T Nation

Layers are Freaking Ridiculous

Three weeks ago I decided to take the plunge and switch from 531 to layers. I’ve been running layers for fat loss, swimming almost every day and lifting in nine day cycles:

Slight decline bench
High Pull
Incline bench
High pull
Slight decline bench

The decline and incline just switch every 3 day mini cycle. I’ve only complete 2 cycles and the strength gains have been crazy.

In 18 days:
Slight decline: one 45 lb plate under the foot of the bench. 265 -> 285

Incline: 185 -> 225 (all time PR today, haven’t trained incline seriously for a couple years)

High pull: ugly 205 -> decent 225

TBDL: 415->435

I’ve also lost 10 lbs.

This is an awesome system, and I can’t wait to get lean, up calories, and hit the max strength and max muscle layers

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What makes this program a “layer” program? What exactly is a layer?

It’s a type of training that CT can out with a few years back where you work one main lift a day, and hit it in different waves of intensity. For example a bench layer workout for fat loss would be like this(which is pretty a strength layer workout with less clusters)

Layer 1: ramp up to a 1rm in 7-9 sets
Layer 2: two cluster sets with 90% of 1rm
Layer 3: drop to 70% and ramp back up to a 2rm
Layer 4: 2 clusters with 90% of 2rm
Layer 5: drop to 70% and ramp to 3rm
Layer 6: 1 HDL set, which is just high intensity pump work. One way is to drop to 70% of 3rm and do 5 reps/5 sec/ 4 reps/ 5 sec/3reps/5 sec/2 reps/5 sec/1 rep, another is 70% 3rm and do max reps/30 sec/max reps.

This is the general set up for strength layers, while the max muscle layer is:
Ramp to 1rm
3-5 clusters at 90%
3-5 HDL sets at 70%

I thought it was something like that, ramp up then reduce and repeat. Are you pushing a true gut busting 100% on the first ramp? It seems a little stressful with that frequency. Also are you doing high reps on the high pulls? How is that working out?

Aren’t there some layers that have you work up to partials or overload negatives? Also, is it a bad idea or “wrong” to use a slightly different form of the exercise for the reps? So for example, use decline bench press for the ramp, then decline dumbell press for the reps, or change the angle very slightly?

I have never sweat as much during training than I did doing trapbar layers. They were brutal.

are you guys still doing this year-round/long-term? CT seems to have revised his stance on this (should be only used for a few weeks as intensification method and certain exercises should not be layered).

yeah they are freaking ridiculous…literally the most rapid physique transformation since maybe newbie gains days.

i only layered the bench & sghp days though. TBDL, deadlifts & front squats were done more in a ramping/5x5 format.

The only time I’ve been close to true failure was hitting 225 on the incline, and that’s only because I really, really wanted to have a two plate incline.

On high pulls I’ve e honestly just been doing shrugs for the HDL set or doing “hard 5s” which is taking 80% of RM and doing 5 reps/30 sec/5 reps/30 sec/ 5 reps. There’s s noticable difference in my traps since starting to regularly high pull