T Nation

Layer Split

I’m sure this question has been asked and answered multiple times but I have not seen it. I was just starting out the layer system today, (incline tilt), and it was a great workout! Felt good when I was done, fatigued, but good.

Anyways, I really would like to incorporate the OH Press as one of the layer days, as well as the deadlift. My thoughts are:

Monday: Incline Tilt Bench
Tuesday: SG High Pull
Wednesday: OH Press
Thursday: Decline Tilt Bench
Friday: High Pull
Saturday: Deadlift?? (along with some lat work?)

To me, it appears that the high pull puts some serious stress on the delts, as does the bench days. So maybe the OH Press can be eliminated? I just really started doing that movement a few months ago and have seen gains in other lifts as a result. And as far as the deadlift goes, wasn’t sure where to put it for the same reasons. High pull seems to hit the upper and mid back quite a bit in and of itself.

Maybe two bench days and two high pull days as far as the layers go, and then just a day dedicated to back (maybe 5x5 deadlifts to start off that workout). Not really sure. Feedback is welcomed and encouraged. Thanks!

I personally feel a lot of fatigue in my delts from incline pressing and SGHP’s alone, and you don’t really need OHP work…

you could do a CG Muscle Snatch or Clean and Press instead of a high pull day which would allow you to still pull explosively, whilst ending with an OHP Press? your call!

but if you want to keep them in, i would suggest moving some of your workouts around…

Incline
High Pull
Decline
Deadlift
OH Press
High Pull…

basically, i wouldnt do OH Press and Decline Press on consecutive days, nor would I do High Pulls and Deadlifts on consecutive days.
this set up is essentially a 6 day push/pull/push/pull/push/pull split, rather than push/pull/push/push/pull/pull.

you can do the deadlifts 5x5 style but it just means your adopting half of the layer system within your work outs… i think keeping the deadlifts ‘layer style’ will benefit your high pulls and vice versa…

i dont know if this is the case, but if you like doing sets of 5 for the deadlift, you could always use the ‘hard 5’s’ approach to your HDL sets.

I’m not expert though, you should get CT’s opinion!

Hope that helps :slight_smile:

I completely agree with you on every level. I like the split you drew up. I was thinking along the exact same lines, just didn’t know if it would be enough recovery between the Incline and Decline days. Maybe I just need to quit overthinking and just go push and pull some damn weight.

I think I’ve decided to try out this split for the next twelve weeks or so.

Monday: Incline Tilt
Tuesday: High Pull
Wednesday: Lats/Biceps
Thursday: Decline Tilt
Friday: High Pull
Sat: OH Press

Thoughts??

No dead/squat or Trap Bar Dead? Any reason why?

The split I have come to use over the last 12 weeks is as follows:

Monday: High Pull with horizontal back work for 3-4 sets
Tuesday: Decline Tilt from Pins with tricep assistance for 3-4 sets
Wed: Dead/Squat (or Trap Bar Dead Lift) with Hamstring assistance for 3-4 sets
Thursday: OFF
Friday: High Pull with vertical back work for 3-4 sets
Saturday: Incline Bench Press with 3 sets of side delt raises
Sunday: OFF

I found this better than the initially recommended split (where Friday and Sat would be switched) for the follow reasons:

  • Hitting the Incline that soon after the decline was not optimal for me
  • Having the 2 High Pull days “back to back” (even though there was some rest in there) was not optimal
  • The slight incline and slight decline were too similar, and I wanted more shoulder work without adding a bunch of extra sets. I’m probably compromising a BIT of chest stimulation here, but I consider the extra shoulder stimulation a bigger value.
  • This gives one day of “regular” pressing (not from pins) which I still wanted to keep in for a variety of reasons, and I like the incline press for this.
  • Initially I had no off days and a Back day and an Arm day… Then it was one off day, and a Back/Arms day, but now I find I value the recovery of an off day more and can get almost everything I need by putting the sets of back work on High pull day and the arms on a Pressing day

Two reasons for no squat/dead lift addition yet. I’ve been doing high pulls for two weeks now, and they have tore up my upper and mid back so much, in a good way. I just couldn’t see a good day to add them (deadlifts) but really wanted to. Second, I have a sciatic nerve that seems to flare up extremely bad any time I get under a decent amount of weight on squats.

I really like that split you drew up. I’m new to this whole layer system and want to get the most out of it. I like the accessory lifts you included as well. Often wondered about this as the original program I read called for one and only one lift a day.

[quote]jbalplayr02 wrote:
Two reasons for no squat/dead lift addition yet. I’ve been doing high pulls for two weeks now, and they have tore up my upper and mid back so much, in a good way. I just couldn’t see a good day to add them (deadlifts) but really wanted to. Second, I have a sciatic nerve that seems to flare up extremely bad any time I get under a decent amount of weight on squats.

I really like that split you drew up. I’m new to this whole layer system and want to get the most out of it. I like the accessory lifts you included as well. Often wondered about this as the original program I read called for one and only one lift a day.

[/quote]

You could check for a tight piriformis for sciatic issue.

Lonnie what does your Saturday (incline bench) look like as far as sets/reps go? Do you still follow the layer protocol but just using full rom presses?

[quote]jbalplayr02 wrote:
Lonnie what does your Saturday (incline bench) look like as far as sets/reps go? Do you still follow the layer protocol but just using full rom presses?[/quote]

I do. The Layers are exactly the same except instead of Cluster Reps you do a straight set of 3-5. This is the blanket recommendation for all “regular” exercises (exercises not done from a dead start, like Squats for example)

This is working quite nicely for me as I am now hitting my previous 1RM bench for 2RM on the incline, which represents quite a significant strength increase.

