In the first days we start going to a gym, we get the novice status where we can grow up with literally any kind of training program since our muscles are miles away from the potential they have.
After some time, we get more accustomed with our body. That training program that worked once, is almost useless. Something needs to be changed.
What happens next is you continue training for months and months, and eventually you will reach that phase where everything slows down.
You don’t see the progress you experienced in the beginning of your training days.
Your body is accustomed in handling big weights, and now it requires a higher workload for each session.
Welcome to the planet of intermediate lifters where everything that contains big weights plus intelligent programming and diet equals limitless progress.
The progression doesn’t come as easy as when you were a novice.
The misapplication of correct training principles and variables in this phase would most likely result in a serious imbalances between recovery and stress. In layman’s terms, you are simply short-circuiting your gains.
Click here to download the texas method spreadsheet.
The Texas Method Explained
In the beginning of the week you will use high volume coupled with moderate intensity, after which you continue with a light workout in the middle of the week.
That workout is practically done for the maintenance of motor pathways, finishing the week with the high intensity low volume day.
Don’t worry if it sounds too complicated at first because as I will explain it, you will see that everything is so simple and logical.
It is created like this to be used when simple linear progression isn’t working anymore for you. As you transition from the novice status to intermediate, your progress comes a little slower.
Most of the time, if you want to get stronger or bigger, you have to change something. Now, it’s the training program:
The Texas Method
Monday – The Volume Day Workout
- Squat – 5×5 at 90 % of your true 5RM
- Bench Press/Overhead Press – 5×5 at 90 % of your true 5RM
- Deadlifts – 1×5 at 90 % of your true 5RM
You repeat the same weight across the whole workout.
The 90% of your true 5RM is chosen because it’s proven to be the ideal repetition range where you can complete 5 sets with the same weight with no more than 8-12 minutes of rest in total.
Example: If you squat 350 for 5 reps, use 90% of that weight to set your workout for Monday in the case of squats.
So 90% of 350 = 315
This weight should be used for all sets: 315 x 5 sets x 5 reps.
For the overhead press, and the bench press, you can use the same style and even alternate between these two exercises from workout to workout.
We use the 1RM for the deadlifts because they don’t usually work well with higher volume. As you dive into higher repetition ranges while doing them, the form breaks, and you risking lower back injury.
This 1 set of deadlifts will be enough because you get enough volume from all of the previous work you do. Also, make sure you progress on the deadlift.
The assistance work is not necessary but you can do whatever you want like arm work or abs work.
Don’t forget to limit them in such a way that they don’t hamper your recovery.
Stalling on Monday and how to overcome it:
You wanted to do the 5×5 workout as written but only managed to squeeze 3 reps on the last set?
You get that failure on Friday also?
You can try these solutions:
- Reduce volume on Monday
- Stay with the same weight for the next week
- Reduce the sets from 5×5 to 4×5 or 3×5
- Reset the weight 5% for a week and circle it back up the next week
- Reduce volume and/or intensity on Wednesday
- Use your head
Don’t try to apply all of them, chose 1-2 options on go from there until you get those 5 sets of 5.
Wednesday – The Light Work Workout Explained
- Squats – 2×5 at 80 % of the Monday’s squat work sets
- Bench Press – 3×5 at 90 % of your previous Monday 5×5 weight (you are going to bench press in case you overhead pressed Monday – we alternate bench press and overhead press) – the same principle apply to your overhead press in case you bench pressed
- Chin Ups – your bodyweight is enough for this exercise for 3 sets but don’t overdo it
- Back Extensions or Variations 5 x 10
This day is self explanatory, nothing more to add
Friday – The Intensive Day Workout Explained
- Squat – warm up and go up with singles to your main set of 5 (this should be as hard as it can get)
- Bench – same as squat, get your new PR
- Power Clean/Power Snatch – 5×3 reps for power clean or 6×2 reps for power snatch
Stalling on Friday and how to overcome it:
If you missed your 5 reps on Friday:
- Increase the Monday volume
- Retry the next week with the same weight or change the repetition scheme to three singles or two doubles, working up to 1×5.
- Rotate between singles, doubles, triples,sets of 5 weekly
- Adding a back-off set on Monday
- Use your brain as there are countless solutions
Don’t try to apply all of them, chose 1-2 options on go from there until you get those reps.
Click here to download the spreadsheet.
How To Progress On The Texas Method
The progression on this training system is easy. Just add weight on the bar from week to week.
How fast you are progressing and how much weight you add on the bar depends on your weight, experience, diet, age, sex, hormones and other variables.
Some short progressing guidelines:
- 2.5-10 lbs for the squat
- 2.5-10 lbs for the deadlift
- 2.5–5 lbs for the overhead press, bench press, powerclean
An example of the linear progression:
In the Texas method, the linear progression would be from Monday to Monday, Wednesday to Wednesday, Friday to Friday.
- Monday Week 1 225 x 5 x 5
- Monday Week 2 235 x 5 x 5
- Friday Week 1 315 x 5
- Friday Week 2 325 x 5
REMEMBER: These are just examples of weekly progression. How fast you progress depends on your individual characteristics like workout recovery, individual lifestyle, diet and many more.
You should always use the last workout day in an attempt to step up to a personal record. When the prescribed reps and sets for the Monday are reached.
If some weeks of using the Texas method, you notice the progress and PR’s are more difficult to hit on Friday, simply reduce the Monday’s workload.
You can do this by cutting back on the weight and/or sets. You have to do this if you want to progress. Don’t make the Monday’s workout too stressful so it affects the Friday’s workout.
If you can do the Monday’s workout with ease but you can’t get the Friday PR’s, this usually means you don’t get enough stress on Monday to take the progression up.
In this situation, try to do slight changes to Monday’s workout. Changes like adding a set or even using some slightly bigger weights with low-rep sets.
If REGRESSION occurs in the Friday and Monday workout, then this usually means that the Monday’s workload is too intense and the fatigue has accumulated, thus stopping you to progress.
What you can do in this case, is to reduce the work set weight, reduce the work set reps, or even drop 1-2 sets from the sets across.
Don’t drop the work set. EVER!
Questions And Answers Section
QUESTION: Why is this program written like this ?
Answer: Because it tries to take advantage of the stress -> adaptation -> supercompensation cycle in an intelligent way so you can progress slowly but sure.
- The beginning of the week workout is the stress workout
- The middle week workout aka the light day flows nicely with the recovery phase
- The last workout is the high intensity low volume that wants to milk that performance increase out of your body
QUESTION: Can I use this program in different rep schemes?
Answer: As long as you maintain the standard template: Volume -> Light workout -> Intense workout
QUESTION: Can I substitute some exercises like bench press with dips or dumbbell bench press?
Answer: There are many things you can do with this routine, like using RDL’s (Romanian deadlifts) or GM’s (good-morning’s) instead of deadlifts so on and so forth but I would recommend you to stick with the basic template at first until you get your feet on this program.
QUESTION: Can I change the rep scheme for the Friday heavy workout?
Answer: You can use heavy singles, doubles, or triples as long as you keep progressing.
PS: What is your experience with The Texas Method, and in case you haven’t used this routine, will you use it in the future?
Also, if you know someone that needs a good training program tailored for gaining strength and muscle mass, send him a link of this article. He will thank you now, and me later.