T Nation

Texas Method or Alternative Advice


#1

Hello all!

I have been running a routine called fierce 5 for the past 9 months. My squat, bench and OHP have all increase but for the last 3 months the progress has been extremely slow/non existent. I'm currently 22, weighing 165 lbs @ 5 foot 8 and I'm taking in 3000 cal a day +/- 100 cal

I have moved home for the summer but my local gym only has one squat rack. I have used this as an opportunity to make my own Power rack. It's very convenient, but I'm limited to a Barbell and a pull up bar, so that will need to be taken into account.

My main goal is to increase strength in the 1-5 rep range for all my major lifts especially the OHP, Squat and pull ups.I would love to squat 315 pounds for two reps by the end of august. My current numbers are as follows:

*Numbers are being converted from kg to lbs

Back Squat 1 x 286
Bench press 1 x 181
Pendaly Row 8 x 132
Press 1 x 110
Front Squat 1 x 220
Romanian Deadlift 8 x 198
Pullup 5 x Bodyweight

I have done some research and two methods keep coming up. 5/3/1 and the Texas Method. At the moment I am leaning more towards the Texas method as it seems to be more straight forward.

Does any body have any tips on what would be the best for me?

Thanks everybody.


#2

If you’re leaning towards TM, that’s fine. However, it isn’t as straightforward as it may seem: 5x5 on monday, 1 x 5 on Friday… as there is some auto-regulation involved.

Also, have you gained any weight recently?


#3

[quote]1 Man Island wrote:
If you’re leaning towards TM, that’s fine. However, it isn’t as straightforward as it may seem: 5x5 on monday, 1 x 5 on Friday… as there is some auto-regulation involved.

Also, have you gained any weight recently?[/quote]

I haven’t gained any weight in the last 5 weeks. Admittedly, I am a little sceptical to bump my calories up further. For the last three months I seem to get gaining more fat that strength. I was tubby before I started lifting. I would hate for it to go out of control.


#4

There are two issues here (as usual): training and diet. They are related.

I’ll start with diet – if you haven’t gained weight in the last 5 weeks, you aren’t eating enough to drive progress. I’m skeptical that you’re actually eating 3100 calories every day, since at a BW of 165 that would usually represent a surplus. Most people are going to mis-estimate actual caloric intake by 10-20% (or more), unless they’re actually measuring out / weighing every single thing they eat. So… if the scale hasn’t moved at all in 5 weeks, and your primary goal is strength, you should eat more food.

If you eat more, it will probably drive some new progress on your current program or any linear progression.

If you want to switch programs, either 5/3/1 or Texas Method are good choices. I’d also throw Madcow 5x5 into the mix. Personally, I’d recommend either Texas Method or Madcow at your current stage, over 5/3/1. Some people will disagree with me, but I’d rather “save” 5/3/1 until progress on those other programs becomes difficult, and then switch. It provides a good change of pace, going from the heavier lifting, weekly PRs of TM or Madcow to 5/3/1, which is premised more on longterm progress via sub-maximal dynamic lifting.

If you want to do Texas Method, I’d suggest buying the book Practical Programming for Strength Training and googling the article “12 ways to skin the texas method”. If you want to do 5/3/1, buy the e-book.


#5

[quote]craze9 wrote:
There are two issues here (as usual): training and diet. They are related.

I’ll start with diet – if you haven’t gained weight in the last 5 weeks, you aren’t eating enough to drive progress. I’m skeptical that you’re actually eating 3100 calories every day, since at a BW of 165 that would usually represent a surplus. Most people are going to mis-estimate actual caloric intake by 10-20% (or more), unless they’re actually measuring out / weighing every single thing they eat. So… if the scale hasn’t moved at all in 5 weeks, and your primary goal is strength, you should eat more food.

If you eat more, it will probably drive some new progress on your current program or any linear progression.

If you want to switch programs, either 5/3/1 or Texas Method are good choices. I’d also throw Madcow 5x5 into the mix. Personally, I’d recommend either Texas Method or Madcow at your current stage, over 5/3/1. Some people will disagree with me, but I’d rather “save” 5/3/1 until progress on those other programs becomes difficult, and then switch. It provides a good change of pace, going from the heavier lifting, weekly PRs of TM or Madcow to 5/3/1, which is premised more on longterm progress via sub-maximal dynamic lifting.

