T Nation

Attempting to Understand 10 Day Layer


#1

Hello all, so I have done extensive reading on the 10 day layer cycle and I have picked the one with emphasis on squatting.

So I am still new here to t nation so I am not fully aware of all the acronyms and understand what each workout means in long term, so I hope you guys could explain it.

An example is
DAY 1
1. Slight decline bench press ramp to 1RM
2. Slight decline bench press from pins just above sticking point, start at 70% of no.1 and ramp to 1RM
3. Slight decline bench press lockout (from pins, last 2-3"), start at 70% of no.2 and ramp to 1RM
4. Slight decline speed bench 6 x 3 with 50% of no.1

Now I don't understand this, when it says ramp to 1RM (repetition max), does this mean I do just 1 rep per set? If so how many sets do I do?
Please do explain if I am mistaken.
Also for example "start at 70% of no.1 and ramp to 1RM", so basically use 70% of the weight from point 1 and do 1 rep per set? Again sorry if this is so blatantly obvious.

And just to be doubly sure about point 4., "6 x 3 with 50% of no.1", so basically do 6 reps, 3 sets of 50% of the weight from point 1?
I don't see how this would take around less than 45 minutes, but it is clear I do not understand this fully. Thanks again!

Excited to try this workout program.


#2

Hi, Im not an expert on the layer system by any means but as far as I know this is my understanding of it:

1.Ramp to 1RM - for the first exercise the ramp will usually consist of 8-9 sets as you work up in weight (about 10-20lbs at a time) to get to a weight where you can only get 1 rep without any kind of form breakdown. The first 3 sets can be 3 reps but then you will drop it down to doing 1 rep per set to save energy. You should shoot for 3-4 heavy work sets (of 1 rep) at around 90%+ of your 1RM

  1. Then for the next exercise you place the pins in the correct place and again work up to a 1RM. But since the bar is now off your chest this will likely be a heavier weight than previously. So start @ 70% of the top set you got in 1. and then do a similar process working up to a 1RM for the press from pins (here i dont think its necessary to do as many sets in this ramp but i could be wrong)

  2. Repeat the process in 2. but this time with the pins even higher. You should be able to manage more weight again on this exercise.

  3. Youre right about the speed bench. The weight is slight specifically so you can focus on doing the reps as forcefully and explosive as possible.

With all the ramping in these strength layers they generally take a bit longer than a regular layer workout. So id imagine youre looking at 45-55mins.

Like I said im not an expert (ive only been doing the layer system for a week) but thats my interpretation of it all. Hope thats helpful.

Tom


#3

Awesome thanks, yeah this stuff is very confusing. I can’t wait for an article to come out :slight_smile:

So let me just get this straight, I have to do 8ish sets of different kinds of reps working with heavier weights each time till I reach a load where I can only do it once? So after around 4 sets, I should be at a point where I can only do 1RM? And I do that for the remaining 3ish sets. Ok hope I got this right :slight_smile:

Also I don’t get what you mean by pins, do you mean basically where the bar would be set on a smith machine? I have lots of different kinds of bench press machines in my gym.

For the points 2-3, I don’t understand where the pin locations should be? Usually I bench press to a bit above my chest, so am I raising the pins as I go or getting lower? I don’t get what it means by above sticking point :smiley:

Agains thanks, noob when it comes to this terminology haha xD Appreciate the help!


#4

[quote]Wollveren wrote:
Awesome thanks, yeah this stuff is very confusing. I can’t wait for an article to come out :slight_smile:

So let me just get this straight, I have to do 8ish sets of different kinds of reps working with heavier weights each time till I reach a load where I can only do it once? So after around 4 sets, I should be at a point where I can only do 1RM? And I do that for the remaining 3ish sets. Ok hope I got this right :slight_smile:

Also I don’t get what you mean by pins, do you mean basically where the bar would be set on a smith machine? I have lots of different kinds of bench press machines in my gym.

For the points 2-3, I don’t understand where the pin locations should be? Usually I bench press to a bit above my chest, so am I raising the pins as I go or getting lower? I don’t get what it means by above sticking point :smiley:

Agains thanks, noob when it comes to this terminology haha xD Appreciate the help![/quote]

Yes the last 3-4 sets should only be for 1 rep. But that doesnt mean it has to be right at the top of what you could manage for 1 rep. Maybe for 1-3 of those sets you could manage an extra rep if you had to. But you should still stick to 1 rep.

Yes the pins refers to the bars you set the bar on in the smith machine or power rack. In 1. these should be set at your just a tiny bit above chest level (a full range of motion bench press should touch your chest). in 2. then about 2" higher, a lot of people have a sticking point about 2-3" above the chest where they fail the rep. then in 3. the pins should be fairly high so your only pressing for a few inches


#5

In a “ramp”, all the sets that could qualify as work sets due to their level of difficulty should only use the number of reps that is the target for the ramp.

For example if you are ramping to a 1RM it is fine to do sets of 2 or 3 reps in the early stages of the ramp, when the weights are in the 60-80% range. But after the first few sets, switch to only sets of 1, gradually adding weight until you reach the maximum amount of weight you can lift for 1 rep with solid form.

Normally we start the ramp at about 50-60% of your estimated maximum and the jumps can vary from 10 to 30lbs depending on how strong you are on a lift. We want to reach a maximum in about 8 to 12 sets. So the stronger you are, the bigger jumps you’ll make.

