Progression has slowed and times are tougher. We need to do more work and often get little in return, often nothing. SO we look for harder programs. What are the Russians doing? What are the Chinese doing? Maybe I can train like the Bulgarians did. See I do have an idea for you, and it came from a friend of mine. A friend who just so happens to have written a squat program that happened to become really quite popular. A program that can finally help you achieve the numbers you want to achieve. The friend I am of course talking about is Glenn Pendlay, and the squat program is his Texas Method program.
The reason why the Texas Method is for you should have nothing to do with the fact that almost all of Glenn’s athletes squatted 220+kg with the staple of their squatting training all coming from the Texas method. But I’m sure it helps… It is worth mentioning at this point that the Texas Method was responsible for the squatting prowess of the Cal Strength lifters, MDUSA lifters, and before all of that the Wichita Falls lifters. Glenn has coached hundreds of athletes, and getting any of them to squat over 200kg has never been an issue for him. There is a reason for that.
Here are the 2 main reasons the Texas Method will help you squat over 200kg.
1) The SRA Curve
To fully understand how intermediate lifters work, we must make sure we understand the concept of the Stimulus Recovery Adaptation Curve, or SRA curve. Simply put, this is the process by which our body supercompensates and improves. The stimulus refers to the training we undertake. The recovery refers to the food we eat and the sleep we get. And the adaptation refers to the performance improvements we see. In short we see these improvements because our body heals a little but more than it would need to to recover from the previous bout of exercise. Anyway I am getting into too much detail about the SRA curve. Perhaps I will write a post explaining this another time.
What do you need to know?
A beginners SRA curve lasts a day or two, meaning they can improve session by session. An elite athletes SRA curve is long, meaning they can only improve every few months. Wouldn’t that suck? The answer is yes. It would suck, so please for the love of god stop trying to copy these elaborate 12 week squat cycles when you don’t even squat 200kg. I don’t think anyone would call a 200kg squat elite. It’s alright, it looks pretty good in the commercial gym down the road, but it is not a big lift. The good thing for you is you are an intermediate. You can see improvements pretty much weekly, as long as you do it right. I will write another post about how to run the Texas Method the way Glenn Pendlay taught me to do it.
Anyway where was I?
So you are at a stage where your SRA curve lasts about a week. But how does the Texas Squat Method fit in with all of this? Well, the Texas Squat Program is in essence a small training cycle. There is a high volume day, there is a light recovery day, and there is a heavy day. A 12 week cycle would be similar to this too but more stretched out. There might be a high volume strength phase, a deload phase, and a peaking phase. Well that is what the Texas Method is, except it is squashed into one week because that is all the time in the world you need to recover and improve. That is all the variation you need in a squat program to stimulate adequate recovery in order to adapt.
You have a question coming. I can feel it. It’s something to do with wanting to hit some sets of 10 on the squat, build some muscle, then move to 5s, then 3s to peak the muscle.
Right? Well that leads me onto the second reason why the Texas Squat Program is for you.
2) The Best of Both Worlds
I am going to explain this as precisely as it was explained to me by Glenn Pendlay, so listen up. Sets of 10 are superb for building muscle mass, but they do very little in the way of improving neural adaptation. Sets of 1 are superb for increasing neural adaptation, but pretty poor for inducing hypertrophy. Squatting 10s may temporarily improve your squat, but they are not a good method on their own to do so. Squatting singles is also great for a while as the neural adaptations allow us to become more efficient at recruiting more intra and inter muscular coordination, but that progress comes to an end pretty soon too. Sets of 5 however provide you with an increase in muscle size as well as neural proficiency. The increase in size allows your muscles to continually become more proficient with the new muscle. It is the best of both worlds. It is, according to Glenn, ‘the best rep range for the greatest, most consistent progress you will find.’
We intermediate lifters make it too hard on ourselves. We run programs designed to stimulate improvements in our squat every 3 months rather than weekly. Because of this the stimulus part of the SRA curve on these elite level programs overwhelm us and are so damaging to us that they cause greater fatigue than we can handle meaning we cannot provide the required recovery to actually stimulate any positive adaptation.
The 5×5 at the start of the week is essentially all the stimulus we need. It is a tough workout and causes us to dig a deep whole of stress out of which we most recover, which we do with our lighter second squat workout of 3×5. Finally the Adaptation is demonstrated as we add another kilo to our 5RM on the 3rd squat day. We rest a few days and we do it all over again. That is it. Stop making it so hard.
Run the Texas method, and run it for a long time. It isn’t an easy program, but it is the best of both worlds.
To really get the most out of the Texas Method it is important to read through Practical Programming where you can learn how to modify it to you, and tweak it to ensure continual progress.