Adapting The Texas Method For Calisthenics

The Texas Method provides a structured framework for gradual strength and skill development. By following its principles, you can ensure steady progress in your calisthenics training.

What is the Texas Method?

The Texas Method is a popular intermediate strength training program that was developed by Mark Rippetoe, and designed with powerlifting in mind.

The Texas Method uses a weekly structure that alternates between high-volume and high-intensity workouts. This cycling of volume and intensity is a form of periodization known as daily undulating periodization (DUP). DUP helps prevent plateaus and overtraining by providing variation in training stress. Volume Day focuses on building muscle and work capacity, while Intensity Day is aimed at testing strength limits.

The program typically consists of three weekly training days, often scheduled on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Each day has a specific focus and intensity:

  • Volume Day (Moderate Intensity / High Volume)

  • Recovery Day (Low Intensity / Low Volume)

  • Intensity Day (High Intensity / Low Volume)

How to change Texas for calisthenics

The Texas Method is designed with powerlifting and powerlifting style movements in mind, so naturally we have to change the exercises. Instead of using barbell movements like squats, bench presses, deadlifts, and overhead presses, we can choose compound calisthenics exercises as our primary movements. For example, you can do push up progressions instead of bench press and pull ups and a hinge movement instead of deadlifts.

For each workout, it’s important to incorporate the following elements:

  1. One or more upper body pushing movements (preferably one horizontal and one vertical pushing movement)

  2. One or more upper body pulling movements (preferably one horizontal and one vertical pulling movement)

  3. One or more lower body movements

  4. Followed by accessory work

The Texas Method (TM) uses percentages of 1 or 5RM, which doesn’t apply to bodyweight exercises. Instead, I suggest choosing variations you can do for 7-9 reps when TM prescribes 90% of 5RM.

Apply the concept of linear progression by gradually increasing the difficulty of your calisthenics exercises over time. This can be achieved by increasing the number of reps, advancing to more challenging variations, or adding weight if possible.

Calisthenics based workout program using the Texas Method

Here’s an example of a calisthenics-based workout plan using the Texas Method. This is a general template, so feel free to adjust it to your fitness level and goals.

Monday (volume day)

  • Skill work (handstands, isometric holds, etc.)
  • Chin ups: 5 sets of 5 reps at 90% of your estimated 5RM
  • Pistol squats/Barbell squats: 5 sets of 5 reps at 90% of your estimated 5RM
  • Dips: 5 sets of 5 reps at 90% of your estimated 5RM
  • Inverted Rows: 3 sets to failure (AMRAP (read this post to learn what AMRAP is all about))
  • Pike push ups: 3 sets to failure (AMRAP)
  • Accessory work (address weakness)

Wednesday (recovery day)

  • Skill work (handstands, isometric holds, etc.)
  • Chin ups: 3 sets of 5 reps (70% of 5RM or bodyweight)
  • Pistol squats/Barbell squats: 3 sets of 5 reps (70% of 5RM or bodyweight)
  • Dips: 3 sets of 5 reps (70% of 5RM or bodyweight)
  • Inverted Rows: 3 sets to failure (AMRAP)
  • Push-Ups: 3 sets to failure (AMRAP)
  • Accessory work (address weakness)

Friday (intensity day)

  • Planche isometric progressions: 2 sets (test max hold times)
  • Chin ups: 1 set of 5 reps (push for a personal record)
  • Pistol squats: As many reps as possible (AMRAP) for personal record
  • Dips: 1 set of 5 reps (push for a personal record)

Notes:

  • Ensure proper warm-up and cooldown routines before and after each workout.
  • Rest for about 3-5 minutes between sets and exercises, except during the AMRAP (as many reps as possible) sets, where you should go to near failure.
  • Track your progress and make adjustments to the weight or difficulty of exercises as needed.

Final thoughts

Adapting the Texas Method principles for calisthenics can be an effective way to structure your training for strength and skill development using bodyweight exercises. Just like with any other workout program consistency is key. Stick to your workout schedule and be patient with your progress. Results may not be immediate, but with dedication, you will see improvements over time.

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