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Write-Up on The Texas Method

Powerlifting discussion on Write-Up on The Texas Method, within the Bodybuilding Forum; i for one appreciate the info on the TM because when my linear progress dries up that is definitely what ...


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Old 07-06-2007, 03:49 PM   #11
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i for one appreciate the info on the TM because when my linear progress dries up that is definitely what i'll be moving on to.

theoretically i totally agree with Eric3237's thoughts on the purpose of Friday's session. As far as my understanding of the method goes, the purpose of Friday's session is to display increases in performance brought about by the high volume-high intensity session on monday and the recovery that was allowed by the light session on wednesday. The idea is to keep volume low so that very little homeostatic disruption occurs which would allow one to be fully recovered for the next Monday's session, the "stress" session.
i can see that there are positive and negative aspects to Deadlifting on either wednesday or friday and it is something to experiment with for sure. Even with my current A-B-A, B-A-B style program i've dropped deads now to only once a week to help ensure adequate recovery.

i also agree with the idea that Rip should have included a couple of complete examples just to get an idea of how HE applies the TM to his own trainees. Most likely he didnt because he was afraid people would just do the routine without actually thinking or understanding WHY they were doing it.

anyway, thanks for the info!

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Old 07-06-2007, 04:22 PM   #12
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^^^^Completely agree with everything you said. And also thank you for your post, Riddick. The only reason I posted today was to try and generate some discussion and interest.

I too can see reasons why Rip didn't include more examples. I for one really dislike cookie cutter examples. But I can also see reasons to include them. With that said I think it should be stressed that this should be viewed as a maleable method and never as a static cookie cutter. This idea of every program as this static, by rote recipe that can never be deviated from and adapted to suit reactions is the very thing that is screwing so many people up. It's the kind of thing that is brought on by assorted internet guru's and their "flavor of the month programs" and it's something that people should view as a slice of pie versus a good supply of pie-making ingredients.

Deads can't be placed perfectly on this program. No doubt about it. I would say that the set-up presented here has, very generally speaking, an excellent chance for success in the average trainee. But that doesn't mean that you can't start the deads on Wednesdays and then later move them to Fridays or vice versa. Now that is a very simple and obvious manipulation to me but, frankly, I think very many trainees would keep plugging away at the presented set-up in the face of continued failure because that is what they have been taught to do by "routines". Definitely need to get away from that type of thinking and realize that you are a dynamic and ever-changing type of machine.

That doesn't mean you need to make broad, sweeping changes every couple of weeks either! It just means you have to make relatively small changes to suit circumstances as they arise.

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If you act sanctimonious I will just list out your logical fallacies until you get pissed off and spew blasphemous remarks.
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:46 AM   #13
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some more excellent points Eric!
I would add that the whole "cookie-cutter" mentality is also reinforced by the muscle mags and even more so by the myriad training books avalilabe out there. everyone is trying to "sell" the idea that their method is best and they use pics of genetic supermen and/or drug addled pros to convince us that it will work for US too.
personally I bought into that whole load of crap with Mike Mentzer's Heavy-Duty. i thought I had found the freakin Rosetta Stone of training and plugged away for almost 5 years with it before finally waking up and smelling the coffee! The notion that one can train in a linear fashion with 2-3 sets only once a week until they reach their genetic potential seems so absurd to me now! I honestly cant believe i thought it was possible, lol!
that being said, there were some positive aspects to training with that method and it's interesting for me to note that the PR day in the Texas method is very, very similar to a HD training session, i.e. low volume-max effort training.
ironically it was the internet that was my saving grace and got me on the right track with my training and progress is finally coming on a pretty regular basis!
HD, or more specifically the "Consolidated routine", had left me so de-trained and de-conditioned that i was able to restart with something closely resembling Rip's Starting Strength program and have been using it since Jan 2007 (with a short higher volume cycle thrown in the mix to break things up a bit)
this is not intended as an anit-HIT tirade but merely to illustrate the danger of the "Golden Program" mentality and how it can lead to much wasted effort (years worth in my case)

