T Nation

Layer System with Variations


I have recently started using your layer system, ramping to a heavy single, clusters, Hdl layer, and really enjoying it.

I assume your view is still the same, that the system is good for 6 weeks or so but then you risk burning out. To avoid this, what would be your thoughts on rotating through variations of the main lift each week to avoid accommodation / burning out, similar to the Westside ME days?

Apologies is this has been asked before and I’ve missed it.


It wont do anything. Neural “overtraining” isn’t movement specific, it’s systemic. Westside prevents neural accommodation by rotating the exercises but in all honesty they are not really at risk of neural “overtraining” since they only do 6 max efforts lift per week (3 lifts above 92% for bench variation, 3 lifts above 92% on squat/dead variation).

In the layer system the volume of neurally demanding work is much greater both during a session and during the week (4 sessions vs. 2 with Westside).

Basically changing the exercise every week with the layer system will not work. Neither for preventing neural fatigue nor to give you results (it WILL make the system less effective).

I’ve been doing this for 20 years and have trained using pretty much all possible styles of training, including Westside. If rotating the main exercise worked on the layer system to prevent neural fatigue don’t you think I already would have recommended it?

Fair enough, thanks for the response. I wasn’t questioning your knowledge, just trying to further my own.

The original layer system is designed this way by the shock approach that means you train very intensively for a short time period and after this short time period (4-10weeks?) you will need a break somehow. You use the same exercises over and over to get all the neuronal adaptions and then your body is forced to actually build new muscle to withstand the training, that’s the idea behind the layer system. (^^these information can be wrong)

CT, I know I have asked this question in the past but never got an answer so maybe this time. In 2013 or 2014 you published an article about Mirco mod sets, small changes (like gripping the bar slightly narrower or wider) that you do after some reps to increase the results of your training. I always thought that would work perfectly with the layer system since you often do cluster or HDL work there (so you don’t need to interrupt your set to change the grip since you do cluster reps), however you never mentioned it, so why do you don’t like it or are neutral towards it ?