Autoregulating the Texas Method Part 4: Periodization and Final Thoughts

This is the last 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 3: Template and Exercise Selection

The author and his deadlift face
The author and his deadlift face

 

Series Finale

My series on Autoregulating the Texas Method is far and above the most popular set of posts on this blog. Altogether the previous three posts have received almost 2000 unique views in 2014. For this small blog that’s saying a lot. So I wanted to thank you all for spreading these blog posts around the internet. At the end of the last post I said that in this final entry I will give some final thoughts on the program and also provide a downloadable PDF with an example of the program. I’ve finally got off my bum and finished this series. What follows is my final thoughts on Autoregulating the Texas Method. At the bottom of this article you’ll find a link to sign up for the forceXdist mailing list. We’ll then send you downloadable PDF which contains an updated copy of the entire Autoregulating the Texas Method series as well as an example template and program.

Periodization

Personally I think one of the best modifications to the Texas Method is to periodize the intensity day. I’m certainly not the first person to suggest periodizing the Texas Method. Justin Lascek uses a form of it in his ebooks. Chad Wesley Smith has also developed a form using it. In my opinion, programmed drops in volume and increases in intensity will be better than dropping reps when you fail to achieve the desired amount. This is because you will generally accrue more fatigue when going to failure. If you program it instead you’re less likely to run yourself into the ground with fatigue.

Here’s an example Intensity day setup. Let’s say we’re programming an 8 week cycle:

Week 1 & 2

x5 @9, 5% fatigue

Week 3 & 4

x4 @9, 5% fatigue

Week 5 & 6

x3 @9, 5% fatigue

Week 7 & 8

x2 @9, 5% fatigue

For this example we’re gradually increasing the intensity over the course of 8 weeks. Every two weeks the reps are dropped by one which will have the effect of increasing the intensity. The trainee should be trying for reps PRs every friday. 9 RPE is a guideline but if the individuals goes higher with the RPE it’s probably okay. We’re just not looking for gut-busting grinds for the most part. Why not start with higher reps and then go down to singles? If we start at fives the trainee will probably lift a good deal heavier than the volume day and we really want the focus to be on heavier weight on this day. We don’t move to singles in this example because the understanding is that the trainee would then have a test week where they’d taper and then have a mock meet at the end of the week. It’s conceivable that you could also treat Week 9 as a normal training week and then do singles @9 or @10 on Friday as a sort of test. You’d probably expect results to be slightly lower in that case than if the trainee had tapered.

The Texas Method in Context

I want to take the time now to discuss the Texas Method within the context of the trainees overall development. I do feel the TM is a fairly good program for an intermediate trainee as it allows for weekly PRs immediately coming off of a novice program (where one is generally hitting a PR every day). This will help to keep them motivated and also give them an understanding of a more delayed PR-type scenario. I also think it’s good in that it’s generally an individual’s first introduction to higher intensity, higher RPE style lifts which is certainly important for the intermediate trainee.

At some point, pushing PRs every week will not work and it’s time to move to a more sustainable style of training. The TM template we developed here is not a bad layout for an individual pushing past intermediate but there will be several modifications required. The first change is for the weekly fatigue distribution. Rather than accruing a bunch of fatigue on Monday we’ll rather spread the fatigue throughout the week, so that each day is set at 5% fatigue. The effect is separating the idea that Monday is driving Friday’s progress. That’s true to an extent but the truth is they work in tandem.

Another big change is to spread the intensity and volume slots throughout the week. Because we lump the volume and intensity work all on the same days it can take a long time to get through all of that work the day of. Here’s an example of this sort of template:

Monday Wednesday Friday
Intensity Squat Intensity Bench Intensity Deadlift
Volume Bench Volume Squat Developer Bench
Volume Deadlift Shoulders/Triceps Developer Squat

With the spreading of fatigue the volume slots should be a lot more manageable time-wise. Eventually, though, it might take too much time to get through the work required. This may be a good time to shift towards a 4 day a week template. With a 4 day a week template the trainee will have less time in the gym, initially, and allow for the addition of new slots to increase volume when necessary to continue progressing. This is an example of what a four day template might look like:

Monday Tuesday Thursday Friday
Intensity Squat Intensity Bench Intensity Deadlift Volume Squat
Volume Bench Developer Squat Shoulders/Triceps Developer Bench
Volume Deadlift

As you can see we didn’t change any of the slots, only added a day and shifted the existing slots around. The first three days should be shorter sessions with Friday (or maybe Saturday) as a longer session to maintain and develop conditioning. At this point this is a sustainable template that a trainee can “grow” into.

Conclusion

This concludes our series on Autoregulating the Texas Method. The intent was to give you all of the tools to build your own customized autoregulated version of the Texas Method, rather than just handing you a program to run. If you click the link below you can sign-up for the forceXdist mailing list. By signing up you’ll receive notifications on new articles and offerings from this blog. You’ll also receive a link to a downloadable PDF containing the full Autoregulating the Texas Method series as well as example program setups that you can use when designing your own versions. If you’ve enjoyed the series please take a moment to like our Facebook Page. We always appreciate when readers share our articles!

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6 thoughts on “Autoregulating the Texas Method Part 4: Periodization and Final Thoughts”

  1. I’m curious about the change you have mentioned. While I see the idea is that you are trying to spread out the intensity and the volume and such for all lifts across the week, I think you are missing out on the main programming bit of the TM, or even the GAS in general.

    The body is a whole.

    You want overall body volume to be high on Day 1, recovery for overall body on day 2 and day 3 is when you can test max lifts because the body should ideally be prepared because of day 1 and day 2, as a WHOLE.

    You’re trying to do this individually for each lift, but the body in this case will have ALWAYS be in a trained/fatigued state, although not maximal. Day 1, 2 & 3 you are doing Intensity everyday while also adding in volume work on some of these days. This would basically become another novice lifting program where you are making linear progressions EVERY DAY not every week, which is why we even moved to TM or an intermediate level of programming.

    What are your thoughts on the same?

    1. I disagree that it makes it more like a novice program. The point of a novice program is that you are able to progress every day because you recover almost immediately. After intermediate it takes you longer than a week to recover from training, therefore you will indeed be in a more fatigued state week-to-week. This is why deload weeks are more common the longer you are training. Also keep in mind those are template changes. That’s not to say you wouldn’t also modify the set/rep ranges during that same transition.

      FWIW this was loosely based on Mike Tuchscherer’s style of programming. In his mind there’s really no need to be fully recovered to make progress. His programming is successful with many lifters at various stages in their career.

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