i think your term for a trainee is perfect: a dynamic, ever-changing type of machine
which would stand to reason that our training must be dynamic too, and take into account the changes happening with our bodies as we (hopefully) progress up the ladder to our genetic potential.
as you rightly pointed out that does NOT mean we must make huge sweeping changes to our programs every few weeks, but that we merely remain conscious of these changes and take steps to keep progress on an even keel.
I'll go out on a limb and say the toughest aspect of training is recovery (which is the thing i thought Mentzer had really nailed down). Generally speaking, I dont think too many of us here have a problem generating enough stress in a session to cause adaptation but how to manipulate intensity and volume so that we can recover from it without losing the gains we've trained so hard for, that to me is the real "art" of training. When you get down to it, the biggest reason our training need ever change IS because strength overtakes recovery ability, right? otherwise we could just add weight to the bar systemtically 3 times a week until we got as big and strong as our genes will let us.

anyway, enough babbling from me
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Old 07-07-2007, 12:24 PM   #14
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That definitely wasn't babbling

I've had the same experience with screwing around with "the magic method" for years spinning my wheels. Most of us have. I'm too embarassed to actually go into mine. Frankly, HIT is much better for a beginner than what I did! I think beginners can make good gains on it and at least it didn't break you...you were able to go on to a more efficient begginer's routine with, I presume, not to many injuries, imbalances, faulty movement patterns, etc. Such was not the case with me! Maybe that's why I stress all this stuff so much.

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Originally Posted by Riddick
ironically it was the internet that was my saving grace and got me on the right track with my training and progress is finally coming on a pretty regular basis!
Yeah, the internet is a blessing and a curse, I think. It's no different then everything else. Here's the very simple thing that most people miss. You have to be willing to take pieces from just about anywhere. Use what works and throw away the rest. From what I observed, most people discover a new fancy looking routine and they start burning bridges, forgetting everything they've learned about themselves, saying "this is what I've been looking for".

Truth is, if I'm reading some training piece and I see the words better, or best in regards to the method, I stop reading and move on.

But I read what you said and I see this excitement. I think there is a lot of excitement when people think they have discoverd "the rosetta stone" as you so righly put it. Then they discover they have to learn, adapt and think for themselves and it's a let down...it's nice to be lead. Then they realize that THEY are in control, not someone else, and it's empowering in a way that the "perfect routine" never was.
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Old 07-08-2007, 12:11 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric3237 View Post
That definitely wasn't babbling

I've had the same experience with screwing around with "the magic method" for years spinning my wheels. Most of us have. I'm too embarassed to actually go into mine. Frankly, HIT is much better for a beginner than what I did! I think beginners can make good gains on it and at least it didn't break you...you were able to go on to a more efficient begginer's routine with, I presume, not to many injuries, imbalances, faulty movement patterns, etc. Such was not the case with me! Maybe that's why I stress all this stuff so much.
dont be embarrassed! I doubt your experience is any worse than mine!!! i am still such a weak sister but at least now the poundages are moving up in a fairly steady manner. i think by summer's end i'll be pushing some iron i can feel at least semi-proud of!
the only real problem i've had to work on as far as movement patterns go is with squatting. After years of reading muscle mags and listening to people (including Mentzer) say "never below parallel", or disregarding them completely and doing leg presses instead, I've had to relearn the movement from scratch which is proving to be rather difficult, but not impossible. Right now my bench and my squat poundage are the same, and fairly pathetic at that, but they're getting better

Quote:
Yeah, the internet is a blessing and a curse, I think. It's no different then everything else. Here's the very simple thing that most people miss. You have to be willing to take pieces from just about anywhere. Use what works and throw away the rest. From what I observed, most people discover a new fancy looking routine and they start burning bridges, forgetting everything they've learned about themselves, saying "this is what I've been looking for".
true, too many get caught up in "routines" without knowing the how's and the why's of what they're doing, myself included. Mentzer was the first guy that I became aware of that talked about fundamentals and got into the theory side of things. I now feel he was way off base on several key points (failure as an axiom, volume as a "negative with a capital N", progressively decreasing frequency, etc) but at the time it was really attractive to me to know WHY i was doing something instead of just blindly following a routine. A routine is just a way of organizing work but how can one do that efficiently if one does not understand why they're doing the work they're doing???

