Texas Method and Getting Unstuck from Progression
Disclaimer: This is meant to be a supplement to the Starting Strength Sticky(http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=124795 ) It is best to understand that routine and the information in the Starting Strength sticky before moving on to this routine. Consider it a prerequisite for Texas Method. This is not meant to be a substitute for the book, which is an invaluable resource for form descriptions and troubleshooting. I highly recommend that your purchase a copy of Practical Programming for your personal library.
Get your copy here:
Getting Unstuck from the Linear/Novice Progression in SS
This is the next step to take after SS. Rippetoe and Kilgore go on to write Practical Programming for Strength Training to address the needs of the intermediate trainee. I think it is important to qualify the Rippetoe discussions with a thought or two on linear programming and why you should be doing it.
The basic idea we are all chasing is to see our numbers go up. We can use this as a springboard for hypertrophy training, strength training, etc… To achieve this we use various routines and progressions that sell us short. Most routines work, some just better than others. The key here is to start with simplicity (i.e. SS) and slowly add complexity, as our bodies need more diversity in training. This means a couple of things for us trainees. First, if we want to make the most out of what we do in the gym we need to start our bodies off on something simple. When that simple routine stops working we add complexity. By taking this stepwise approach we can eek every pound that we can from each step and be as efficient as possible. But, before changing routines you need to evaluate what has happened to make you level off in your current routine (SS).
When using basic linear programming, like that of SS, there will come a time when you reach a plateau and start seeing your numbers stop increasing, miss reps, or a combination of both.
To get unstuck the possibilities are endless. At this point in the training game the trainee should be getting well acquainted with his own recovery periods. As the trainee approaches his genetic potential and moves past it the more precise the needs are when getting unstuck. A very high level Olympic Weightlifter who is stuck may only require a few weeks of 20rep squats to get unstuck. Likewise, he may also need a break or less volume or intensity. The more advanced the trainee the finer the line of “too much/too little.”
The most common and efficient approach when stuck from SS is to deload. Loosely, this means drop your working sets by 10% and bring it back up to the sticking point and continue to move past the point. This is the simplest tactic that will not put you too far behind. If you get stuck 3 times then it is time to find something more complex and you are no longer a novice and need to find an intermediate program. Again, this needs to be qualified. If you get stuck it is only a genuine stick if, and only if, the following are all in check: diet, nutrition, rest, consistency, and effort/intensity.
Texas Method and Intermediate Programming
The very next step of complexity comes in the form of Texas Method (another Rippetoe gem). Here is the basic setup:
Monday: Squat 5x5 across
Wednesday: Front Squat 3x3 across OR Squat 2x5 across @ 80% of 5RM
Friday: Squat Work to 5RM
A full week may look like this:
Power Clean 5x2 Across
Squat 5x5 across
Bench Press 5x5 across
Front Squat 3x3 across
OH Press 3x5 across
Squat Heavy 5
Bench Press Heavy 5
Pendlay Row Heavy 5
This is a mere template. It can be used the way it is shown or with changes. For example, I think dips would be a suitable substitute for bench press. Also, dumbbells can be used in place of barbells along with many other movement variations. Many people like to use RDLs or GMs instead of DLs too. The options are many.
The following rendition of TM is something Ive used in the past and have had great results. This one is specifically focused on increasing the olympic squat and the full snatch. It is the result of an evolved TM. This is a bit more complex due to the way one must load the olympic lifts but it is built upon the same principles as above. There is no problem getting creative but make sure everything has a carefully weighed purpose and meets your recovery needs. If you cannot recover from workout to workout you need to back off of the weight and reevaluate what went wrong and where. Recovery is of the utmost importance.
Snatch High Pull 3x3 @ 85-110% of Max Snatch
Snatch + OH Squat 5x2 @ 85% of Max Snatch
Olympic Squat 5x3
OH Press 5x5
BO Row 5x5
Snatch Balance 3x3 @ 85% of Max Snatch
Snatch High Pull 3x3 @ 85% of Max Snatch
DB Press 3x8
Snatch to a heavy single
Squat to a heavy 1-3
RDL 3x3/ 20 Rep Squat (every other week)
As you can see in the above template each day follows volume, recovery, and intensity respectively. This is a stark delineation from SS. This is where we begin to see individual recovery coming into play, the next step after linear progression for every workout session. Volume is enough to stimulate growth, recovery is, well, recovery and intensity is a chance to move up to the next highest poundage. Each factor augments the other factor extremely well.
