T Nation

Layer System with Deadlifts?

Hi coach,
I know you do not like the conventional deadlift in the layer system, but I would like to keep working on it while trying a new system. Training week would be Day 1.bench 2.squat 3.off 4.high incline 5.off 6.deadlift 7.off, using the latest version of the layer system for the other lifts.

For the deadlift I was thinking of using,

Movement strength: ramping to 2 or 1 RM
Positional strength: double pause deadlift (2" from floor, just above knees focusing on maintaining an arched lower back and the chest up, for 2 seconds) 3-4 sets of 3 reps
Explosive strength: Power clean from the hang 4-5 sets of 3 reps
Muscle strength: bottom-half deadlift pump reps (only going from floor to knees, fast up slow down) 3x 8-10 reps


  1. Ramp to a training 1RM (maximum without form breakdown or having to psych yourself up before the lift)
  2. 3 sets of clusters with 90% of your 1RM ramp (if you can’t get 3 reps, decrease the weight on the next set, if you can get 6, increase it)
  3. Lower back down to 70% and ramp up to a 2RM
  4. 2 sets of clusters with 90% of your 2RM (same recommendations as with the previous cluster)
  5. Lower back down to 70% and ramp up to a 3RM
  6. 1 set of clusters with 90% of your 3RM (same cluster rules)
  7. Lower to 70% do ONE max reps set, (NOT extended sets

Coach, what would you recommend for the deadlift if strength was the main goal, and your thoughts on the weekly set up as a whole?

Thanks for your time CT

CT doesn’t like the 1RM

I’m doing something similar to the first option you posted, it’s certainly doable but your second option seems too much especially for anyone who’s got some semi decent strength levels in dead-lift.

Also CT once said that there’s no layer system without Snatch Grip High Pull, if I remember correctly.

I would advise against using the deadlift with the layer approach. You will kill your nervous system and your lower back. Your performance will go down after 3 weeks

Hi coach, just to clarify do you mean layers + deadlift with any rep scheme is too much, or could you use layers for everything else but for deadlift use say the progression model of “power look” or “915”.

You can use layers for other lifts and use another approach for the dead

awesome, thank you CT. you probably hated this thread due to the frankensteining effect

I used it for Romanian Deadlifts, it worked OK…until I fried myself doing it. And they are much less taxing than a regular/sumo deadlift.

Did I mention I fried myself doing it?

This I have done with success. I would apply the layers to a weak lift - or several lifts. It is also less taxing overall than doing a full layer system. And then I feel I can actually recover from the layers also.

That’s a pretty solid idea.

I’ve done that intuitively…first I did layers with all the prescribed exercises but eventually stuff like squat layers and even TBDL became too training.

I end up only doing layers on incline tilt/bench and snatch grip high pull. And the deadlift/squats i ramp up and then do 5x5 etc.

Great article today about carries CT…looks like your new mini obsession (:

No it’s not an obsession. Tips are short pieces of advices often taken from an older, full article, which in this case can give the image that carries is my new focus.

I love them but it is still an assistance method.