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But I read what you said and I see this excitement. I think there is a lot of excitement when people think they have discoverd "the rosetta stone" as you so righly put it. Then they discover they have to learn, adapt and think for themselves and it's a let down...it's nice to be lead. Then they realize that THEY are in control, not someone else, and it's empowering in a way that the "perfect routine" never was.
i agree!! nothing has been exciting as learning that there are NO "perfect routines"!!!! it's almost like Bruce Lee's philosophy of "using no way as way, having no style as style"!

great talking with ya!
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Old 07-08-2007, 06:02 AM   #16
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this thread is going in a good direction
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Old 07-08-2007, 08:24 AM   #17
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I like this thread because the majority of posts by new members are along the lines of "give me a good routine". Responding by simply giving them a routine only serves to reinforce the view of training as a series of cookie cutter programs tailoring to specific goals. This thread is a welcome change because it is actually encouraging people to play around with their routine and adapt their training around THEIR OWN specific experience.

Cookie cutters are good for absolute beginners to get off and running with training. But only in realizing that the most important thing on your spreadsheet is the cumulative effect of your exercises, reps, time, progression....and not just pretty colours in each cell Just my $0.02 on the issue

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Old 07-10-2007, 01:28 PM   #18
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While I do differ with PP in some fundamental ways when it comes to basic theory (not that I KNOW anything for sure) it am not questioning the basic tenants of the method. I am simply coming at this from the stand point of writing to a general un-coached population. I would never dane to try to instruct proffesional powerlifters. Their needs and their aversion to risk is quite different from people who don't compete. For that matter, the needs of a different kind of athlete and their risk aversion will be different also. For them the need to perform at the utmost in their given endeavor may supercede the need to display maximal strength at any given time.

But one's ability to display maximal strength depends on their state of recovery at that time. So much of this hinges on our ability to manage fatigue. Fatigue can mask fitness gains but the fitness gains are still there. An attempt at a new PR that doesn't result in a new PR can be a very transitory indicator of the state of fitness and fatigue. The fitness is there it is simply masked by residual fatigue.

While it may be possible to perfectly micro-manage fatigue and recovery I don't think it is realistic or even desirable for everyone. Qutie frankly, I don't think people should be doing 24 weeks of 5X5

I happen to think for very good reasons that an inability to make continued PR's on Friday but with no inability to progress on Monday could still be an indicator of fatigue present of Friday that simply disapates by Monday simply because the fatigue from maximal strength work is not as long lasting as fatigue from maximal work. Whatever residual fatigue is present of Friday and whatever fatigue is added by Friday could still disapate enough over two days to allow progress on Monday but again result in residual fatigue masking PR ability on Friday. It is very likely that enough is not being done on Monday to spur continue progress on Friday but it is also very possible that a further reductions in Wednesday's offload could solve the problem. After all what constitutes an effective off-load for anyone individual is bound to be different. Can I guarantee any of this? Of course not. That's the whole point. It has to be flexible.

Obviously if regression occurs on Friday this would be a more clear cut case of residual fatigue. And if progress stalls on Monday and stalls and/or regresses on Friday it should be obvious.

But what is my point here?

It is not simply to disagree with Rippetoe, lol. He's the man. What I'm trying to do is speak to the average trainee. Tell them not to go scrambling to make changes on Monday every time they miss a PR on Friday (I have a feeling this would happen). If you are progressing week to week and there is a very good tendency toward making PR's every Friday you are on a good track. For many this is probably a non-issue. For the most part the very act of attempting a PR on Friday will do the job on Friday (this is where I differ a bit). If you're not trying to meet deadlines then slow and steady wins the race.

What the hell did he just say? It sounds like I'm saying it doesn't take a PR to "facilitate neural pathways"? Yep, that is what I'm saying. Don't get me wrong. I want you to progress on Friday! I just don't want you to panic if you don't once in a while. Ask yourself why it is OK to put speed work on Friday.

