This is the third article in a series on Autoregulating the Texas Method.
Click Here for Part 1: The Basics
Click Here for Part 2: Fatigue Management
Click Here for Part 4: Periodization and Final Thoughts
The original Texas Method program utilized a very simple template and exercise schema: three full-body days with very little exercise variation. Other than rotation of the Press with the Bench Press and Front Squats on Wednesday the program was very vanilla. This post will present some of my ideas on how to customize the template and exercise selection to the individual.
Full-body vs Split
Before we get into the nitty-gritty I wanted to comment on whether the split template is better or worse than the original full-body template. The reasoning behind the split template is that Recovery Day doesn’t really do much and using a Split allows for more accessory work after the competition lifts. This is true but a consequence of this change is a potential drop in frequency of the lifts. If you’re Squatting and Benching (maybe even deadlifting) 3 times a week and you drop to two it could have negative consequences. One way of thinking about this would be comparing it to practicing a musical instrument. If you practice the oboe three times a week but then drop to only practicing two times a week do you think you will keep making progress at the same rate? Probably not. Now, Squatting and playing the oboe are quite different but Strength is a skill. A workout is as much practice as it is training. In my opinion the split template is only good for those who are only using a two times frequency to start with.
While the original template used kind of hand-wavy justifications for the microcycle setup I think we can provide some better descriptions:
|Monday||Volume Day||Focus on hypertrophy and work capacity adaptations|
|Wednesday||Development Day||Focus on weak-point and technique training|
|Friday||Intensity Day||Focus on neurological adaptations|
The biggest change between this version and the original is renaming Recovery Day to Development Day. The reason for this is two-fold: Recovery Day was meant to provide “active recovery” to allow you to recover from Monday’s workout by Friday. I believe the name was part of the reason it was eventually dropped in a lot of Texas Method implementations. The other reason for the name change is that we can use this day to work on improving the lifts in a more specific fashion, with technique work, weak point training, etc.
Template and Exercise Selection
Here is an example template with some suggested exercises:
Squat: Competition Squat, beltless Squat, Front Squat, Tempo Squat
Bench: Competition Bench, Touch and Go Bench, Close-Grip Bench, Slingshot Bench
Deadlift: Competition Deadlift, beltless Deadlift, Deficit Deadlift, Paused Deadlift, Deadlift w/ chains
Squat: Paused Squat, Pin Squat, Squat w/ chains, Front Squat, Tempo Squat
Bench: Long Paused Bench, Pin Press, Bench w/ chains
Shoulders: Overhead Press, Push Press, Incline Bench
Squat: Competition Squat
Bench: Competition Bench (~1s Paused)
Deadlift: Competition Deadlift
For Monday’s workout we use hypertrophy focused exercises. If you’re not sure what to use you can just use the competition exercise. But if you know you’re lagging in musculature in a certain area this is a good day to work on it. Wednesday is focused on your weak point. If you’re a raw lifter (and more than likely you are) that will be out of the hole in the Squat and off the chest in the Bench. If you’re not sure what to do here start with paused variations. Friday is of course Intensity day and it remains unchanged. It’s conceivable that you could rotate exercises on this day but more than likely you should stick to the competition lifts.
For Monday’s and Wednesday’s workouts you have a lot more flexibility in which exercises you select. If you’re a fan of variation and get bored easily you could select something new every week. On the other hand you could stick with the same set of exercises for several months. In my opinion, something in the middle would be best. Select a set of exercises and stick with those for 3-4 weeks at a time so you can easily track improvements.
A Note Regarding The Deadlift
If you’re coming from a traditional TM setup you’re probably only used to deadlifting once a week. If you’re still making good progress on that setup you can certainly sub Monday’s deadlift slot for something else (perhaps another Bench slot). However, if your progress is slowed you will more than likely see good results from increasing your frequency.
Stay tuned for the next installment of the series where I’ll discuss periodization and my Final thoughts on the program. I’ll also present an 8 week version of the program in a free downloadable PDF.