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By Jordan Feigenbaum

The Texas Method may be one of the most popular intermediate training programs in existence. Developed by happenstance in Texas (duh) and popularized as a follow-up program to Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength Novice Progression (seen here), it’s based on a three-day split that is originally structured as follows:

Week 1 Day 1 (Volume Day) Day 2 (Light Day) Day 3 (Intensity Day)
Squat x 5 x 5
Bench x 5 x 5
Deadlift x 5 x 1
Squat x 5 x 2 @ 80% of Day 1
Press x 5 x 3
Chins x max reps x 3
Back Extensions x 12-15 x 3
Squat x 5RM
Bench x 3RM
Power Clean x 3 x 5
Week 2 Day 1 (VD) Day 2 (LD) Day 3 (ID)
Squat x 5 x 5
Press x 5 x 5
Deadlift x 5 x 1
Squat x 5 x 2 @ 80% of Day 1
Bench Press x 5 x 3 @90% of last week’s Day 1
Chins x max reps x 3
Back Extensions x 12-15 x 3
Squat x 5RM
Press x 3RM
Power Clean x 3 x 5

Now let me go on record as saying I think the Texas Method, which is abbreviated TM but does not signify Trademark (™), is a great template as written. On the other hand, sometimes it is implemented in suboptimal conditions or is inappropriate for a particular trainee as written. What follows are 12 Ways to Skin the Texas Method, which I have used both personally and professionally. I hope you enjoy!

1) The Problem: The workout on Day 1 takes too long.

Solution: Split up Volume Day (VD)

Rationale: Perhaps one of the biggest gripes people have with TM is that day one can take too long; especially as the 5×5 sets get very heavy. One easy way to circumvent this is to split up volume day into two separate days. There has been some who suggest that the 5×5 squat causing enough fatigue to negatively affect the 5×5 bench weights, which leads to the recommendation that the 5×5 bench be done on Day 1 and the 5×5 squat be done on Day 2. That would yield the following:

Day 1 (Volume Day) Day 2 (Volume Day) Day 3 (Intensity Day)
Bench x 5 x 5 Squat 5×5 Squat x 5RM
Chins x max Reps x 3 DL x 5 x 1 Bench x 3RM
Power Clean x 3 x 5

However, I have not experienced this with others often enough to validate it. Moreover, the act of splitting the volume day in two can complicate what do with the light day’s movements. I chose to maintain the existing frequency and volume vs. eliminating it as in the initial example. Here is my preferred template:

Week 1 Day 1 (Volume Day) Day 2 (Volume Day) Day 3 (Intensity Day)
Squat x 5 x 5 Bench x 5 x 5 Squat x 5RM
Press x 5 x 3 DL x 5 x 1 Bench x 3RM
Back Extensions Chins x max reps x 3 Power Clean x 3 x 5
Week 2 Day 1 (Volume Day) Day 2 (Volume Day) Day 3 (Intensity Day)
Squat x 5 x 5 Press x 5 x 5 Squat x 5RM
Bench x 5 x 3 @ 90% of last week’s day 2) DL x 5 x 1 Press x 3 RM
Back Extensions Chins x max reps x 3 Power Clean x 3 x 5

2) The Problem: My Intensity Day (ID) weights aren’t going up.

Solution: Alter the rep ranges.

Rationale: At some point, most people are no longer going to be able to sustain a linear progression that is organized around weekly increases in intensity (load) with the same rep scheme. I’ve found that periodizing TM works pretty well for lots of folks before needed to adjust even more variables. This sort of approach is more appropriate for those who’ve been using TM for awhile and need to change something to keep their progress moving. In other words, this is not for people just getting done with their novice progression. Here’s what it might look like:

Volume Day (Reps x sets) Light day (reps x sets) Intensity Day (reps x sets)
Week 1 5×5 5×2 5 x 1 RM
Week 2 5×5 5×2 5 x 1 RM
Week 3 5×5 5×2 4 x 1 RM
Week 4 4×5 5×2 4 x 1 RM
Week 5 4×5 3×3 3 x 1 RM
Week 6 3×5 3×3 3 x 1 RM
Week 7 3×5 3×3 5 x 1*
Week 8 3×4 3×3 5 x 1*

A few notes about how to approach deadlifting, day 2 pressing,  weight increases, and what to do after week 8. Deadlifts are still done on day 1 in this approach for a single set of 5,4, or 3 based on the rep prescription listed. Weight should be added to the bar each week under optimal conditions. Day 2’s pressing volume is indicated as above and it’s intensity (load) remains 90% of the previous volume day’s bench work or +2.5-5lbs from the previous volume day for the press. Weight increases, in general, should occur on intensity day across the board with 2.5-5lbs being used on bench and press variants (from previous ID weights) and 5-10lbs on squats. After week 8, I recommend taking 10-15% off the bar and starting over again at week 1. The jumps made between each week on both VD and ID are pending the lifter’s recovery, so if a bigger deload is required that can be accommodated for too.

*1×5= Five singles across (same weight)

3) The Problem: I always feel terrible when I get to deadlifts at the end of VD.

Solution: Do deadlifts first on Day 2.

Rationale: The big issues with getting the deadlift to go up include training volume (not enough), training fatigue management (e.g. how good or bad is your recovery relative to your training stress), and motivation by the time deadlifts come around at the end of a long volume day session. I’ve found that putting people’s deadlifts first on Day 2 (light day) allows them to do the deadlifts in a much fresher state than compared to if they did it after volume day, i.e. fatigue management is better. Additionally, motivation appears to be higher. Volume, as you might have guessed, is the same. Here’s what the template would look like:

Volume Day Light Day Intensity Day
Exercise 1 SQ x 5 x 5 Deadlifts x 5 x 1 SQ x 5RM
Exercise 2 BP x 5 x 5 Press x 5 x 3 BP x 5RM
Exercise 3 Chins x max reps x 3 SQ x 5 x 2 @ 80% PC x 5 x 3
Back Extensions

4) The Problem: I don’t do power cleans. What should I substitute in for them?

The solution: Do a deadlift variation like paused deadlifts.

Rationale: Power cleans might be one of the most-substituted exercises in any of the Starting Strength associated programs, which is a shame because they are wonderful for training rapid force development in an objective way. Additionally, they require a high amount of skill and coordination to perform, which tends to improve motor learning overall in my estimation based on experience and the literature. Still, there are some cases like the following where it’s inappropriate to do power cleans: a person >45 who has never been an athlete and has no desire to learn the power clean, a person with a history of Achille’s injuries, a person who does not have the proper equipment to power clean (e..g a training bar and 2.5kg bumpers) who cannot start with a 20kg or 45lb bar, or a person who has honestly tried to learn the power clean and even sought out coaching, but who just cannot get them down. Still, power cleans do represent some pulling volume within the context of the Texas Method. If we have to abandon them altogether then I’d like to replace them with any one of the following movements for 2-3 sets of 5 reps at a weight that’s challenging, but not a grind. You should also not wear a belt during this accessory lift, unless you have a previous back injury:

Power Clean Substitutes
2 count Paused Deadlift (1″ off floor) Tempo Deadlift (3s up, 3s down)
Halting DL Snatch Grip Deadlift
Beltless Deadlift Deficit DL (1-2″)

5) The Problem: Volume Day wrecks me. I cannot recover after it.