Many people come to this kind of training with some very bad habits, imbalances, brewing injuries....all sorts of things that can lead to problems if this were approached with too much "enthusiasm". It is possible to gain strength too quickly (let the hate mail begin ). Lot's of people are doing Starting Strength and I am already seeing little and big injuries crop up. Is this because starting strength is bad? Of course not! It's just that what is good for the goose isn't always good for the gander.

While in this thread we are promoting learning and self awareness you basically start with a cookie cutter approach and I think it is best to build on it slowly and systematically. You don't have Rip looking over your shoulder after all.

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Old 07-11-2007, 09:44 AM   #19
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very good points made!!

one of the biggest faults i have found with Mentzer's writings is his obsession with the term "overtraining". i since have learned that there is a HUGE difference between being overtrained and simply being fatigued or tired.
imo, fatigue management is probably the single most important factor for continued progress and probably the most difficult to fine tune, especially as we (hopefully) adavance.

so yeah i agree a few missed reps or PR's does NOT mean your routine needs an overhaul or that you need to add more and more rest days like Mentzer advises.
Something Rip pointed out in PP was the tendency for people to make the wednesday offload too stressful therefore negating the reason for doing it in the first place. i recall him saying we need to resist the temptation to add more volume or use heavier weights even though we may feel like we arent doing much.
also there are so many outside factors that impact fatigue that making generalized recommendations is the best a guy can do when writing a book. in the end it comes down to you and/or your coach fine tuning the parameters of your program as you go along.

very interesting thread, thanks!
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Old 07-15-2007, 01:52 PM   #20
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Thanks, Riddick.

This is for Reforming who seems like a good guy wanting to make sense of all this. And whose efforts to REFORM I applaud .

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReformingBB
Just read this now. No, I didn't say wrong. Part of my thoughts were covered by Dave. If I am quoting what the man Eric said and saying "This is the most important part," then how could that possibly mean that I think he is wrong
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Originally Posted by ReformingBB

My feelings are that Monday and Friday are inseparably linked, as per the whole notion of the "intermediate programming," which requires multiple workouts in a given week to disrupt homeostasis, as of course you know.

Thus, you can't truly think of it as a Monday to Monday progress and Friday to Friday progress. You COULD, I suppose, think of FRIDAY's working spurring Monday's gains, instead of the other way around. This is essentially what you are doing by placing more emphasis on Monday's PR's. I did exactly the opposite: I changed Monday to a 3x5 for a while once I got stuck and continued to PR on Fridays, when I was not able to before the TM. I got bigger and stronger as expected. MY goal was to increase my bench, not fitness as Eric.

If all you needed to better your Monday's numbers were Monday's workouts, then you wouldn't be considered an intermediate, because that goes directly against the definition of an intermediate via PP.

See what I'm saying?
I think what is happeing here is that TM is becoming the defintion of intermediate programming rather than a method of intermediate programming. The apple cart is rolling along before the horses.

In a nutshell being an intermediate means progressing on a basis that is no longer workout to workout but is some longer period of time. Rippetoe goes over the logic in using a week when using this volume intensity method so I won’t repeat all that. But does there exist a scheme of less than a week and trainee who can strive on it? Of course. Don’t get caught up in time frames. Instead simply recognize that a week makes sense for this type of programming and it’s just more convenient.

So let’s just say being an intermediate means progressing on a weekly basis for the purposes of this discussion. That’s it. That’s all it really is. You do something that is supposed to disrupt homeostasis, fitness increases, fatigue disapates and you are able to do more next week. There is nothing in there which points to a certain method. People need to look past “methods” if they want to understand theories. It doesn’t matter if the homeostatic disruption is actually accomplished over more than one workout or whether it is just one as in TM. If you load and recover within the week you are doing intermediate training as far as our current definition of that goes.

