T Nation

NEW Layer Application for Maximum Strength


#1

My goal is to build a great physique. Big muscles, lean body, powerful looking. That is my ultimate goal. And I use performance tools to reach that goal. However, part of the process is focusing on strength. A strength focus will make your muscle look more dense and will also make any subsequent "hypertrophy" workouts more effective.

I also found that while HDL-type work (5-4-3-2-1, extended sets, hard 5, etc.) can help you build more muscle, they work best when used in short cycles. For the first 3-4 weeks they lead to rapid changes in muscle mass and look. However much past that it will actually have detrimental effect on strength progression which will eventually hurt your overall progress.

So every 4-5 weeks it is a good idea to use a strength-based layer phase.

Here's a good one that I did this morning for the slight decline bench from pins (but it can be applied to other big lifts used in the layer system).

  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)

#2

CT - would you recommend using this approach to focus on one lift per week or could it be done for all weekly workouts at the same time?

I have been doing the basic layering system for some time now and right now I’m finding that the strength gains are stagnating on the main lifts. I’m looking forward to the release of the entire system so that I can benefit from your progression models. In the meantime, could I apply the approach described above to all workouts or should I just pick one or two lifts?

My current weekly workout plan is: 1) incline bench from pins + 3-4 sets dips 2) high pulls + DS rows 3) decline bench from pins + 3-4 sets ring push ups 4) DS lifts + 3-4 sets front squats 5) OH press from pins + 3-4 sets landmine lateral raises 6) high pulls + 4 sets biceps work 7) optional conditioning/abs work (this day soon to be replaced by a kickboxing/grappling session).

Thank you for your time.


#3

[quote]dave-g wrote:
CT - would you recommend using this approach to focus on one lift per week or could it be done for all weekly workouts at the same time?

I have been doing the basic layering system for some time now and right now I’m finding that the strength gains are stagnating on the main lifts. I’m looking forward to the release of the entire system so that I can benefit from your progression models. In the meantime, could I apply the approach described above to all workouts or should I just pick one or two lifts?

My current weekly workout plan is: 1) incline bench from pins + 3-4 sets dips 2) high pulls + DS rows 3) decline bench from pins + 3-4 sets ring push ups 4) DS lifts + 3-4 sets front squats 5) OH press from pins + 3-4 sets landmine lateral raises 6) high pulls + 4 sets biceps work 7) optional conditioning/abs work (this day soon to be replaced by a kickboxing/grappling session).

Thank you for your time.[/quote]

I personally like to keep the same type of focus for every workout in a training cycle. So yeah, use the strength-focused layer for all lifts.


#4

Perfect. Thank you.


#5

I suppose one set of max reps will add some hypertrophy anyhow. Good stuff CT!


#6

Nice so basically we are cycling every month back and forth. I hit Legs layered last night and I was stoked to train legs again. Its usually not my favorite training day…


#7

Awesome. Thanks CT


#8

CT - just to be clear, when lowering back down to 70% for the subsequent ramps is that 70% of the 1RM each time or when ramping to the 3RM are you starting from 70% of the 2RM? For the max reps set is that 70% of the 1RM or the 3RM?

Put another way, supposing a 1RM of 300 the ramp to 2RM would start at 210 (70% of 300). Would the ramp to 3RM also start at 210 or would it be at 70% of whatever the 2RM turns out to be, say 70% of 280. And further, would the max reps set be done at 210 or at whatever the 3RM ramped max was, say 70% of 250?


#9

[quote]dave-g wrote:
CT - just to be clear, when lowering back down to 70% for the subsequent ramps is that 70% of the 1RM each time or when ramping to the 3RM are you starting from 70% of the 2RM? For the max reps set is that 70% of the 1RM or the 3RM?

Put another way, supposing a 1RM of 300 the ramp to 2RM would start at 210 (70% of 300). Would the ramp to 3RM also start at 210 or would it be at 70% of whatever the 2RM turns out to be, say 70% of 280. And further, would the max reps set be done at 210 or at whatever the 3RM ramped max was, say 70% of 250?
[/quote]

I believe each one is based off the 1RM, that’s how I did it last time and it worked great. So;

1RM 100
Clusters - 90
Lower to 70% - 70
Ramp to 2rm, ie 85
Clusters - 75
lower to 70% - 70
Ramp to 3rm, ie 80
Clusters - 72.5
Lower to 70% - 70
Max rep set, I’m guessing between 5-8 reps


#10

sawinwright - thank you. That is what I figured. Going to do this today and I’m tight for time so I didn’t want to be experimenting. Off to give this a shot on overhead press.