The solution: Make VD more of a Dynamic Effort (DE) day.

Rationale: 25 reps of squats followed by 25 reps of bench press and 5 reps of a deadlift can be a bear to recover from if they’re heavy and they often are on the Texas Method. If your recovery is compromised from any of the following factors: advancing age, being less male, having poor baseline conditioning (GPP), poor diet, poor sleep, etc. you may find that the way volume day is setup just wrecks you for an entire week. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t use the template to get strong. Here’s an option to  decrease the total amount of training time VD takes, keep it light enough that you’re fresh for intensity day, and generate enough of a training stress to drive adaptation-theoretically at least. I say theoretically because we’re making the assumption that Texas Method was an appropriate choice for the hypothetical lifter here based on their previous training experience AND that someone will do the protocol correctly. Additionally, it needs to be pointed out that we’re not doing speed work like Westside Barbell advocates, as they tend to suggest 50-60% of a 1RM to be used though it is complicated by the use of bands, chains, weight releasers, etc. See here. Overall, the way this particular template works is by getting the lifter to do volume with enough load to induce a stress that can subsequently be recovered from. Mike T. wrote a great article about why classical “speed work” is really just a ploy for more volume (see here). Finally, Dr. Zourdos et al. have found that speed work can be done up to as high as 90% of a 1RM and optimal power output can be maintained for single-effort athletes, e.g. powerlifters. This may be too many assumptions, however. Still, here’s what it’d look like:

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
SQ x 2 x 12 EMOM* SQ x 5 x 2** SQ x 5RM
BP x 3 x 8 EMOM* PR x 5 x 3 BP x 5RM
DL x 1 x 15 every 30 seconds Chins x max reps x 3 sets PC x 5 x 3
Back Extensions

*EMOM= every minute on the minute. The loading for the squat and the bench press should be that the weight moves quickly (e.g. not a grinder) but not so fast that it’s easy. It should feel somewhere between 70-80% or so, depending on the individual.

**The “light squat” on light day usually is at 80% of Day 1’s volume day. However, since volume day is now more dynamic effort it is much lighter than it otherwise would be. I typically recommend either using the same load on Day 2 as was used for Day 1, or 80-90% of it. It should feel pretty easy and it’s good active recovery for a lifter.

6) The Problem: I’m a powerlifter with a meet coming up. Why should I give press the same priority as bench press?

The solution: You shouldn’t. My recommendation would be to bench 2x/wk every week, whilst keeping press in on Day 2 as a developmental lift. In other words, the press is not a priority, but you still train it because it helps your overall development.

The Rationale: If you’re a powerlifter, which by definition means you actually compete or are signed up to compete in a sanctioned meet, then you probably shouldn’t give press the same priority as the bench press. Let me reiterate that again, in order to be “a powerlifter” you actually have to compete. I don’t care how many sumo deadlift videos you have on Instagram or how many histrionic T-shirts you own that let everyone know you’re about the squat life, bro….If you haven’t ever competed in a meet that is judged (or aren’t signed up for one), you’re not a powerlifter and this doesn’t apply to you so move on.

If you’re still reading, you must actually be a powerlifter then- welcome 🙂 I would advise keeping bench press at 2x/wk, with a volume day on day 1 and an intensity day on day 2. Depending on how advanced you are, you may be able to stick with the 5×5 scheme on VD and the 1×5 scheme on ID for a long time. If you’ve been doing the 5×5/1×5 setup for awhile, you might need to periodize your training a bit (see #2 above). For peaking for a meet, I’d use this:

5 weeks out Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
SQ x 5 x 5 SQ x 5 x 2 @ 80% SQ x 5RM
BP x 5 x 5 PR x 5 x 3 BP x 5RM
Power Cleans Chins & Back Extensions DL x 5 x 1
4 weeks out Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
SQ x 4 x 5 SQ x 5 x 2 @ 80% Squat x 3RM, 3 x 1 (back off)
BP x 4 x 5 PR x 5 x 3 BP x 3RM, 3 x 2 (back offs)
Power Cleans Chins & Back Extensions DL x 3RM
3 weeks out Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
SQ x 3 x 5 SQ x 5 x 2 @ 80% Squat x 3RM, 3 x 1 (back off)
BP x 3 x 5 PR x 5 x 3 BP x 3RM, 3 x 2 (back offs)
Power Cleans Chins & Back Extensions DL x 3RM
2 weeks out Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
SQ x 3 x 3 SQ x 5 x 2 @ 80% SQ x 1-1-1 (up to 2nd attempt)
BP x 3 x 4 PR x 5 x 3 BP x 1-1-1 (up to 2nd attempt), 3 reps x 1
Chins & Back Extensions DL x 1-1 (up to opener)
1 week out Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Squat x 1 @ opener Squat x 2 x 2 @ 80% of Day 1 Meet Day
Bench x 1 @ opener Bench x 2 x 2 @ 90% of Day 1
DL x 1 @ last warm up Chins x max reps x 2 sets
*everything is written as reps x sets

7) The Problem: I cannot make my VD weights go up every week for 5×5.

The Solution: Let’s do some pyramid sets to get to a heavier set of 5, but keep the volume the same overall.

Rationale: The idea on a linear progression like TM is to get more weight on the bar for as long as possible. One way to do that is to set new Rep PR’s for only a single set every week, while still increasing intensity week to week. On Volume day, a lifter would work up to a single set that’s 5lbs heavier than their top set on the previous volume day. The other 4 sets would be somewhere between 90-100% of this weight, depending on how the lifter’s recovery and performance is on that particular day. It might look like this:

Week Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
1 SQ x 5 x 5 @ 300lbs SQ x 5 x 2 @ 240lbs SQ x 5 x 1 @ 315
Sets across
2 SQ x 5 @ 275, 295, 305, 295, 290 SQ x 5 x 2 @ 240lbs SQ x 5 x 1 @ 320
Pyramid

8) The Problem: I’m a bodybuilder. I need to train for hypertrophy. Can I use TM?

The solution: Sure, the template is great- but let’s alter some of the rep prescriptions in order to prioritize more training resources into hypertrophy gainzZz.

Rationale: Hypertrophy, a topic we’ve covered extensively on this site, is a response to the correct training volume (reps x sets) with an adequate intensity (load) to stimulate the muscle to grow. Training volume and intensity can be achieved via machine and isolation exercises- though in general, they require more volume than their compound exercise counterparts. However, some would argue that doing all compound lifts is more exhausting physically and mentally than doing some compound exercise work, e.g. squat, bench, deadlift, press, and some isolation work. That said, I think the most optimal program for hypertrophy is heavily biased towards the big lifts instead of isolation work for a person training 3x/wk who would like to get 95% of the hypertrophy improvements they’re ever going to get naturally. Still, some variations may be useful to a hypertrophy-focused individual to keep them motivated. Here’s something I’ve used with others:

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 2x/wk
Squat x 8 x 5 Front Squat x 3 x 3 Squat x 5, AMRAP in 15 min* 10 min Arm Superset**
Bench Press x 8 x 5 Press x 3 x 3 Close Grip Bench x 5, AMRAP in 15 min* 10 min Ab work
Chins x max reps x 3 Rows x 9 x 3 Deadlift x 5, AMRAP in 15 min* 15 min HIIT

*AMRAP= as many reps as possible. Use the same load you did your heavy set of 5 with, and do as many submaximal sets and reps as you can in the 15 minutes.

