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)
Last edited by ZenMonkey; 08-30-2009 at 09:14 PM.
That is brilliant! I have been searching for more information about this as i saw it one of the guys's journal. This is a great post and addition to the Starting Strength sticky!
Great post Zen. I just recently started SS and I'm hoping i can ride the progress out until late fall where I plan to do a heavy bulk, and this is great to know that simply changing volume and weight will help with any plateau.
I'm thinking I'm going to get the SS book to read this summer. I also hear a lot about Practical Programming, is it similar in knowledge?
This is awesome dude, but one thing though. Deadlifts shouldn't go on recovery day though in the TM. Deads should either be placed on Volume day or Intensity day. Personally, I put them on Intensity day when I did the TM. This can be confirmed by Rippetoe on his forum. Recovery day is meant to have all "light" exercises, which aids recovery from Monday's very taxing, high volume workout ,and it is useful for preparation for all the PR's that are to be hit on Friday's workout. Deads definately are not considered a "light", and definately shouldn't be used on recovery day.
The whole "deads on Wednesday" thing comes from the internet Madcow 5x5 routine, which is a completely different idea then the Texas method.
He said deads go on Wednesday??? I remember asking about the same exact thing on his forum, and he said that they definately don't go on Wednesday.
Ya definately post a link, because I remember him making a big deal about "recovery day" being about....well, recovery. And deads having the opposite effect of what recovery day is actually for. I tried to do a search for the thread, but I couldn't find it.
I really like this routine.
I get bored if I stay on routines for too long, so this one looks like a good change of pace for 5/3/1.
I realize you're not supposed to stop a routine until gains have been exhausted, but I'm a big fan of changing things up every 10-16 weeks.
I'll probably do 3-4 cycles of 5/3/1 and go on the Texas Method for 6-8 weeks and then jump back into the 5/3/1...
Great series of posts, Zen.
Jim Wendler, 531 Method"Don’t fall for the crap that people are peddling on message boards, in magazines or on TV. Get your **** in order, and get your training in order. Start kicking ass, and take out the crap that doesn’t matter. Start doing and believing in the stuff that works, and do it today and forever. You want science and studies? **** you. I’ve got scars and blood and vomit."
Big, big thanks !
I'm in a position where I cannot make the gym three days a week at the moment. I've been working on a push pull routine, but my progress has all but stopped and would like to give the Texas method a go. Can somebody explain the importance of the third day of this routine? would it be a massive deal if i could only do day three say, once a fortnight?
Quick question since I'm supposed to have my first Intensity day today. I'm shooting for 275 for my squat 5RM. If I get 5, should I go back down for another one, essentially just training to failure?
I have a Big 3 total of 140. My curls, and flys are good but the skullcrushers are really holding me back!
I have a Big 3 total of 140. My curls, and flys are good but the skullcrushers are really holding me back!
Well, you might not need that much, that depends on your body, but you do need some top end volume.
Right, but intensity should be ramped to a 5RM then a back off set or two.
Sure, to clarify, once more TM goes:
Stress, Rest, Test
You want to test your abilities on "intensity day" but not necessarily induce the kind of stress that one would get from "volume day". Remember, as you advance there is an ever increasing fine line of too much/too little. The only answer is to listen to how your body responds to certain stimuli.
I have a couple questions, I hope you don't mind. It's time for me to move on to this routine. I read the intermediate chapter. I read that the routine calls for a volume, recovery, and intensity day. I didn't show a routine, I did read where it say's Monday is 5x5 squat, Wed, is front squat (for recovery), and friday is 1 set up to 5rm. I'm just wondering where you got those other lifts listed from? Are you suppost to add in stuff to the volume, recovery, and intensity day and just follow that template? I don't mind doing them, im just wondering. I know how to do everything besides GM's. Thanks for your time.
Front Squat 3x3
OH Press 2x5
Squat to Heavy 5
Bench to Heavy 5
DL to Heavy 5
The only trick here is making sure what you did the WO before does not inhibit what you push for on "Intensity Day"
I hope this answered your question. If it is still not clear the feel free to ask more questions.
Depending on you ability (or inability) to go heavy on all three lifts in the same day, another way to set this up is:
Bench to heavy 1-5RM (vary each week)
Front Squats 3x3
OH Press 2-3x5
DL to heavy 5RM
Squat to heavy 1-5RM (vary each week)
This way you can go heavy every day on only one movement.
Last edited by vicjg; 10-21-2009 at 02:41 PM.
Last edited by ZenMonkey; 10-21-2009 at 03:47 PM.