much to talk about with the Texas Method Training System. It is very simple, but brutally difficult. There isn’t much deadlifting involved, just one set on Mondays, and there is a lot of squatting. The main thing to pay attention to is your recovery days. These need to be filled with high protein meals, a lot of sleep, and some low-intensity walking. You really can’t afford to mess around with your recovery on this program.

Have you tried the Texas Method training system? Let us know how you got on with it in the comments below!

Steve Shaw

Steve Shaw is the founder of Muscle and Brawn, and a powerlifter with 30+ years of experience. Steve's recorded a 600lb squat, 672lb deadlift and a 382lb bench press.
Steve Shaw

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