The arm superset just means pick 1 bicep exercise and 1 tricep exercise, do 8-15 reps per exercise and alternate back and forth until your arms fall off. The idea would be to increase the volume over weeks, i.e. add more time to the training in order to accrue more reps and sets.

9) The Problem: I really want to train 4 days a week. TM is only set up for 3. Help!

The Solution: Let’s run a four day split.

The Rationale: Splitting up the training over 4 days can make each session shorter, which really tends to work well with some folks’ preferences and schedules. Here’s what I’d do:

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
BP x 5 x 5 SQ x 5 x 5 BP x 5RM SQ x 5 RM
PR x 8 x 3 Power Cleans x 5 x 3 Press x 3 x 3 DL x 5 x 1
Chins x max reps x 3 Back Extensions Pull ups x max reps x 3 Ab work

10) The Problem: I don’t know where to plug in some conditioning work since that’s important to me. HALP!

The Solution: The best days would either be between Days 1 and 2 or after Day 3, as the light day (Day 2) doesn’t really require a ton of immediate recovery and doing some conditioning the day after intensity day could be considered active recovery in addition to still leaving you a day of complete rest before your next volume day.

For Military folks, training for the PFT can be a pain in the ass when doing a strength program like Texas Method. I have had pretty good success with the following approach:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Volume Day Chins x 7 min AMRAP Light day Off Intensity Day 1 mile run
Ab work x 7 min AMRAP 1 min max pushup
HIIT x 20s on/1min 40s off x 7 rounds 1 min max situp
Rest 5 min, repeat x 1

11) The Problem: I am a CrossFitter, can I still do Texas Method for my strength work?

The Solution: Sure, let’s intelligently layer in some skill work and WOD’s to support development of a competitive CrossFit athlete.

The Rationale: So let’s first make the statement that a competitive CrossFit athlete is defined as a person who will actually compete in a competition and be vying for the win. Sorry, finishing 1412th out of 10,000 people makes you a non-competitive recreational CrossFit participant and your training should reflect your goals when that is taken into context. Furthermore, a competitive CrossFitter needs to be strong on top of having the requisite skills and work capacity that CrossFit tests. Unfortunately, strength programming in most CrossFit gyms is inappropriate almost all of the time unless the coach has an extensive background in actual strength sports and thus, programs his or her lifters accordingly. In any event, let’s assume you’re controlling your own programming and have decided to program for implement a strength program. Here’s how TM might fit into that:

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Off SQ 5×5 Bench Press x 5 x 5 Off Squat x 5 RM BP x 5RM Mobility x 20 min
15-12-9 For time: 3 rounds for time: Deadlift x 5 x 1 Max rounds in 12 min: Steady State HR training x 20 min
Power Clean @ 225 5 presses @ 185 30 min Snatch Practice Push Press @ 225 x 3
Muscle Ups 50 double unders 10 min gymnastic work Weighed Chin up (45#) x 6
2 pood KB swing x 9

12) The Problem: I am an Olympic Lifter, this doesn’t look like it would work for me. HALP!

The Solution: Let’s program in more exposure to your competitive lifts and necessary variants like the front squat, for instance. Practice makes perfect, of course, and getting strong makes all the perfect technique more useful on the platform. Here’s how I’ve done Texas Method with an Olympic Lifting bias:

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
Power Clean x 3 x 5 Hang Snatch x 1 x 10 EMOM Squat x 5RM Snatch x 1 up to 3 misses
Squat x 5 x 5 Bench Press x 5 x 3 Press x 5 RM Clean and Jerk x 1 up to 3 misses
Press x 5 x 5 Front Squat x 3 x 5 Rack Jerks x 3 x 3 Deadlift x 5 x 1
*EMOM= every minute on the minute

 


 

Starting Strength Coaches Association Conference 2014Jordan Feigenbaum, a competitive powerlifter, holds his Bachelors of Science in Biology, a Master’s of Science in Anatomy and Physiology, and is currently pursuing his doctorate in medicine. With a strong anatomy and human physiology background, Jordan is able to provide in-depth instruction and analysis of movement, performance, and exercise technique. Jordan also holds accreditations from many professional training organizations such as the NSCA-CSCS, ACSM-HFS, USAW-Club Coach, and is a staff member for select Starting Strength Seminars. As a competitive powerlifter, Jordan has competition best lifts of a 640 squat, 430 bench press, and 725 deadlift as a 198lb raw lifter.

Join the discussion 130 Comments

  • eric says:

    Jordan, great article! moar!

  • Rezart says:

    Oh yeah, love this stuff! We need more of this!
    Thanks Jordan!

  • Andre says:

    This is an extremely valuable article, one worthy of PPST4 if I ever saw one. Thanks alot for the good work.

  • ithryn says:

    My problem is I’m a weakling on the presses and think it’s due to not getting enough armzZz and upper body work on TM. What should I do? I’m experimenting with running bench and press on the same days, so Mondays I do press-intensity and then bench-volume, and Fridays are vice versa, bench-intensity and then press-volume. Hopefully I don’t flame out. I also (maybe this is too many changes at once) started being serious about chins/pullups/dips, so maybe not doing those was a component to my stall. As someone who never lifted before Starting Strength, I feel like I’m starting from an upper body muscular deficit behind your typical bench bro.

    But it seems weird that, theoretically, TM has you change the presses from adding on the weight every workout as a novice to adding only every two weeks. (Realistically, by the time my squat was telling me to do TM, I had been a long time hitting the wall on the presses)

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      In general, it’s been my experience that the upper body lifts tend to need more volume to drive an adaptation and that this volume needs to be accumulated over a bit longer time period. So I think it makes theoretical sense for TM’s upper body progression- though I think modifications need to be made pending the observed results.

    • radna says:

      its been 1 year late i reply this comment lol, but how’s your progress using that modification?
      it seems legit to me, as my problem when running TM is either my chest/shoulder really feels just its only resting the entire week

  • jared says:

    Jordan, how you would tailor the program for strongman training? I’d like to see a 4 day split version as well. Thanks!

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      I’d have the conditioning work be things like farmer’s walks, yoke carries, or medley practice 2x/wk during the off season. As a contest grew closer, i.e. 10 weeks or so, I’d put a single event from the contest FIRST in the workout to get exposure and then do the rest of the training, either 3x/wk or 4x/wk from any one of the templates.

  • Karlo says:

    Concise and to the point, this article is a great contribution and should be read by anyone honestly looking to increase their strength. I”m just beginning TM and will be referring back to this article when my lifts start to slow down. The high quality content provided in this article is usually charged a hefty sum by most, and yet you provide it for free. Thanks for that.
    P.S. article found through Startingstrength.com forum.

  • Blain Smith says:

    This is a great read. Thank you so much. I am going to start a Texas Method program after my 5/3/1 deload week next week. This is what I came up with to incorporate TM, Oly, Conditioning and Gymnastics work.

