A Simple “Hard Workout” I Keep Coming Back to

Some years back I realized I had gotten really out of shape. I think everyone knows that feeling at some point or another. My wife wanted to get our oldest daughter into a beginner dance class at the YMCA and that turned into a family membership. So each week my wife and I would work out, the kids would be in dance or getting looked after in the ‘kid zone’ and steadily I got back into a bit of shape.

Those beginner gains are great. You can walk around reading how to do machines, trying everything out, and slowly getting a bit stronger. After a while I started to nerd out and got *in* to it. Bodybuilders and weightlifters are huge nerds so there is a wealth of information available.

I ended up getting into Keto for a while there and that helped add some deep dives into food science that I really enjoyed. Between some big product launches at work and a few indulgent vacations I’ve generally stayed in good shape.

We ended up canceling our YMCA membership when we moved two years ago. Our new house had a garage, the kids had moved on to a dance studio, and I made the case for a garage gym. Before gym equipment became impossible to get I picked up a squat rack, weights, a bench, and my wife lucked out on the most ridiculously cheap elliptical at a garage sale.

At this point I had never done squats, deadlifts, or anything else related. I really wanted to and with the purchase of all the equipment I was set on making it happen. I started slow, watched a lot of videos, recorded myself, and eventually learned that squats are the best thing ever.

I apologize for the recipe style story before getting to the…recipe here but I wanted to give some context. I still don’t lift for huge weight and I’m not in amazing shape. Life is busy and I appreciate the hell out of a workout that I can do without thinking a few days a week but will always make me feel it.

The actual workout: The Texas Method

I don’t even remember where I first read about it or saw it. The simplicity of it means I remember it and I can get back into it without thinking and still get a good full workout. You do a big workout on Monday, smaller on Wednesday, and smallest but most intense on Friday. As the week gets busy I spend less time in the garage and can focus on the intensity without any mental overload. Also so many squats.

So here is the gist of it:

Monday – 90% of 5 rep max

A. Squat: 5 sets of 5 reps
B. Bench Press/Overhead Press: 5 sets of 5 reps
C. Deadlift: 1 set of 5 reps

Wednesday – 80% of Monday weight

A. Squat: 2 sets 5 reps
B. Bench Press/Overhead Press: 3 sets of 5 reps
C. Chin-up: 3 sets till failure
D. Back Extension or Glute-Ham Raise: 5 sets of 10 reps

Friday – Heavier than Monday

A. Squat: 1 set of 5 reps
B. Bench Press/Overhead Press: 1 set of 5 reps
C. Power Clean/Power Snatch (pick one): 5 sets of 3 reps / 6 sets of 2 reps

Alternate Bench press with Overhead Press every other week. Google it for videos, details, complaints about it etc.

I’ve followed it for weeks at a time and saw some really impressive gains but generally I get in and out of it as work and life allow. I love the full body workout it provides and allows for adjustment without completely falling off working out.

Skip Friday because of impending yard work? Totally fine. Still got a full body workout in.

Missed workouts because of a dozen different schedule conflicts two weeks in a row? Do a complete week at a lower starting weight to get back into it without feeling like you need to eat the entire kitchen every day.

I can listen to audio books, watch shows, and relax. I don’t have to think about a dozen different exercises and write down the various weights and reps. That simplicity means I’m more likely to do it and get it done even if it is a lot more intense.