#11

excellent post CT. Thanks Dave for your write up as well…i like the additional exercises you add at the end of your workouts Very helpful. I have been doing the original layer system for 13 weeks now and needed to start changing the program a little. can’t wait for full layer program to come out…hurry up :slight_smile:


#12

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
My goal is to build a great physique. Big muscles, lean body, powerful looking. That is my ultimate goal. And I use performance tools to reach that goal. However, part of the process is focusing on strength. A strength focus will make your muscle look more dense and will also make any subsequent “hypertrophy” workouts more effective.

I also found that while HDL-type work (5-4-3-2-1, extended sets, hard 5, etc.) can help you build more muscle, they work best when used in short cycles. For the first 3-4 weeks they lead to rapid changes in muscle mass and look. However much past that it will actually have detrimental effect on strength progression which will eventually hurt your overall progress.

So every 4-5 weeks it is a good idea to use a strength-based layer phase.

Here’s a good one that I did this morning for the slight decline bench from pins (but it can be applied to other big lifts used in the layer system).

  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)[/quote]

Thibs, you recently mentioned you were ramping your SGHPs to 2RM instead of 1RM. When taking a break from the HDL, do you use this 1RM strength plan with SGHP as you would with presses/squats? Would you approach this any differently with someone using a full snatch or clean?

BTW - I noticed the same thing with excessive HDL. My body was telling me one/two sets of HDL, but was blasting through the full 3 sets as prescribed. I can see now why I hit a wall after 6 weeks.


#13

[quote]orcrist wrote:

Thibs, you recently mentioned you were ramping your SGHPs to 2RM instead of 1RM. When taking a break from the HDL, do you use this 1RM strength plan with SGHP as you would with presses/squats? Would you approach this any differently with someone using a full snatch or clean?
[/quote]

This strength-focused plan can be used with any major lift, including high pulls and the olympic lifts BUT I would not do the max reps with the olympic lifts.


#14

@CT: Are you still recommending we not do Max Pump for High Pulls and just use Speed HDL?


#15

[quote]brandon76 wrote:
@CT: Are you still recommending we not do Max Pump for High Pulls and just use Speed HDL? [/quote]

Yes and no… I do not recommend the max pump for high pulls and lower body work. But I do not recommend speed HDL either since the high pull is by nature an explosive movement, so all sets really are speed sets.


#16

for hi pulls max pump, i was doing snatch grip shrugs- 5 reps, for 5 seconds each rep, 4reps x 4secs, 3 reps x 3 secs, 2reps x 2 secs, and 1 rep x 1 sec. are these no longer a recommendation on hi pull days


#17

are hi pull max pump snatch grip shrugs no longer recommended on hi pull days


#18

[quote]wreaking havoc wrote:
are hi pull max pump snatch grip shrugs no longer recommended on hi pull days[/quote]

As I mentioned in a few previous posts, the “volume work” (HDL) negatively affect performance and strength gains if used excessively. The max pump KILLED high pull progress, which is why I only do “hard 5 HDL” with them.

Plus, the “max pump HDL” was never something to be used often, in fact I recommend NOT using it most of the time. It’s onlu something you CAN add at the end of the layer workout, if you feel that the muscles did not have enough, which shouldn’t be often with the layer system.


#19

CT - is the “hard 5” HDL the 5 reps/30 secs rest/5 reps/30 secs rest/5 reps set up that has been mentioned before or something else? I was off the layering approach for a month doing ‘6 Weeks to Superhero’ and during that time a bunch of new layers were introduced and I didn’t make note of them as I should have.

On that note, is there a comprehensive list of the layer options available on the forums at this point?


#20

I did this new layer application last night for decline dead-squat bench press. Really liked it and will use if for a few weeks with all the exercises. Cheers CT