Introduction to the Texas Method
The Texas Method is a very popular follow up routine after Starting Strength gains come to a halt. This routine has a proven track record, focuses on the important compound movements, and has you in the gym three days per week.
Most will find this routine to have variety, and hold the lifters interest due to its varying days from the beginning of the week to the end of the week.
Is the Texas Method for you?
If you are at an intermediate level, the Texas Method will be a great routine to try, and is highly recommended.
If you are a beginner level lifter, you may achieve faster progress on a Beginner level routine. In the beginner stage, you will be able to make session by session strength gains, this program does not have that rate of increase.
Mark Rippetoe recommends this program for those with 18 – 24+ months of continuous, proper training.
Texas Method Routine Explained
Many people have tweaked the sets and reps, and time after time they come back to 5 sets of 5 across as the best driver of long-term progress. – Mark Rippetoe
The Texas Method has you training three days per week. Each day is considered a full body workout, where you will Squat and do upper body. Monday is the highest volume day of the week, Wednesday is considered a light day, and Friday has the heaviest weights, considered to be the “intensity day”.
You can do several different rep and set schemes as long as you stick with the Texas Method structure of a high volume day at the beginning of the week, a light workout in the middle of the week, and a high intensity day at the end of the week.
A brief outline of the routines structure, laid out by Rippetoe, is as follows:
Monday – Volume Day
- Squat 5×5 at 90% of 5 rep max
- Bench Press or OHP 5×5 at 90% of 5 rep max
- Deadlift 1×5 at 90% of 5 rep max
Wednesday – Light/Recovery Day
- Squat 2×5 at 80% of Mondays weight
- OHP (if you benched on Monday) 3×5 at a slightly lighter load than previous 5×5. Bench Press (if you OHP on Monday) 3×5 at 90% of previous 5×5 weight.
- Chin Ups 3x bodyweight
- Back Extensions or glute-ham raises 5×10
Friday – Intensity Day
- Squats warmup, then work up in singles or doubles to one single, new 5RM
- Bench Press (if you bench pressed Monday) or overhead press (if OHP on Monday), warm-up, then work up in singles or doubles to one single, new 5RM
- Power Cleans 5 x 3 reps or power snatch, 6 x 2 reps
You want Friday’s weights higher than Monday’s, but not so much that form breaks down on the last reps. If it does, you picked a weight that is too heavy.
The key to the Texas Method is not workout-to-workout progress, but rather weekly progress. You are trying to progress on your Monday and Friday lifts. Once you have accomplished the prescribed lifts, increase the weight for the next week.
Progression and Gain
Typical progression is about 5-10 pound increases weekly. Over time, this compounds into considerable progress at the intermediate stage.
“If five months of novice progression took you from a 95-pound squat at a bodyweight of 140 to a 315 x 5 squat at a bodyweight of 200, the Texas Method will take you to 405 x 5 squat at a bodyweight of 225 in a year.” – Mark Rippetoe
If hitting PR’s on Friday is starting to become more difficult, cut back on your Monday’s volume. Cutting back on the number of sets, or even lightening the weight on Monday’s workout will generally help with Friday’s progression.
If you are unable to increase the weights used on Friday, but Monday’s workout is able to be completed, you may need to change the Monday’s workout. An increase in volume (reps and sets), or simply a change in Monday’s workout will generally get you back to setting personal records. Here are some examples to help increase the stimulus from Monday’s workout:
- Adding an extra set.
- Keeping the total number of reps constant, but switching to slightly higher weight and lower reps (instead of 5×5 (25 reps) with 300 Lb, do 8×3 (24 reps) with 315 Lb).
- One or two higher rep sets after the regular sets are completed.
If regression occurs not only on Friday, but Monday as well, then Monday’s workload may be too high. A few possible solutions may be to drop a set or two, reduce the work set weight, or reduce the reps on work sets on Monday’s workout. This should help with recovery.
Tips for Texas Method
- Keep the reps explosive, but controlled
- Limit any assistance exercises to some brief arm work on Monday
- Pay special attention to recovery. The Texas Method will wear you out quickly if you are not eating, and sleeping properly.
- Warm up light. Start with the bar, and perfect the groove.
- Weights should be heavy, especially on Friday, but if your form is breaking down at any point, you picked a weight too heavy. Lower the weights back down.
- You can use dynamic effort on Friday and perform explosive deadlifts in place of power cleans. But remember, the deadlifts must be pulled fast.
Mark Rippetoe’s and Glenn Pendlay are to credit for this routine. It is said that this routine came originally from Glenn Pendlay’s athletes becoming bored with the standard 5×5 three times weekly. As a response, Pendlay said to his athletes “If you hit a 1×5 personal record on Friday, you don’t need to do five sets total; you can just stick to one set on Friday and go home,” from there the idea was born.