How to progress:
You progress by adding weight to the bar on Monday to the net week's Monday, Wednesday to Wednesday, and Friday to Friday. The amount of weight you add to the bar will vary depending on a number of things including: sex, age, weight, diet, experience, etc. General guidelines for a healthy man would be to add:
• 5-10lbs to the deadlift
• 5-10lbs to the squat
• 2.5-5lbs to the bench press, overhead press and powerclean (Most gyms do not have weights that allow you to progress in 2.5lbs increments, so you will have to experiment with microloading. Visit you local hardware store and get creative with chains or washers in order to make smaller weights.)
You will be progressing linearly but rather linear from workout to workout (like in SS) if will be Monday to Monday, Wednesday to Wednesday, and Friday to Friday.
M:Week1/ Week 2
225 x 5x5 / 235 x 5x5
F: Week / Week 2
315 x5 / 325 x5
Briefly, before concluding, I would like to say a word or two about volume on Intensity day. When aiming toward hitting a max it is ever so important to be sure to have enough high end, heavy volume to induce the ability to move to the next weight. Here is an example of a Squat Intensity day's working sets with the goal of doubles:
Max Effort Squat Session
325 x 1
335 x 1
365 x 2, x 2 - Max
355 x 2, x 2
345 x 2, x 2
As a result of the high-end volume the next Intensity session will have a much better chance at hitting a higher PR than if there was less of the high-end volume. This has to do with everything from blazing neuro pathways to being able to hold a certain amount of weight on your shoulders/traps.
This is a great style of progression and should keep things going for sometime. Getting stuck in this progression calls for the same back off period as SS. One great way to avoid getting stuck is to vary the RMs on Friday. You could work on a 4-week cycle working to 5RM, 3RM, 2RM, 1RM, or a 2-week cycle of only doubles and triples, etc… You can also work in speed work/ dynamic effort on a max day instead of hitting a max. Working for 10 sets of 2 reps at 50-75% as fast and perfect as possible is highly efficient and worth consideration. Notice, that this method is used by the powerlifters at Westside Barbell and is known as conjugate programming rather than linear programming. Also take note that SS uses linear loading, Westside uses conjugate or two loading phases and Texas Method uses three, sometimes four if speed work/dynamic effort is done. The possibilities are vast and the Texas Method progression should continue for a while.
Remember, this is all about gauging and working with your individual recovery. Extra additions and editions should be looked at very closely and should be weighed as to the benefit it will lend to your major lifts. Doing dips on Wednesday may prove to be detrimental to Friday’s workout, so be wise in choosing you movements and your assistance movements, if any.
Most importantly, take things slow and listen to your body. Track you progress in a journal so you can watch and see what worked and what didnt. You will need this knowledge and experience to move to the next level.
Rippetoe Form Videos
Olympic Lift Technique/Form Videos
The section is dedicated to getting your clean and snatch in check. Check em out and use them as a tool.
Weightlifting Lecture by Tommy Kono
Slide Presentation by Tommy Kono
Here is some more stuff on clean/snatch form.
Snatch Demo Series:
Part 1: Setting up
Part 2: Dead Hang Snatch
Part 3: Snatch Balance/Drop Snatch
Part 4: Pulling Sequence From Above the Knee
Part 5: Pulling From Above the Knee
Part 6: Pulling Sequence From the Floor
Part 7: Eccentric Pulling
Part 8: Accessory Pulls
Jerk Demo Vids:
Part 1: Setting up
Part 2: Dipping
Part 3: Drive and Catch
Part 4: Jerk Balances
Part 5: Other Types of Jerks
Part 6: Other Jerk Assistance
Misc Stuff Regarding Bar Height:
For the Clean
For the Snatch
Triple Extension VS "Catapult"
Lastly, here is a take on the Olympic Movements from Louie Simmons (the mind behind Westside)