    Volume Week
    Monday – Squat 5×5, Conditioning
    Tuesday – Shoulder Press 5×5, Conditioning/Muscle Up Progression
    Wednesday – Rest
    Thursday – Deadlift 5×1, Conditioning
    Friday – Bench Press 5×5, Conditioning/Muscle Up Progression
    Saturday – Light Oly Skill, Conditioning

    Intensity Week
    Monday – Squat 5RM, Power Cleans 5×3, Accessory/Conditioning
    Tuesday – Shoulder Press 3RM, Power Snatch 7×2, Conditioning/Muscle Up Progression
    Wednesday – Rest
    Thursday – Deadlift 5×1, Front Squats 5×3, Accessory/Conditioning
    Friday – Bench Press 3RM, Push Jerks 7×2, Conditioning/Muscle Up Progression
    Saturday – Heavy Oly Attempts, Conditioning

    Then just alternate weeks back and forth. I also considered adding a 2nd squat day on Volume week (Thursdays before Deadlifts) a week just to, well, squat more.

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      Looks a bit busy, but it might work if you’re past the initial intermediate stage where you can have Volume and Intensity in the same week and thus, you’ve spread it over 2 weeks.

  • Jukka says:

    Excellent article once again!

  • caveman says:

    This is an awesome resource! I’ve printed it out so that I can study it more closely later. I’ve often toyed with the idea of TM on a 4 day split because I just don’t have enough time for the traditional volume days time requirement. So for your solution #9, I was wondering what “PR” stood for on Day 1’s second exercise. I’m assuming it’s overhead press, but there was a different notation given for pressing in Day 3.

  • Simon says:

    Hi Jordan,
    Thanks for writing the article.
    Do you have any opinions on the lack of deadlift volume in traditional TM? I appreciate the PCs or extensions will help improve the DL, but one intensity set per week does seem quite low.
    Simon

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      I think the general idea behind the TM DL volume is that someone will still be able to add weight to their DL weekly and thus, more volume isn’t needed to drive the adaptation. Obviously, this may change with the individual.

  • Arash says:

    Jordan – Excellent article.

    Couple of questions about the hypertrophy routine?

    a. I assume you increase the weight for Deadlift (10lb per week) and all others at 5lb per week?

    b. Should the 2x/week work (arms, abs & hiit) be done on non lifting days (Tue & Thurs) or the end of one of your lifting days?

    c. why is the Press only once at 3×3? I’ve had rotator issues so want to do press 2x week. Any issues in swapping them around so I Press twice (8×5 and 15amrap) and BP only once (3×5)?

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      a) Whatever the max interval of weight increase that will go on a particular week is what I’d advocate. It might be 5lbs, 10lbs, or 2.5lbs depending on the lift, the week, and level of advancement.
      b) Either/or, though my preference is for off days.
      c) That’s just where I’d put it on a hypertrophy routine. You can press 2x/wk if you want and BP only once, sure.

  • Bryan says:

    Thank you for the excellent article. I was hoping that you could elaborate upon the guidance to not wear a belt during accessory work (Power Clean substitutions – #4 above).
    Thanks!

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      It’s just a way to limit the load on the bar so as not to potentially overdo the weekly tonnage. I don’t see it as a black and white issue, however.

  • Mikey says:

    Excellent article. Now when someone asks me how the Texas Method helps them achieve their goals I don’t have to sputter ineloquently at them, can save five minutes of my life, and point them here.

    Silly question though: With the Olympic biased routine (number 12 here), where would you recommend the rest days fall? Also, is any particular group of lifts done “light” (below the weight one could lift for the prescribed sets and reps if they gave 100%) like Day 2 in the traditional Texas Method?

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      I’d train Mon and Tues, off Weds, train Thurs, off Fri, train Saturday.

      None of them are “light” explicitly, but due to the movements listed some will be less stressful and less heavy than others.

  • Aaron says:

    Thanks Jordan, this is really helpful–the 4 day split looks like a great option for me with my schedule.
    A couple questions:
    1) Can you comment on the reasoning behind having the press 3×8 and then 3×3 rather than 5×5 and 1×5 (just curious!)
    2) Do you have a suggestion for determining what starting weights to use for the 3×8 and 3×3 when all I know is my 3×5 max from S.S?
    3) What would you think of switching the Monday 3×8 with a 1×5 (doing it before the Volume Bench) and Wednesdays 3×3 with a 5×5, thereby having separate intensity days? (M: PR, T: PC, W: BP, TR, SQ/DL).
    Thanks!

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      1) I think 3×8 is more manageable for getting in meaningful volume that you recover from vs the higher intensity of 5×5. And doing 3×3 allows for a bit more manageable progression overall when splitting up training like this IMO.
      2) I wouldn’t use a percentage or anything- but rather just do sets of 8 up until something feels like you only have 2-3 reps left in the tank. That’d be your first set of 8.
      3) I think you could try it, but it hasn’t worked well at all in my experience (tried it myself).

      • Glenn says:

        Is the 3×8 and 3×3 press meant as recovery/light, similar to the press movement done on the light day? Or is it intended to be the volume and intensity parts for the press?
        Is there benefit to switching the rep scheme between bp and PR week to seek like you would in a 3 day tm?
        Awesome right up too! I think the four day split might allow me to fit this in before work!

        • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

          1) Yes, but not that the press should feel light- it just IS light because it’s the press. It’s going to be hard, with the 3×3 being “heavy”. It just takes less from a recovery standpoint because it’s a light pressing variant.

          2) Sure, if you keep the press’ priority the same as the bench press.

          Thanks for reading.

  • Marcus says:

    A really solid article! I got a lot from this!
    What do think you think about mixing intensity and volume day?
    e.g.
    Mon
    Bench/press 5RM
    Squat 5×5

    Wed
    Light day

    Fri
    Squat 5RM
    Bench/press 5×5

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      I don’t think that works very well. Having tried it, everything basically just goes to hell sooner or later. Volume is more important IMO.

  • Sam says:

    Really like this especially #12 and am going to start following it soon. What is the purpose on day 2 of doing EMOM for the hang snatch x1x10? Is it just to conserve time?

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      A) Conserve time, B) At a meet you might follow yourself so doing it on a clock may help prepare you for this, C) Limits the amount of thinking done between sets and allows for more practice in a set period of time.

  • Jay says:

    Great article. Everything laid out clearly. Extremely useful, and not just for guys doing TM. Great tips helpful for any rational training with big barbell movements(I’m doing 5 3 1). This is my first visit to this website, and to quote a famous cyborg, “I’ll be back”:).

  • Tom says:

    I feel like I’m being an idiot, but with routine #8 for bodybuilding, AMRAP for 15mins whilst being submaximal? I’m not really understanding what weight % you’d use to keep it submaximal yet still drive progress

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      Anything over ~65-70% can drive growth with enough volume- though there’s an inflection point where the load selected either requires too much volume or is too heavy to get enough volume. So I default to picking an 8-10rm Load and doing as many reps as possible without going to failure. I’d try to get more weight or more reps or both each week.

  • Sam says:

    I was wondering if on number 12 it would be ok to throw in a 3RM front squat on day 4 after deadlifts?
    Would there be a better place to put it or would it really just be best to leave that out?

