The Texas Method Workout Routine, Explained: Pros, Cons + How To

The Texas Method is a popular strength training program that is often used as an intermediate weightlifting program after lifters have worked through a beginner strength training program like Starting Strength or Strong Lifts. 

Beginner weightlifters may also use the Texas Method workout program, but it is typically best reserved for recreational and competitive weightlifters who have some experience rather than complete novices.

But what is the Texas Method workout program? What are the benefits of the Texas Method workouts? Who should try the Texas Method workout program?

In this article, we will discuss what the Texas Method strength training program involves and how to do it. 

We will cover the following: 

  • What Is the Texas Method Workout Program?
  • Principles of the Texas Method
  • What Are the Pros and Cons of the Texas Method Program for Strength Training?
  • How to Do the Texas Method Strength Program

Let’s dive in! 

A person doing a deadlift.

What Is the Texas Method Workout Program?

The Texas Method strength training program was developed by Strength Coach Mark Rippetoe.

Coach Rippetoe specifically designed this strength program for intermediate weightlifters and cautions against beginners trying this method because, in his words, “It’s very, very hard.”

Coach Mark Rippetoe describes the Texas Method strength program as a training program that “balances the stress of increased weight and varied volume with adequate recovery time so that intermediate lifters will progress for an extended period of time.” 

This varied time course of the progression used in the Texas Method is what differentiates it from linear progression strength training programs like Starting Strength and Strong Lifts.

Therefore, if you are trying to decide if the Texas Method is right for you and it’s time to advance from a beginner to an intermediate-level strength training plan, one useful indicator of your readiness to advance your weightlifting plan is if you stop seeing results from StrongLifts, or any other beginner weightlifting program.

Indeed, many intermediate weightlifters have found that the Texas Method helps them break through a strength plateau.

A deadlift.

Principles of the Texas Method

There are several key characteristics or principles of the Texas Method workout program, including the following:

  • It focuses on six compound exercises.
  • It involves performing three full-body workouts per week, so you will need to train three days a week in the gym.
  • It is a full-body strength training routine rather than body parts splits.
  • Each Texas Method workout in your training week focuses on three compound exercises.
  • It uses varied periodization within a given week so that you are changing up the number of reps and sets from workout to workout with a high-volume workout, light workout, and high-intensity workout each week. This is referred to as undulating periodization, and it differs from the basic linear progression model used with beginner strength programs.
  • You will increase the weights/loads for exercises on a weekly basis rather than from one workout to the next within a week.
  • The overall goal of the Texas Method strength program is to support continued gains and improvements after the massive beginner gains have slowed while introducing more advanced weightlifting techniques for progressing strength, such as undulating periodization.
A person doing a barbell backsquat.

What Are the Pros and Cons of the Texas Method Program for Strength Training?

As with most strength training programs, there are pros and cons to the Texas Method program, some of which may be more or less impactful for your own personal circumstances.

Evaluating the benefits of the Texas Method workout program relative to the drawbacks can help you decide if you should try this strength training plan or look into an alternative weightlifting program.

Here are some of the benefits of the Texas Method weightlifting program:

  • It requires training only three days a week, so it can be good for people with limited gym time but want to maximize their gains.
  • It helps break through strength plateaus after beginner improvements have waned so that you can keep setting PRs.
  • It teaches lifters a varied form for training progression and daily undulating periodization, which can help optimize recovery and continue to improve strength without needing to structure in deloading weeks as often or risk overtraining.
  • It is more complex than a novice weightlifting program but is still relatively user-friendly and easy to follow.
  • Given the structure of the Texas Method training plan, the suggested caloric surplus, and the compound lifts, this is a good strength program for those looking to bulk up or build muscle mass.
  • It can feel less repetitive and mentally taxing or boring because of the daily undulating periodization built into the three workouts per week and the tight focus on just three compound exercises per workout.
A person doing a barbell backsquat.