As far as the hdl sets, what type of progression did you follow for those 12 weeks? I’ve been seeing a trend where you alternate between strength blocks and blocks including hdl sets.

I just did 4 weeks of each type. 54321 ~> Max reps/rest 15 seconds/Max reps ~> Hard 5’s

I followed the periodization laid out in the Max Muscle Layering thread

Week 1: Ramp to 3RM, 3 Clusters, 3 HDL

Week 2 : Ramp to 2RM, 4 Clusters, 2 HDL,

Week 3 : Ramp to 1RM, 5 clusters, 1 HDL (1 RM here was a non-grinding max. If I wasn’t 90% sure I would get the rep I didnt attempt the weight.)

Week 4: Ramp to 1RM, 3 HDL, 2 Max Pump (1RM here was an all out effort, grinding allowed, but you shouldn’t miss the rep)

CT stated that you could stagger the 4 week hypertrophy blocks with 4 weeks of the the Strength Focused Layers (Ramp 1 Max, 3 Clusters @90% of this weight, Ramp to 2rm from 70%, 2 clusters @90% of this weight, ramp to 3RM from 70%, 1 cluster @90% of this weight), but I just did 3 hypertrophy blocks back-to-back.

[quote]Lonnie123 wrote:
I just did 4 weeks of each type. 54321 ~> Max reps/rest 15 seconds/Max reps ~> Hard 5’s

I followed the periodization laid out in the Max Muscle Layering thread

Week 1: Ramp to 3RM, 3 Clusters, 3 HDL

Week 2 : Ramp to 2RM, 4 Clusters, 2 HDL,

Week 3 : Ramp to 1RM, 5 clusters, 1 HDL (1 RM here was a non-grinding max. If I wasn’t 90% sure I would get the rep I didnt attempt the weight.)

Week 4: Ramp to 1RM, 3 HDL, 2 Max Pump (1RM here was an all out effort, grinding allowed, but you shouldn’t miss the rep)

CT stated that you could stagger the 4 week hypertrophy blocks with 4 weeks of the the Strength Focused Layers (Ramp 1 Max, 3 Clusters @90% of this weight, Ramp to 2rm from 70%, 2 clusters @90% of this weight, ramp to 3RM from 70%, 1 cluster @90% of this weight), but I just did 3 hypertrophy blocks back-to-back.[/quote]
Lonnie thanks for putting all this info up In this and the other thread.I have it all,but nice to have it in one place.Also how did the 3 hypertrophy layers back to back go for ya.I have been running max strength for quite some time but getting ready to switch back to the hypertrophy layers soon.

I have 2 more weeks until I finish the 12 week block, at which point I’ll snap some pics. I’ve managed to stay lean, but I think I might have added a BIT of lower back fat… But the pictures should be very similar and thus comparable. I’ll post them somewhere, likely in my Indigo log and maybe in CT’s forum (or just the Max Muscle Layering thread) to give him the credit for the GAINNNZZZZ brought by the system

I second that Lonnie! Much appreciated. One question. I see that you only went to your 3rm on week one for the clusters, and 2rm on week 2. Did I read the program wrong or is this just the way you decided to do it? If you were going to your 3rm for the 3 sets of clusters in week 1, how many reps were you averaging per cluster. I’m guessing 5-7??

Also, I work out first thing in the morning and our overtime at work has been cut back leaving me an extra hour to train. Was thinking of incorporating this system into sort of a pseudo-cut phase. Just thinking about doing maybe 30 min. incline walking after training. I’m fairly lean now, somewhere between 10-12%. 5’8", 170 lbs. Main goal is to gain strength while staying lean. Its either that or I sleep in later I guess! Don’t really want to add more volume to the layer system I suppose.

[quote]jbalplayr02 wrote:
I second that Lonnie! Much appreciated. One question. I see that you only went to your 3rm on week one for the clusters, and 2rm on week 2. Did I read the program wrong or is this just the way you decided to do it? If you were going to your 3rm for the 3 sets of clusters in week 1, how many reps were you averaging per cluster. I’m guessing 5-7??
[/quote]

That’s how CT laid it out, so that’s what I did :wink:

The reason its laid out that way is so that the 3RM week acts as an intensity deload from the two 1RM weeks that precede it. I know the 3RM is technically “week 1” but its really more of an “after week 4” when you look at the big picture, and its a necessary part of the program after you spend 2 weeks at such a high percentage of 1RM.

And yeah, the clusters in Week 1 are typically coming in at 6-7 reps, while in week 3 its more like 3-4 reps.

[quote]

Also, I work out first thing in the morning and our overtime at work has been cut back leaving me an extra hour to train. Was thinking of incorporating this system into sort of a pseudo-cut phase. Just thinking about doing maybe 30 min. incline walking after training. I’m fairly lean now, somewhere between 10-12%. 5’8", 170 lbs. Main goal is to gain strength while staying lean. Its either that or I sleep in later I guess! Don’t really want to add more volume to the layer system I suppose.[/quote]

CT has largely stuck by the idea that the Layer System (Ramp, Clusters, HDL) is not appropriate for fat loss because of the high demand HDL places on the body.

He has given a bit of an endorsement to the layout in here: http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_thibaudeau/the_layer_system_for_fat_loss

In short:

  1. Ramp to 1RM
  2. 2 Cluster or straight sets with 90% of 1RM (3-5 reps)
  3. Back down to 70% and ramp to 2RM
  4. 2 Cluster or straight sets with 90% of your 2RM (3-5 reps)
  5. Back down to 70% and ramp to 3RM
  6. 1 extended HDL set (max/15 sec/max) with 80% of 3RM

This should prioritize strength nicely, and I dont see any reason you couldnt add the incline walking in afterwards from a recovery standpoint.