  • Wayne says:

    Hi Jordan – great article. In your experience are there major downsides to #3? My deadlift progression has slowed to a halt having it third on ID, so am considering this to kickstart it again.

  • Felix says:

    I have a couple of questions about #9 accessories and their purpose. Currently I’m programming it like this:

    Ab work: weighted ab-wheel roll outs, 3xFailure. I increase the weight if I could do more than 7 per set. Thoughts? More exercises? Different approach?

    Back extensions: currently doing 3×15 weighted, increasing the weight every week (so far I’ve done this with 0kg, 10kg). I’m thinking this is NOT the way to do this, it is too easy and the wait between each set is less than 1 minute which feels more like hypertrophy than something a power lifter would do.

    What is the purpose of back extensions here?
    What should be the focus?
    Should I substitute this exercise for something else?
    Would it make more sense to do something like row or RDL/SLDL?

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      I think if you’re doing ab wheel roll outs all the way out from your toes and are trying to add weight, I’d probably find another more challenging exercise to work on, such as L sits/V sits/gymnastics stuff. I wouldn’t add “more” ab work, as it can easily become a distraction. That being said, I don’t know many people who can do ab wheel roll outs from their toes to full extension and even less that can do them with weight. So I think you probably have room to improve here.

      For the back extensions, it’s just a light back accessory designed to give the erectors some extra volume through a dynamic range of motion (flexion and extension) and pump some blood through them. They will feel like hypertrophy work initially. Ways to make them harder involve using a barbell on your back for resistance, doing back extensions off of a GHR, or more reps/sets, etc. I don’t think another pulling movement is appropriate or necessary for most people who should be using this template.

  • Nick says:

    Approaching plateue on SS which led me to read this article. My squat is progressing unbelievably my bench is decent but my dead not so much. My squat has actually surpassed my deadlift after runnin this cycle. Could this be due to lack of frequency and volume what would you suggest to get my dl up before i jump ino the tm

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      Assuming you’re squatting to depth, doing your cleans and chin ups, and are motivated to deadlift- I think the easiest thing you can do is to put deadlifts first on Day 2 within the context of the advanced novice LP. So you would deadlift first, then bench or press, then do your light day squat. Outside of that, adding a back off set to your deadlifts or doing 2-3 sets of 5 across on deadlifts instead of 1 set are good ideas IMO.

  • Will says:

    Hey, Jordan, great article! I’m going back to school soon amd returning to TM. I need to reduce the time on VD, so option 1 looks great, but I would also like to periodize the program as option 2 would have helped last time around. Is there a way to combine the two? Split it like option one but keep the rep prescription of option 2?

  • Shaun says:

    Jordon, thankyou for your in depth article i would like to rotate rep ranges on my intensity days on my 4 day upper lower texas method i was thinking wk 1-5rm wk 2-3×3 wk 3-5x singles then repeat. My lifts are 145kg pause bench 200kg dl 175kg sq 90kg press at 102.5kg bw. Would you advise a different way to run intensity days? Volume days are as normal sometimes lighter depending on how i feel. Cheers

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      I think that’s fine, but I would probably correspondingly change the volume day rep ranges to reflect the “periodization” you’re trying.

  • Jonathan says:

    Wow. Been reading your website and fb page for a bit; this is your most useful piece!

    Can I ask for advice? 49 year old male, 150 lbs, detrains quickly. Switched from SS to TM after a few months as it was too hard setting PRs every time I walked into the gym. TM going great for 2 months. Sore after VD but make it and hit new 5RMs every ID. A schedule shift means need I now have lots of gym time during the weekends but can only go once and for a shorter time during week. Might this work?

    Sat – VD
    BP 5×5 (90% of 5RM)
    Press 8×3 sets
    Chin max x 3 sets

    Sun – VD
    Sq 5×5 (90% of 5RM)
    PC 3×5 sets increasing each time
    Ab work

    Wed – ID
    Sq 5RM
    BP 5RM
    DL 5RM

    Then next week swap press.

    Will this work or too much time between workouts? Any changes? How heavy should my press/BP be when it is my off week/second exercise? As I have more time on weekends, any assistance exercises to help drive adaptation for ID?

    Or do I need to try something completely different?

    Thanks!

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      This looks like a fine setup to me. Only tweaks I’d suggest is to press on Sunday on weeks you’re benching 2x and to bench on Sunday on weeks you’re pressing 2x. I wouldn’t add any assistance exercises, rather I’d just spend more time during warm ups making sure your technique is spot on. I’d also probably gain weight.

      • Jonathan says:

        Thanks so much.
        150 lbs is after having gained more weight than I ever have, but I’ll try.
        So does the press on Sun serve the same purpose as recovery press on a regular 3-day TM routine? 3 sets of 5 at 90% prior VD or do you suggest something different?

  • Matt says:

    Jordan,
    Great Article. Due to my schedule, Option 1 seems like something I could work on. Just curious as to why the Intensity day is the same upper body exercise as the day 2 volume day? In my limited experience I would think the upper body exercise from Day 1 volume would work better for the intensity day. Thanks.

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      In the traditional TM method, the volume day drives the intensity day for the same lift. I kept that relationship in option 1 and have seen it work. I don’t necessarily think doing bench 5×5 on VD and then pressing a 3RM on ID would be a bad idea, but I haven’t programmed it and evaluated its efficacy. I’m not sure what you mean by your last sentence “The upper body exercise from Day 1 Volume would work better for the intensity day”, as they are the same exercise in this example.

      • Matt says:

        Jordan,
        Thanks for the quick reply. I was looking under your ‘preferred template’ for option 1 and got a little confused. In your preferred template week 1 looks like this.

        Day 1: Volume
        Squat 5×5
        Press 5×3
        Extensions

        Day 2: Volume:
        Bench 5×5
        Deadlift 5×1
        Chin-ups

        Day 3: Intensity Day
        Squat 5rm
        Bench 3rm*
        Power cleans

        In my limited experience wouldn’t doing Bench 5×5 on Volume day 2 limit the ability to do the Bench 3rm on the ID (Day 3) which is only 2 days later. I would think ID that should use the press exercise from Volume Day 1?

        Hopefully the above made my question more clear.

  • jim creighton says:

    Hi Jordan,
    Great article. For number 8 (Bodybuilder) – could I substitute safety bar squats for the front squats?
    Thanks.

  • jim creighton says:

    Great – many thanks.

  • Niels says:

    Hi Jordan,

    Great article!
    I have a shoulder injury, which is really difficult for me, to get overwith. So for the past 5 month i haven’t been pressing at all. Last month i started shoulder pressing light dumbbells. Instead i’ve been doing squats, deadlifts plus many kinds of rows to keep me going. And with at lot of progression.

    Now i would like to try TM, but i cant bench or press any near the volumes scheduled in the template.
    Do you have any suggestions on what to do? Im thinking of doing TM without the scheduled press and bench, just do some injury recovering work on the side. But if i take those exercises out, the days will be a lot shorter, and not as challenging. Maybe i could move DL up after SQ on VD and then do 5 sets of a row variant? And on LD and ID i could change press and bench with either a variant of DL or row.

    What do you think about that? And do you have any alternatives?

    Thanks

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      Why don’t you just run your bench and press on a novice LP progression until you need intermediate type programming and keep the SQ and DL on the TM?