If you want to do Texas Method, I’d suggest buying the book Practical Programming for Strength Training and googling the article “12 ways to skin the texas method”. If you want to do 5/3/1, buy the e-book.
[/quote]

Thanks for your reply Craze.

I have been sitting on the fence regarding my food intake. On one hand I want to get stronger but on the other hand I don’t want to gain much more fat. I will weigh myself on Monday morning, increase my calories and make sure I’m slowly gaining.

I have found a link about madcow 5x5.

After reading that link it does seem like a logical next step. Do you have any tips?

One problem I have noticed is that my 5 rep max and one rep max is off compared to the spreadsheet calculators. Should I use my one rep max or my five rep max?


#6

If you want to do Madcow, google “madcow wacky hq” and read everything on the page, including the link to the “training primer.” This is the original page that started Madcow, and the one I used to learn about and do the program over 9 years ago. There have since been a million internet clowns putting up their own inferior versions instead of just linking that one.

If you know your 5 rep max, use that as a starting point (but note that Week 1 begins below your max). You can also see some comments I made in this thread: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_beginner/a_beginner_trying_to_get_bigger_?id=5609188&pageNo=8

Your approach to diet depends on how much energy you want to put into it. It’s probably optimal to measure/weigh everything you eat and calculate all macros and total caloric intake every day, but that is a pain in the ass, and perhaps not realistic depending on your schedule.

The most important thing is to eat enough calories and protein to build muscle and drive progress. But you also want to minimize fat gain, which means the surplus shouldn’t be too big. I’d recommend eating to gain 1/2 a pound per week. You can estimate calories or use a layering system where you just add food to what you’re already eating (the latter requires being consistent on a day-to-day basis). If you want more info re: diet I suggest doing a search and reading some articles and forum posts on this site. There are lots of them.


#7

[quote]craze9 wrote:
If you want to do Madcow, google “madcow wacky hq” and read everything on the page, including the link to the “training primer.” This is the original page that started Madcow, and the one I used to learn about and do the program over 9 years ago. There have since been a million internet clowns putting up their own inferior versions instead of just linking that one.[/quote]

I have read the two link. There is some good information.

I plugged my 5 rep maxes into a spreadsheet that was posted on the Madcow wacky hq page. 4 weeks seems like along time until I get back to what weight I was lifting. Hopefully it will be beneficial.

I have been tracking my calories since I started training with My fitnesspal, I will probably continue to do so as it’s not too difficult.

[quote]The most important thing is to eat enough calories and protein to build muscle and drive progress. But you also want to minimize fat gain, which means the surplus shouldn’t be too big. I’d recommend eating to gain 1/2 a pound per week. You can estimate calories or use a layering system where you just add food to what you’re already eating (the latter requires being consistent on a day-to-day basis). If you want more info re: diet I suggest doing a search and reading some articles and forum posts on this site. There are lots of them.
[/quote]

ATM I am hitting a little over 150g of protein a day. I will keep a close eye on the scale.

I am going to have my first madcow session later today.Are good mornings a suitable substitution for extensions? I won’t always have somebody to hold my feet in place.


#8

Did you plug in your actual 5RM (for one set) or your top work set (what you were doing for 3x5 in the other workout)? It should be the first. Regardless, 4 weeks is not a long time in the grand scheme of things, and you’ll note from the spreadsheet that the actual volume of the first week isn’t that much below Week 4. Week 4 will actually be a PR since it’s your old 5RM done after 4 other sets. And then you should be setting weekly PRs for several weeks in a row.

I would aim for more like 185 g protein.

Good mornings are fine as long as you do them light (10-15 reps). But most gyms have some kind of back extension station.


#9

[quote]craze9 wrote:
Did you plug in your actual 5RM (for one set) or your top work set (what you were doing for 3x5 in the other workout)? It should be the first. Regardless, 4 weeks is not a long time in the grand scheme of things, and you’ll note from the spreadsheet that the actual volume of the first week isn’t that much below Week 4. Week 4 will actually be a PR since it’s your old 5RM done after 4 other sets. And then you should be setting weekly PRs for several weeks in a row.

