T Nation

Evolution of Layers


Living through the evolution of the layers. 2,3,4 part layers. Not necessarily in that order.
The founder does not like compliments, so we wont mention his name. Let's just say "passionate genius at work"

Originally there were 3. Ramp, Clusters, Hdl. with multi variations on Hdl and Ramps.
Maximizing the amount of energy available to use. To be "energy efficient". To make the body run like "a well oiled machine". Performance!

Currently, we have a 2 layer, with a ramp and density. Maybe not enough, so, wave/ladder, which is kinda like a ramp/cluster, then density, and loaded carries.

I seem to remember that ramping 5-6 sets, then clusters was plenty of work above 70%.
With ramp and density, it seems that 8-12 sets on the ramp would give work in the above 70%, (not as much as with clusters)add the 80% density work, and BAM.

With the Wave/Ladder as the ramp, it's kinda like Ramp and Clusters, and then some!
Then the Density! Could very well be more brutal then the original 3.
The author says 1,2,3 reps cause it's easier to do 2 and 3 after you did 1. I wonder how 3,2,1 would work?

Ramp in 4-8 sets about 10 minutes, Clusters another 10, HDL another 10
Ramp 4-8 sets 10 minutes, Density 10 minutes, Carries, 5 minutes- somethin missing.... SO,
Wave/Ladder 15minutes, Density 10minutes, carries 5minutes
Ramp 8-12sets 15 minutes, Density 10 minutes, Carries 5 minutes
See the resemblances?
Of course the times are estimates. End result is the 30minutes or so. How some got the 3 part Layer done in 20 minutes is still beyond me.

Clusters/HDL has work at 90% and at 70%
Density is work at 80%
Wave/Ladder has 80-90%

Depending on your goals, and weaknesses,take 1,or a combination,and, do it in 7 days if you can, or do it in 10. How much can you handle.

The Quadruple Layer... That's a whole nother animal. There's not even a guideline for the % of weight. Why? Cause it might kill you. :slightly_smiling:

That's just my view on things.


and still yet so damn confusing lol


It's really not that confusing at all. It's actually very simple.
1 movement a day?
It doesn't get much easier than that.


Well, the basic format is simple.

I think the confusion is more in:

Which layers do you use for which purposes? When do you use one versus the other? When do you use the "strength" layers, when do you use the periodized "max muscle" layers, when do you use "density" work, when do you use carries?

And, secondly:

Which split do you use for which goals? And within that split, which variant(s) of the lift should be used?


I think understanding what each component is designed to achieve makes it very obvious what to choose for your personal goals. They all work together but each has its individual purpose.

I'm still running the original layout of ramp, cluster, hdl and I'm still nailing PRs to the wall predictably (every session for weeks on end now) with no clear signs of slowing. I assumed the initial phase of learning the moves was over, and proceeded to hit enormous PRs well after that.

Moral of the story: lots of good things going on in this system. Decide which flavor suits your needs and enjoy.


First you gotta ask yourself the questions.
What are your goals? What are your needs? etc. etc.
Then you will be able to answer for yourself the above questions


Oh, I have my answers and I have a pretty good idea of what I'm doing.

I'm just saying, I think that's where a lot of the confusion comes from, especially for someone who hasn't read everything CT's written in the last few months.

When I was first learning about the layer system, I read every single thread in the forum, going back all 10 pages.