  • john says:

    good read , i was planning on doing more than 5 reps on wednesday for the top deadlift set but stay short of failure by a rep, do this weekly until the 5 reps are more challenging when i get further along the weeks ahead and then move to 5s then triples, any thoughts on this? thanks

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      I don’t think high rep sets work very well for strength/bringing up the deadlift. I have played with them a bunch and that’s my opinion on them. A single heavy set of 5 works for a while, add weight each week. Then add more sets. Then add more deadlifting frequency.

  • Wayne says:

    Mr.Feigenbaum, great article. Very grateful for you sharing.
    I’ve tweaked my lower back or hip doing the high-bar narrow stance atg squat on my ending of 5×5 stronglifts about a month and a half ago & was about to switch to intermediate. I worked up to 275lb x5 high bar. I have complications back squatting light weight. Though, I can front squat heavy & split squat too & probably sumo deadlift with an upright posture. Ive switched my ohp 135 to incline 145. Also i can still pendlay row with no problem. How would I go about running front or splits in TM?

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      If you have an injury that prevents you from adding weight to the bar in back squats, I would advise fixing it/letting it heal before advancing your programming and increasing the volume. You might consider front squatting and RDL’s 3x/wk for a few weeks to let this thing heal and/or seeking some additional resources like massage/chiro/ART to see if any of those help too.

  • Shaun says:

    Hey Jordan, great article and I really enjoy the TM and it’s been working for me to boost my DL, OHP and Bench. I can’t squat because of a spinal injury, but can leg press comfortably. How would you modify the Bodybuilder template to accommodate? I’m thinking Leg Prese on day 1 and 3 and RDL instead of front squats on day 2 to balance out the quad/Ham work?

  • jimmi says:

    I really like it. Nice website

  • Trappy-chan says:

    Great article.
    Just wanna mention that, for Olympic Weightlifting, Pendlay used to have his athletes do the oly lifts every day and run the squat with the texas method.
    Here’s a small conversation he had in his forum http://pendlayforum.com/showthread.php?s=54292640db006a90761951ca89a1e3ff&t=7084

  • Beau Stanley says:

    Jordan,

    Super helpful article, and it deals with some specific questions I’ve been thinking through. One primary question lingers for me, though. My power seems low relative to my strength (210# full clean vs. 290# front squat, for example), and I don’t think I’m particularly explosive. Though I don’t intend to compete in weightlifting, I have wondered if given my perceived power/strength discrepancy it might be wise to use something like #12 above. But then again, maybe it would just be better to focus on strength and go with something like #10 given my CrossFit background and enjoyment of HIIT, and just figure that the power will eventually catch up as much as is genetically possible. Given what I have outlined, do you think one of these would be more appropriate?

    Any thoughts you have are appreciated, and thanks again for providing a great resource here.

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      I think you have to train your power production, e.g. a display of force, to keep pace with your improvement in force production. I don’t think you should focus in Olympic WL, but you should do power cleans 1-2x/wk, sure.

  • Tommy says:

    Really great article! How would you set it up if you sometimes only have time to train 2 times per week? Skip the light workout or just keep it rolling?

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      Depends how far apart the 2 days you can train are- but if they’re >72hrs I’d skip the light day and try and train that way. Hard to make a lot of progress on 2x/wk.

  • Trey says:

    Great article. I’m currently in my 3rd week of the Texas Method after reading up on this and other articles about it.

    I just had a quick question regarding my own alterations to the program. I’d like to include at least 1-2 days of HIIT cardio to the program (#10 looks like a decent template for that), but also wanted to include at least 2 days a week of hitting my biceps and triceps. I have a 20 minute high volume program that I like to do, and also a 30 minute program that’s an intensity/volume combo of sorts.

    My issue is finding out how to incorporate 2 days of bi’s/tri’s plus having the 2 days of cardio while not tapping into my recovery and effecting my intensity day during the Texas Method.

    Any suggestions on which days I could look to try this to reap the benefits?

    Thanks again for any input

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      My issue is finding out how to incorporate 2 days of bi’s/tri’s plus having the 2 days of cardio while not tapping into my recovery and effecting my intensity day during the Texas Method

      Unfortunately, this is not possible.

  • Rav says:

    Thanks for article!

    With the oly lifting variation, would it be necessary to have a deload every 4th week, or would the 3 days rest per week be sufficient?

    Also would it be more beneficial to perform snatch/clean deadlifts as opposed to conventional?

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      I don’t think planning deloads is a good idea on an LP type program. I also think I’d have someone who is relatively “new” to Olympic lifting do conventional deadlifts in their Oly shoes with a flat back.

  • Anna says:

    I am a young woman currently on SS’s Advanced Novice with 5 sets of 3, thinking of switching to TM with 8×3, 3×3, and 1×3 for volume, light, and intensity days respectively, keeping DL at 1×5 as long as possible since it is behind my other lifts (no power cleans). Does this sounds reasonable to you? Thanks!

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      Yes, but I’d do something in place of power cleans like more chins, RDL’s, or rows (gasp!) if you absolutely cannot power clean.

  • Jordan says:

    Great read! Informative and concise. A couple quick questions regarding the hypertrophy mode:
    First (I realize this is a dumb question, but bear with me) I’m a bit confused as to the rep/set breakdown you’re using in the chart. For instance, on volume day, do you recommend 8 sets of 5 of bench and squat, or is it the other way around (the same question goes for row on light day, is it 3 sets of 9 or the other way around). Similarly, on intensity day, are we looking at 5 sets of AMRAP without failure?
    Second, with this particular routine, are we swapping bench and press, as with the other routines, every other week? Or is this hypertrophy routine focused more on building bench, leaving OHP as the light day press every week?

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      1) 5 sets of 8
      2) 3 sets of 9
      3) AMRAP in 15 min= As many reps as possible in 15 min of the load used for the set of 5
      4) Yes, alternate them weekly.

  • Guido says:

    Great read! I like your solution for spreading out the program over four days. Will recommend this to someone who is currently running this program and always seems to be short on time.

  • Duncan says:

    Hi Jordan,

    Very interesting article. The powerlifting template is definitely something I am considering to use in preparation for my next meet. I have one question though. If your meet is about 16 weeks away would you ever program the deadlift so that you’re hitting 5 sets of 5 instead of just one top set of 5 and then decrease the volume as you’re getting closer to the meet? The reason I am asking is because I feel like I am always getting stuck around the same weight (200kg) if I am just working up to a heavy set of 5.

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      I would likely just do a bit more volume instead of a LOT more volume at first. So, something like doing 1 top set of 5, then two back off sets of 5 and drop kicking power cleans for paused DL’s or RDL’s would be something I’d consider.

  • Shaun Robinson says:

    Hi Jordan – with regards to the 4 day split mentioned above, would you have any issue with Friday being Squat and Abs, then Saturday being a separate day for Deadlifts? Also, if you were going to include any direct arm work, would it be better to do it on Monday’s Upper Volume or Thursdays Upper Intensity? Thank you.

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      It doesn’t matter to me when you do arms- I’d probably do it 2x/wk if I was going to do it since they need volume (just don’t make yourself brutally sore if you’re not doing any arm work currently).