For example let’s say that your max is 500lbs… 60% is 300lbs. So you essentially have to “cover” 200lbs in 8-12 sets. In that case, 20lbs jumps are adequate (200lbs / 20lbs = 10 weight increases).

So a ramp would look like:

300lbs x 3
320lbs x 3
340lbs x 3
360lbs x 3
380lbs x 3
400lbs x 1
420lbs x 1
440lbs x 1
460lbs x 1
480lbs x 1
500lbs x 1

Now, on some days you might be able to ramp up higher than 500… if 500 felt hard, but you think you still have a tiny bit of room it’s fine to go up by 5 or 10lbs instead of 20. And on the other hand on some days you might only be able to ramp to 460 or 480… strength fluctuates, don’t worry. That is one of the purpose of the ramp: to adjust the weight to your level of capacities on that day.

NOW… let’s say that your max on a lift is 150lbs… 50% is 75lbs, so you have 75lbs to cover in 8-12 sets. In that case, 20lbs jumps are obviously too large. 10lbs or even 5lbs jumps from set to set would be a better choice.

IMPORTANT
DO NOT take the early, “easier” sets lightly. Their purpose is not just to warm-up. They are there to practice your technique and activate the nervous system. So every single rep has to be done with perfect technique and lifted as explosively as possible while maintaining perfect form.


#6

[quote]Wollveren wrote:

And just to be doubly sure about point 4., “6 x 3 with 50% of no.1”, so basically do 6 reps, 3 sets of 50% of the weight from point 1?
I don’t see how this would take around less than 45 minutes, but it is clear I do not understand this fully. Thanks again!

Excited to try this workout program.[/quote]

Honestly, if this takes you more than 45 minutes you are wasting time, talking too much, or not being focused enough. Real results require 100% focus. A rapid workout pace is one of the best way to stay in the zone… one the other hand, talking and resting too long between sets is the best way to drop out of the zone.

Seriously, unless you can squat or deadlift in the 600-700lbs, there is no way that the ramp should last you longer than 15-20 minutes. For the first 6 sets or so in a ramp, you really don’t need to rest more than 30-45 seconds. And even with heavy weights I do not like to rest more than 2 minutes.

To give you an example this morning I ramped to a 3RM on backs squats (olympic style)… I went from 135 (warm-up) to 225 (starting weight) in about 1 minute, then from 225 x 3 to 455 x 3 in exactly 18 minutes. BTW, each rep was done with a 2 seconds pause in the bottom position.


#7

I have been doing the CTs previous program (was it called “perform like an athlete but look like a bodybuilder” or something like that) where you ramp to 3 reps you can still dominate, and then do work (4-10 sets) around that weight. I have been making amazing progress with it so I am not yet jumping into this layering stuff :slight_smile:

One question though, in that “system” we might squat 4 times a week or do push presses 4 times a week and lot of assistance work. In this new layer-system, you do each movement once a week (one squat workout per week, one bench etc., if I have understood correctly) and not much assistance work. And finally the question: Is the Layer-system really so hard you can only do 1 squat-session a week or 1 bench session a week? I know you said in some post that you can squat more than once a week but only do the layer once a week, other times maybe squat 3-5*3-5 with lighter weight at the end of the high pull workout.

Basically I am just wondering if one wants to concentrate on strength, not so much on the muscle, is this really enough volume? =)


#8

[quote]IHaveThePower wrote:
I have been doing the CTs previous program (was it called “perform like an athlete but look like a bodybuilder” or something like that) where you ramp to 3 reps you can still dominate, and then do work (4-10 sets) around that weight. I have been making amazing progress with it so I am not yet jumping into this layering stuff :slight_smile:

One question though, in that “system” we might squat 4 times a week or do push presses 4 times a week and lot of assistance work. In this new layer-system, you do each movement once a week (one squat workout per week, one bench etc., if I have understood correctly) and not much assistance work. And finally the question: Is the Layer-system really so hard you can only do 1 squat-session a week or 1 bench session a week? I know you said in some post that you can squat more than once a week but only do the layer once a week, other times maybe squat 3-5*3-5 with lighter weight at the end of the high pull workout.

Basically I am just wondering if one wants to concentrate on strength, not so much on the muscle, is this really enough volume? =)[/quote]

It is one application of the layer system. And in the 10 days cycle each muscle gets hit pretty often, 3-4 times every 10 days. Sure it might not be via the same exercise, but the same muscles do get hit.

And the layer system basically is about using several methods with one lift to do a lot of volume, with different kind of stimulation, to get maximum stimulation. There is more than one way to structure the schedule. For example, myself I do 3 squat workouts, 3 pull workouts and 3 press workouts per 10 days cycle (I personally go squat/pull/press/squat/pull/press/squat/pull/press/rest)… BTW, for me pulls are olympic pulls… snatch pulls (from blocks/hang or floor) or clean pulls (from blocks/hang or floor).


#9

Thanks CT! I honestly got an “aha-moment” just now and couple of things clicked! :slight_smile:


#10

And just to be doubly sure about point 4., “6 x 3 with 50% of no.1”, so basically do 6 reps, 3 sets of 50% of the weight from point 1?
I don’t see how this would take around less than 45 minutes, but it is clear I do not understand this fully. Thanks again!

Excited to try this workout program.[/quote]

I think you may have the sets/reps wrong for this. From what I believe to be true, as far as the way CT and most others write programs, you would do 6 SETS of 3 REPS with 50%. Not looking for muscle fatigue here, but rather monster explosiveness!! Basically, lower the weight in a controlled but not super slow motion and then explode the weight up as fast as humanly possible.