I don’t care about the semantics involving fitness vs. “increasing your bench” or whatever. You increase your bench that is new fitness. You increase your load on bench 5x5 sets across enough and you should have increased your maximal ability on bench. You could choose not to “display that fitness” via a max repetition attempt but the ability is still there provided fatigue is not masking it. I don’t know why this is so difficult to see.

Now the things I have said were not designed to force a new paradigm on to the TM method. I was adding a caveat based on the day to day reality of training this way versus general recommendations. Most everything in PP is designned to accomplish the fastest progress possible. What I have found is that this mentality can be as much of a curse as a blessing when you don’t have a pro guiding your every move. All I am saying is sit back and recognize that there are a whole lot of weekly fluctuations in fitness and no one can really sum them up within a few paragraphs.

Just don’t go scrambling to make major changes if you fail to achieve a PR on Friday. By all means I hope that your efforts on Monday achieve the results to display a PR on Friday but make no mistake if you miss a PR but continue to progress on Monday you will still have achieved new strength. The PR is displaying the new strength and reinforcing it but it will serve it’s purpose even if an occasional PR is missed.

What is the difference? It is the difference between slow and steady and quick progress at all cost. By all means if you are in a huge hurry to get a big bench ignore me. But for those with less experience you are just as likely to bog yourself down and fuck up as you are to help yourself by making continual changes by overemphasing Friday….which I suspected would happen.

For Reforming if going to 3x5 on Monday worked it is most likely because there was too much fatigue build up and the drop in volume enabled new fitness to be manifested. But it is very unlikely that continual progress would be maintained with this. 3x5, once recovery has caught up, is likely not enough stimulus and PR’s don’t spur new PR’s and certainly will not continually drive the progress of a Monday type workout. If that was the way it worked then we would all have a very easy job of increasing our big three.

Friday of TM can simply be thought of as a Taper. Many of us consider a good taper to be simply a drastic reduction (I’ll let the individual define drastic based on his/her experience level) with intensity remaining high. Ideally the fitness from the previous loading period would be displayed though increases in intensity which also serves to reinforce those fitness gains. But in essence it is a period that allows you to remove fatigue without losing fitness. It is there to maintain and or display “fitness”. Many will say to increase fitness but that is not really correct thinking since it makes a taper or peak a program in itself.

A ramp or peak is better of course but, IMO, the most important thing is fatigue is removed and fitness is not lost while being reinforced. This fits Rippetoe’s explanation of Friday’s workout.
Most people who put too much thinking in to this will get themselves five or six weeks of progress before they have thought themselves into a hole.

As for the aspect of Monday to Monday and Friday to Friday “linear” progress, I’ll let Rip speak for me:

“When a program like this is started, the goal is to make progress on both Monday and Friday, just as in the novice program. When all the prescribed sets and reps on Monday are accomplished, raise the weight for the next week. If a new 1RM is set Friday, next week try for a new 2RM. In essence, LINEAR progress is still being made, but the line is now drawn between Monday and Monday, and between Friday and Friday, instead of between Monday and Wednesday.” – Mark Rippetoe

Ok, so notice the Rip says if an new 1RM is made. What if one is not made? You immediately panic at your failure and start rethinking everything? No. Chances are next week will prove to be successful. Or you might want to forgo another 1RM attempt and try a 5 or 4 or something else. As I said before, I don’t feel that new intermediate trainees should be doing 1RM’s in the first place. Most are going to be able to kick ass every Friday with new 5RM’s despite anything I have said, provided their non-workout behavour is up to par.

I don't believe that everyone should be trying to achieve a linear progression on Friday via a single progression method, i.e. 1,2,3,4,5 reps. That has been said time and again and not just by me. But yes it can be thought of as Monday to Monday and Friday to Friday without taking out the relationship between Monday and Friday.

In fact I think that Pendlay likes to follow the weekly linear periodized 5x5 with ramped sets at some point by going to 5X5 sets across on Monday and 5x5 ramped sets on Friday. If your were to do that you darn sure better plan a differnet progression for the Monday to Monday and the Friday to Friday because it will no longer be linear periodized within the week. Linear periodized in itself has nothing to do with progression within a week. It is simply any type of progression that is linear in nature

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