      I don’t have a problem with splitting up squats and pulls, but I wouldn’t do “abs” the day before deadlifts and I’m also not sure how much it would matter other than time spent in the gym to move the DL a day later.

  • CL says:

    Great Article!

    Jordan,
    how would one progress on the hypertrophy version?
    Would you use the same progress protocol (i.e. add 2.5-5 lbs per week, etc.) be the same as on the normal template?
    And how would the hypertrophy program affect strength gains?

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      1) Adding weight weekly until that is no longer possible
      2) Altering rep ranges over time (periodization) or add sets to continue progressive overload
      3) A hypertrophy focused program will produce less strength improvements than a strength focused program.

  • CL says:

    Still on the hypertrophy program, at what percentage of Intensity Day should Volume Day of 5 sets, 8 Reps be done?

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      The volume work is going to be about 15-20% less than what you’re using on ID for 5’s, unless you’re a female.

  • Jyri says:

    Hi Jordan!
    If a guy in his mid 40s like me would like to do TM without crashing an burning, what kind of approach would you recommend? Less sets across, pyramiding, 4-day split…?

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      I like option 3 or 5 here. Alternatively, doing a “split” routine w/ the following:
      Day 1- Squat 5×5, Chins
      Day 2- Bench 5×5, Press x 8 x 3
      Day 3- Squat x 5, Bench x 5, DL x 5

      *Alternate Bench and press weekly. Can also move the heavy DL to Day 1 and put chins on Day 3 (or all days if you’re good at them)

      • Jyri says:

        Jordan, thank you very much for your reply! So for an older guy you’d rather use the dynamic volume day than reduce sets or pyramiding sets? The reason I’m persisting on this is that I’ve read often that volume is the enemy for an older lifter, e.g. Andy Baker seems to advocate one max two top sets and back-offs.
        One final question, in option 5 EMOM sets should be 70-80 %, is it from 1RM or 5RM? Thanks again!

  • Kregna says:

    This is really helpful, thanks for taking the time to do this

    Honestly better than Justin Lascek’s ebook that I bought…

    Carry on with gainzZz my son

  • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

    I think that I’d drop kick cleans entirely and either transition over to solution # 2 or something different, as it appears there’s likely not enough time between VD and ID to keep driving the weights up. So, you could stretch it out over a few more days such that week 1, you’d do VD as planned and ID would just be 90% of VD weights (but less volume). Week 2, you’d repeat the VD from week 1, then PR on ID- so now TM is stretched out over 2 weeks.

    • Browndog says:

      First off, thanks for the reply to an old thread. I hadn’t realized that your post was over a year old when I wrote in.

      To the meat of the matter – So the first ID ends up being a mini RD?

      I’ve repeated VD for a couple of the lifts recently and hit my ID numbers the next week, so it appears your solution has some merit.

      Again, thanks for your time!

  • Shaun says:

    Hey Jordan – for the hypertrophy layout, assuming the user wasn’t going to alternate Bench and OHP, but instead Bench 2x every week and OHP 1x every week, how would you load/progress the OHP? Thanks in advance, great blog.

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      It probably wouldn’t go up unless overall upper body strength responds well to the benching volume and loading. I’d try to add an extra rep to the sets on the press from week 1 to week 2, then add weight while keeping reps the same from week 2 to week 3, then alternate as long as that works, but I don’t think it’ll work very well for getting strong. For overall hypertrophy, doing an additional set may be necessary after ~3-4 weeks.

  • Eric says:

    Jordan,

    I noticed on Instagram that you’re a former Motocross guy. Would you use the “Conditioning” template that you outlined in this article for training for the sport or would you suggest something else? Im a former racer turned weekend warrior and Id like to get stronger for my job as a Firefighter and still be able to ride a few motos on the weekends with my buddies next season without dragging my tongue. My conditioning is excellent right now (raced at an expert level on the MTB this summer) but Ive lost alot of mass/strength as a result. Former Pr’s are a 420lb Squat, 275 bench, 465 Deadlift)

    Im assuming doing a 10-20 min conditioning/Crossfit circuit the day after both the volume/intensity days would be fine as long as its reasonable in terms of intensity? Or should I just stick to Mountain biking a few times a week (60-90mins aerobic) and run the program as its intended?

    Thanks!

  • Bobby Jackson says:

    What does the PR in PR x 8 x 3 stand for?

  • Michael says:

    Hi Jordan,

    Very nice article!!
    What do you think about volume vs strength.
    Do you think that doing some volume work during several weeks could make your strength increase in the long run ?
    In other words will being stronger in the rep range 5-8 make increase your strength in the 1-3 afterwards.

    Currently following a 4-day strength program of RTS (Mike). Squat and bench went up, but DL seems to be stuck at 165 @10 rpe.
    Program includes 2x deadlift/week with one day being more of an accessory day (pauze dl)
    Do you think doing a few steps back and working on increasing my 5rm would solve this problem?

    Thanks!

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      I think that more volume, in general, is likely to produce increases in strength. I don’t think that the rep ranges should be too different, however.
      I think more deadlifting will likely help your deadlift 🙂

  • Mitchell says:

    Great article Jordan!

    Switching 5×5 from sets across to pyramid sets is a great option.
    I will definitely switch DE for this.

    Thanks!

  • Coop says:

    Great article Jordan, I know it’s older but I’ve started the 4-day option and really enjoy it. Would you see any problem directly switching bench for OHP? Trying to build my OHP and in all honesty I’m just not a huge fan of benching.

  • Classic says:

    Hi Jordan,

    I love this article. I’ve been running 5/3/1 for the past 2 years, and I’d like to return to a 5×5 routine (sadly, I’m still intermediate). The 4 day version looks perfect for me. 3 quick questions:

    1) You mentioned not doing planned deloads for linear progression. When I can no longer complete the routine due to fatigue, do I “reset” the weights, or take a few days off, or what?

    2) On 5/3/1, I replaced the press with incline bench, at an 8/6/3 rep range, and experienced good chest development. I do lateral raises and rear delt flyes for overall shoulder health. Could I do the same on this program, or is the (OH) press absolutely necessary?

    3) Is there any disadvantage to doing more than 3 sets of chins/pull-ups? I like to keep going until I hit 50 reps, and that can take me quite a while. Does this affect recovery or should I do them weighted with less reps?

    Thanks!

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      1) I would reset.
      2) I wouldn’t make either of those modifications on novice LP.
      3) It might be too much fatigue for a novice, which would compromise progress on the program.

  • Andrew says:

    Hi Jordan,
    Great article!

    I’ve finished SS Advanced Novice and tried TM for few weeks. I’d like to switch to 4-day TM version #2 (PPFST3) for few reasons:
    – shorter training sessions (esp. volume day)
    – training both press and bench for volume and intensity each week (my upper body is behind)

    4-day TM Version #2:
    Monday: Bench 5×5, Press 3×8
    Tuesday: Squat 5×5, Power Clean 5×3
    Thursday: Bench 5×1, Press 3-5RM
    Friday: Squat 5RM/5×1, Deadlift 5RM/1×2
    (next week Bench press and Press is switched)

    1) Is it good idea?

