You may have heard about the Texas Method created by renowned strength coach Mark Rippetoe. You may even be considering giving the popular program a try. However, there’s one thing to understand about the Texas Method– it’s not for the faint of heart.
What Exactly Is the Texas Method?
The Texas Method is a three-days-per-week training program that focuses on volume on Mondays, regeneration on Wednesdays, and intensity on Fridays. Rippetoe was influenced by an old bench press exercise from Canadian strongman Doug Hepburn, in which Hepburn would do 5 hefty 1-rep sets prior to completing 5 brutal 5-rep sets.
Rippetoe considers this example to be an OG approach: If 365 pounds is your 1-rep max, your single-sets would call for a load of roughly 335 lbs. The 5-rep sets would call for a load between 285-290 lbs.
The Texas Method focuses on large barbell lifts– squat, bench press, overhead press, and deadlift– plus power clean and some bodyweight regeneration modalities.
A. Squat: 5×5 (5 sets of 5).
B. Bench Press/Overhead Press: 5×5
C. Deadlift: 1×5
Each lift on Monday needs to be 90 percent of your 5-rep max. Alternating between bench press one Monday, as well as overhead press the following. Keep in mind that deadlifts don’t follow the 5×5 protocol due to the strain that performing 25 heavy deadlifts would have on the central nervous system (CNS) — the need for recovery would be far too great to be ready to train Wednesday.
Deadlifts are another story. There is no volume day for deadlifts, because deadlifts are too hard to do for sets across – most people find that they cannot be recovered from if you do more than one heavy set. This is especially true if you’re doing 5 x 5 squats too. – Mark Rippetoe
Note: In between sets, take a breather for as long as you need to fully recover between sets.
Wednesday: Active Recovery
A. Squat: 2×5 (2 sets of 5)
B. Bench Press/Overhead Press: 3×5
C. Chin-up: 3 sets to muscle failure
D. Back Extension or Glute-Ham Raise: 5×10
You’re still doing work on Wednesday but you’ll go lighter than you did Monday
Start by squatting at 80 percent of Monday’s completed loads. As for overhead press or bench presses, do whichever movement you did not train on Monday at 90 percent of the prior week’s 5 x 5 load. Then bang out chin-ups to muscle failure followed by 5 sets of either back extension or glute-ham raise — it’s up to you.
A. Squat: 1×5 (1 set of 5 reps)
B. Bench Press/Overhead Press: 1×5
C. Power Clean/Power Snatch: 5×3 / 6×2
Friday is all about pressing towards a brand-new 5-rep max. Do as much mobility and warm-up sets as you need prior to your lifts. Pick a heavier weight than Monday, yet not so heavy that you can not complete the fifth rep.
As for bench presses or overhead press, do whichever movement you did not train on Monday. You’ll see that today’s workout is sans deadlifts– you will not perform deadlifts until the following Monday. Rather, you’ll select either power cleans or power snatches, both lifts enhance your explosiveness under the bar. Pick a challenging weight, but make certain that you’ll still be able to complete the prescribed reps.
Relish Your Days Off
The Texas Method isn’t an plan that you can breeze through for weeks on end without time for proper rest and recovery. Actually, Rippetoe suggests you rest the other four days of the week –any day you’re not training –, meaning no cardio on days off like other programs advise.
So just how long should you stick to the Texas Method?
Rippetoe recommends people adhere to the Texas Method for 6 to 9 months, which leaves lots of time for cardio training prior to and after the finishing the program.
Should You Try the Texas Method?
If you’re brand-new to lifting, you may want to consider starting with a traditional four-day split between upper and lower body. The Texas Method is an advanced training program — one in which you need to be relatively strong and accustomed to the strain such a program places on the CNS. After a few months on a beginner-to-intermediate program, consider giving the Texas Method a try.
Overall, the Texas Method program is not a program for pure aesthetics but don’t get me wrong, you can still pack on some quality lean mass and depending on your diet, you may shed some body fat. However, dropping body fat should not be your top goal on this program, as using the Texas Method on a caloric deficit can lead to overtraining due to inadequate recovery. This is not a get-shredded-for-the-summer program. However, if you’re trying to get big and strong and don’t mind taking a less-is-more approach, the Texas method just may be for you.
Rippetoe, Mark. “The Texas Method | Mark Rippetoe.” Starting Strength, 1 May 2013, startingstrength.com/article/the_texas_method.