Aging Better Powerlifting

Texas Method for older lifters

Paul Horn gives one of the best explanations of the workings of the Texas Method I have ever seen.

But I am including it here mainly because during this presentation he also gives his altered version for older lifters.

This is brilliant! The Texas Method is so tough because of the Volume day. But here we don’t have a strict Volume or Intensity day.

Each mini-cycle consists of four workouts done over two weeks.


Volume is spread over all four workouts.

Workout one is volume Squats.
Workout two is volume Press.
Workout three is volume Deadlift.
Workout four is volume Bench.

This distribution of the stress of volume makes it much easier on us older lifters with less energy and less recovery abilities.


Intensity on all four main lifts (Squat, Deadlift, Bench and Press) is done in workouts one and three.

Workout one is intensity Bench and Deadlift.
Workout three is intensity Squat and Press.

So workouts two and four do give you a significantly less stressful time in the gym.

Volume sets across.

In the video Paul shows volume as five sets across for Squats and Bench. But he also states that five sets are probably too much for older lifters and he would probably go down to four or even three. So in my example runs I state three sets across for volume work.

In his example he reduces Deadlift and Press to three sets across. As he suggests three rather than five for Squat and Bench I have listed Deadlift and Press as two to three sets across.

Reduced intensity sets for Deadlift

He also lists only one full intensity set for Deadlifts. Getting more volume with backoff sets at a significantly reduced percentage (85%).

So, here is the program.

Adjusting volume and intensity for Squat, Bench and Press

90% of intensity for 3 sets of 5100% 5rm
85% of intensity for 3 sets of 52 sets of 3
82.5% of intensity for 3 sets of 53 sets of 2
80% of intensity for 3 sets of 55 sets of 1

Example 12 cycle for Squat. Percentages same for Bench and Press but with lighter weights.

1/2125kg x 3 x 590%140kg x 5
3/4128kg x 3 x 590%142.5kg x 5
5/6130kg x 3 x 590%145kg x 5
7/8132.5kg x 3 x 590%147.5kg x 5
9/10127.5kg x 3 x 585%150kg x 2 x 3
11/12130kg x 3 x 585%152.5kg x 2 x 3
13/14132kg x 3 x 585%155kg x 2 x 3
15/16130kg x 3 x 582.5%157.5kg x 3 x 2
17/18132kg x 3 x 582.5%160kg x 3 x 2
19/20134kg x 3 x 582.5%162.5kg x 3 x 2
21/22136kg x 3 x 582.5%165kg x 3 x 2
23/24134kg x 3 x 580%167.5 x 5 x 1
Weight increases for older lifters might be a lot less. 1kg Squat, 0.5kg Bench, 0.25kg Press?

Adjusting volume and intensity for Deadlift.

85% of intensity for 3 sets of 55rm
80% of intensity for 3 sets of 51 set of 3 (Backoff 1 x 3-5 @ 85%)
77.5% of intensity for 3 sets of 51 set of 2 (Backoff 1 x 2-4 @ 85%)
75% of intensity for 3 sets of 51 set of 1 (Backoff 1 x 1-3 @ 85%)

Example 12 cycle for Deadlift.

WeekVolumeOffsetIntensityBackoff (85%)
1/2127kg x 2-3 x 585%150kg x 5
3/4130kg x 2-3 x 585%152.5kg x 5
5/6132kg x 2-3 x 585%155kg x 5
7/8134kg x 2-3 x 585%157.5kg x 5
9/10127kg x 2-3 x 580%160kg x 3136 x 3-5
11/12129kg x 2-3 x 580%162.5kg x 3138 x 3-5
13/14132kg x 2-3 x 580%165kg x 3140 x 3-5
15/16129kg x 2-3 x 577.5%167.5kg x 2142 x 2-4
17/18132kg x 2-3 x 577.5%170kg x 2145 x 2-4
19/20134kg x 2-3 x 577.5%172.5kg x 2147 x 2-4
21/22136kg x 2-3 x 577.5%175kg x 2149 x 2-4
23/24133kg x 2-3 x 575%177.5 x 1 151 x 1-3
Weight increases for older lifters might be a lot less. 1kg Deadlift?

One cycle (two weeks)

First workoutSecond workout
Squat volume 3 x 5 (90% intensity)
Bench intensity x 5
Deadlift intensity x 5
Light Squat 2-3 x 5 (80% volume)
Press volume 2-3 x 5 (90% intensity)
Chins* 3 x AMRAP
Third workoutFourth workout
Squat intensity x 5
Press intensity x 5
Deadlift volume 2-3 x 5
Light Squat 2-3 x 5 (80% volume)
Bench volume 3 x 5 (90% intensity)
Rows 3 x 10
* You could replace Chins with Pulldowns if you can’t do Chins.

When you’ve been runing this for a while, you will almost certianly find that the four lifts will not cycle in tandom. i.e. By the time your Squat reaches five sets of one rep, the other three lifts will probably be at different stages.

I have uploaded a .docx version of the program which you can download and edit for your own personal use. Download it here.

I have also uploaded a .pdf of the same file which you can download here.