    2) Phase 2 in 4-day TM version #2 is brief:
    “Phase II: Squat/Deadlift work up to singles or doubles”

    Does it mean to directly switch to singles/doubles when I stop making progress on 5 RM or to go slowly like in TM?
    5RM / 3×2 / 2×2 / 1×5 / 1×3 / 1 RM attempt

    3) There’s no Phase 2 for upper body and there are singles right away, is it okay for me considering I’m fresh intermediate?
    I’m afraid getting stuck and resetting often (that happened at the end of novice LP).

    Thank you!

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      I don’t think the programs based on Texas Method without modifying Texas method to a point where it’s unrecognizable are of any use. Similarly, I don’t think basing one’s programming on TM is a good idea. Finally, I don’t like to comment on programs from PPST.

      • Andrew says:

        Thank you Jordan, and sorry for asking, I had no idea.
        I’ll read more stuff then.

        I’ve finished my LP with squat at 360 for 5 @ 190 lb.
        Gained a lot of weight in process, had few resets, used some Advanced Novice stuff.

        To get stronger, do you suggest to go with “General Strength Training Template for the Intermediate/Advanced” as a next step after LP?
        I’ve found the continuation of the program in newsletter, which is nice.

  • Jeffery says:

    What does AMRAP do for the bodybuilding template

  • Stan says:

    Hello

    Thank you for those wonderful examples I’m 34 and have been struggling with the Texas recently (cant adjust back to VD after vacation)
    I have a question to problem 8 the last column 2x/wk those exercises have to be done on any of the days 123 or for example if I do day 1 on monday day 2 on wednesday I can do the 2x/wk on tuesday and thursday? I also bike to my work everyday about 6,5km each way 13km daily total, should I cut out the HIIT or does this not count really as I have already adapted to the commute?

  • Giri says:

    “PR x 8 x 3” – what does “PR” stand for?

  • Scott says:

    I’ve started implementing a version of the four-day program, just switching over from the novice LP. I’m wondering if the 3×3 scheme on the secondary lifts involves me raising the weight every week? Is the volume day at 8×3 with a lower weight going to be enough to push progression for a 3×3 on the intensity day for that lift? Or do I try and raise the weights every other week? Very helpful article by the way.

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      Ideally the weight would go up each week, provided it’s not too heavy. I know that’s not straightforward, but heavier isn’t always better. We’re trying to push the correct training stress each training session.

  • Nathan says:

    Hi Jordan,
    Currently doing the TM workout described in problem 1, when doing the 5×3 on the press what should the weight be?
    5×5 is 90% of my best 5×3 lift, ID I’m aiming for 5 pds extra on the bar compared to my best 5×3, 5×3 bench press is 90% of the 5×5
    If i’m off the mark please left me know, aiming for 5 pds increases on all lifts
    Kind Regards
    NM

  • Patrick Johnson says:

    If I’m cutting (1lb/wk, nothing crazy) would you suggest that I drop VD from a 5×5 to a 3×5? (sets x reps) Also, if the 3×5 isn’t enough volume to reach Maximum Adaptive Volume to progress on ID by 5-10lbs on squats and deads, and 2.5-5lbs both presses, could I just use micro plates and just cut the ID weight progressions in half? (Ex: 2.5-5lbs on squats and deads, and 1.25-2.5lbs on presses)

    Thanks!

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      No. Reduction of volume would render the program useless.

      • Patrick R Johnson says:

        First off, thanks for responding so quickly and taking the time to do so.

        Right now 77% of my 1RM for a 5×5 on VD is killing me, particularly for the squats. I was wondering if I could periodize from 70% up to 77% over 4 weeks while increasing ID 5 rep maxes by 5lbs each week.

        Example of Progression:

        Based off of my current 1RM of 280

        Week 1: VD 196lbs for 5×5, ID 5RM with 240lbs
        Week 2: VD 201.5lbs for 5×5, ID 5RM with 245lbs
        Week 3: VD 207lbs for 5×5, ID 5RM with 250lbs
        Week 4: VD 215.5lbs for 5×5, ID 5RM with 255lbs
        Week 5: Deload

        New estimated 1RM of 298lbs based off a 255lb 5RM (85.6% of 1RM)

        Do you still prefer using a pyramid like you suggested or this method?

  • Ryan says:

    Hi Jordan,

    I know 5/3/1 uses a training max for their programming of 90%. Should I use something similar, lets say, 95% of my current true 5RM for each movement and base all progression off of that instead of using my true 5 rep maxes?

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      No, but this assumes you have a recent and accurate rep max (of any sort) to use as well.

  • Pat says:

    Is volume day only effective when using weight that is a specific percentage based of 5Rm or is it the actual tonnage moved that matters regardless of percentage of 5Rm? (obviously I’m not going to do 10×5 with a 65% of 5RM just to meet volume tonnage comparable to that of a 5×5 @90% 5RM) Volume day is a beast and increasing it each weak by 5lbs is a real struggle.

    Isn’t solution 5 just a complex way of using lower percentages with shorter rest times? And I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around solution 7. In the example, total volume is reduced in order to increase one set by 5lbs. But I’m assuming that is only because you go from 5 sets of 300 across to a pyramid in your example instead of starting with a pyramid model. I figure once you switch over, you would increase all sets by 5lbs and not just the single peak set. I assume this because eventually you won’t be doing enough volume to cause enough adaptation to drive ID day if you only increase the peak set by 5lbs each weak.

    Is there anyway I can have a consultation with either you or a colleague? I have a lot of questions and I was hoping there was a way for me to financially compensate you for your time. Thanks!

    • Jordan Feigenbaum says:

      Volume day is only effective for strength increase if the intensity is correct so, no, tonnage doesn’t matter regardless of intensity. They both matter. Also, you can’t do 5×5 @ 90% period.

      I’m not sure what you’re asking me, but the big issue with standard TM is that the average intensity drops from LP and volume goes down comparatively. We address both of those in these solutions.

      We offer paid consultations, yes. Contact us at info@barbellmedicine.com.

  • I’ve recently shifted to a 4 day a week training schedule after taking 3 days a week as far as I think I can, having been forced to do so for the past ~1.5 years largely due to the number of days available to me to train between full time science job + full time grad school + new baby. However, the first mesocycle of hypertrophy of this macro cycle taught me very quickly however that I had run into the wall of how much work I can actually pack into 3 days and still have the entire workouts be meaningful stresses instead of just grinding my body away.

    I really like your 4 day template for TM, but since the squat volume from the recovery/development day has just been dropped in that, there is no obvious place to slot in some limited sets of lighter squatting. I’m looking to do this largely because I’ve been using front squats on recovery day for the last two macro cycle and have noticed the carry over in leg strength and torso rigidity from doing them; I also like doing them quite a bit (similar to how I actually like doing the press far more than the bench), so I find they help from a mental standpoint as well.

    Where would you put them in? My TM program worked up to a heavy set of 5 (arguably a 5RM in the last few weeks of my second strength mesocycle) and a lighter back off set of 80-90% of that for the 2×5 on recovery day. Would a lighter 2×3 on D2 and a single heavy set of 3-5 on D4 work without affecting back-squat progression? Something else? Not possible?

  • Nathan says:

    I’m assuming it’s trying to fit in too much work to recover from? Save them for hypertrophy mesocycles?

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