I would aim for more like 185 g protein.

Good mornings are fine as long as you do them light (10-15 reps). But most gyms have some kind of back extension station.
[/quote]

I used my actual 5 rep max that I could do for 3 sets.

I will up my protein in my fitness pal.

For the next few months I’m actually training at home in my shed. I made a Power rack and I bought a barbell with plates. I don’t have the luxury of all the fancy equipment, but it’s my place.

I wanted to improve my pull ups, I noticed the madcow wacky hq page said I could add them in on Wednesdays workout. Is there any progression method I should follow? or just try smash as may out as I can?


#10

If you can do it for 3 sets, it’s not your actual 5 rep max (5RM implies best one-set effort). Add 5-10%, depending on the lift. So if your best weight on your previous program was 225 for 3 sets of 5, your 5RM is probably around 245. Or since you have 1RM estimated just use 85% of that.

There are lots of strategies to improve pullups, but for now I’d just do 3 sets of max reps on Wednesday, resting 3-4 minutes between each set. Even if you can’t add many reps, you’ll be getting stronger as your bodyweight increases.


#11

I readjusted my weights.

I’ve only done RDL’s for the past few months. Today did a few extra deadlifts so I could get a better representation of what my true max was.

It felt unusual such a low volume and weight for the squats today.


#12

I’ve just finished my second week.

I had to reduce my bench as I was really struggling with the initial weight. I’ve mainly used dumbbells for my bench up to this, so I will need to improve my technique.

I have been tracking my calories and it’going well. I’ll weight myself on Monday and see if I have gained any weight.


#13

I’ve just started my 4th week today, and so far so good. MY dips and pull ups feel stronger already. I’ve added about 1-1.5kg in the 4 weeks. My compound lifts feel strong, but next week will be the real test.

I finally got 9 body weight dips for 3 sets so I started to add weight.I added 5kg and I managed to get 5 reps for 3 sets. Should I bring this up to 8/9 reps and then add more weight or stay in the 5 rep range?

I have the same question for my pull ups. ATM I am getting 6 pull ups for 3 sets. They are progressing faster than I had thought. Should I wait until I can get 10 body weight reps before adding weight?

Thanks everybody.


#14

It doesn’t matter THAT much, but if I were you I would stick with bodyweight dips and pullups for now and try to add reps. If you are gaining weight that will have a “microloading” effect anyway, so even if you just maintain your rep numbers you’ll be getting stronger. But you still may be able to add reps, which would be better.


#15

[quote]craze9 wrote:
It doesn’t matter THAT much, but if I were you I would stick with bodyweight dips and pullups for now and try to add reps. If you are gaining weight that will have a “microloading” effect anyway, so even if you just maintain your rep numbers you’ll be getting stronger. But you still may be able to add reps, which would be better. [/quote]
Cheers Craze. I’ll go ahead and aim for more reps. Thanks for the help.


#16

Unforuntually, I failed my press today. I felt very disheartened. I’m not sure why I’m struggling with my bench and OHP so much.


#17

[quote]Murraynt wrote:
Unforuntually, I failed my press today. I felt very disheartened. I’m not sure why I’m struggling with my bench and OHP so much. [/quote]

I find upper body pressing to require significantly more assistance work than the lower body does in order to improve. I actually had my best bench press in powerlifting when I was running DoggCrapp, and have been experiencing similar success with a more assistance work based approach in my current training.


#18

[quote]Murraynt wrote:
Unforuntually, I failed my press today. I felt very disheartened. I’m not sure why I’m struggling with my bench and OHP so much. [/quote]

What were your poundages / progression the last couple weeks?


#19

Sorry for the late reply.

My OHP for the last 4 weeks are as follows.

Week one: 22.5kgx5, 27.5kgx5 32.5x5 40kg x5
Week two: Same as above
Week three: Same as above
Week four: 22.5kgx5, 30kgx5, 35kgx5, 42.5x4

The smallest plate I have available is 1.25kg, hence the weight not increasing for week two or three.


#20

This is what I’ve done for the last 4 weeks excluding pull ups the assistance work on friday. I rounded the weight to the nearest 2.5kg.