The potential drawbacks of the Texas Method training program include the following:

  • Because the undulating progression is more complicated, you need to stay on top of the details of each workout and put in a little “homework“ before you get to the gym so that you know what you are going to be doing and how you are progressing.
  • It is not very easy to customize the Texas Method, so if you have varying goals, needs, or training preferences, you might not be able to find a decent program modification. 
  • The first workout of the week is a high-volume day with long rest periods in between sets. This workout may take upwards of two hours, which can be time-consuming and difficult to fit into your schedule. However, if you don’t take the proper rest and do all the sets, you won’t be able to achieve the intensity and volume of this workout.
  • The Texas Method workout is generally best for bulking rather than cutting. Weightlifters following the Texas Method are encouraged to eat in a caloric surplus in order to support continuous improvement, which will help you put on mass but not necessarily get cut or shredded.
A person doing an overhead press in the Texas Method.

How to Do the Texas Method Strength Program

You will perform three workouts per week on the Texas Method workout program. Although you can choose any three days per week to train, you should try to have at least 48 hours in between workouts. 

For this reason, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (or Saturday) splits or Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday (or Sunday) workouts work best.

For each Texas Method workout in the week, you focus on just 3-4 exercises. The three main compound exercises per workout involve doing sets of 5 reps with a weight that is a certain percentage of your 5RM (the max weight you can use for five full reps).

You must follow this exact order in terms of the high-volume, light day, and heavy day in a row each week.

The workouts alternate in overhead presses every other week.

Here are the exercises and workout specifications for the Texas Method Workout Program:

A person doing a chin up.

Week 1 (and odd weeks)

Workout 1: High-Volume Day: 5 reps with 90% of your 5RM per set and more total sets.

  1. Squat: 5 sets of 5 reps (90% of 5RM)
  2. Bench Press: 5 sets of 5 reps (90% of 5RM)
  3. Deadlift: 1 set of 5 reps (90% of 5RM)

Workout 2: Light Day: 5 reps with 70% of your 5RM per set and fewer total sets.

  1. Squat: 2 sets of 5 reps (70% of 5RM)
  2. Overhead Press: 3 sets of 5 reps (70% of 5RM)
  3. Chin-Up: 3 sets to failure using just bodyweight
  4. Hyperextension or Glute Ham Raise: 5 sets of 10 reps with bodyweight

Workout 3: Heavy (High-Intensity) Day: A single set of 5 reps per exercise with the goal of setting a new 5RM each week in this workout.

  1. Squat: 1 set of 5 reps (aim for setting a new 5RM PR)
  2. Bench Press: 1 set of 5 reps (aim for setting a new 5RM PR)
  3. Deadlift: 1 set of 5 reps (aim for setting a new 5RM PR)
A person doing a hamstring curl.

Week 2 (and even weeks)

Workout 1: High-Volume Day: 5 reps with 90% of your 5RM per set and more total sets.

  1. Squat: 5 sets of 5 reps (90% of 5RM)
  2. Overhead Press: 5 sets of 5 reps (90% of 5RM)
  3. Deadlift: 1 set of 5 reps (90% of 5RM)

Workout 2: Light Day: 5 reps with 70% of your 5RM per set and fewer total sets.

  1. Squat: 2 sets of 5 reps (70% of 5RM)
  2. Bench Press: 3 sets of 5 reps (70% OF 5RM)
  3. Chin Up: 3 sets to failure using just bodyweight
  4. Hyperextension or Glute Ham Raise: 5 sets of 10 reps with bodyweight

Workout 3: Heavy (High-Intensity) Day: A single set of 5 reps per exercise with the goal of setting a new 5RM each week in this workout.

  1. Squat: 1 set of 5 reps (aim for setting a new 5RM PR)
  2. Overhead Press: 1 set of 5 reps (aim for setting a new 5RM PR)
  3. Deadlift: 1 set of 5 reps (aim for setting a new 5RM PR)

Curious to try a different strength training program or compare weightlifting programs to find the best one for you? Check out our guide to the 5×5 strength training program here.

A person doing a bench press.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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