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Strength and Hypertrophy Layer Questions


I had a few questions; I'll try and consolidate into a single post.

1) Is it ok to use strength layers for one exercise and hypertrophy layers for everything else? Or is it better to just stick with strength layers for every exercise, then switch to hypertophy for every exercise?

2) How do you measure progress from session to session?

Until now I've always used straight sets, with a fixed number of sets, so progression was either to get more reps or to increase the weight.

With the layers, I'm not really sure how you'd quantify progress. Do you focus on total training load (sum of reps x weight)? or do you focus on how many reps were done within certain percentage ranges? or something else entirely?

3) What role does frequency play when focusing on strength with a layer schedule?

If I wanted to increase my overhead press strength, do I get more benefit doing it more frequently or less frequently? By more frequently, I mean, as frequent as SGHP sessions.

I could figure this out if myself if I knew how to appropriately measure progress.

4) What role does frequency play when focusing on hypertrophy with a layer schedule?

Likewise for hypertrophy.


no offence but all of your questions are pretty dumb...

1) of course its ok to focus on strength one day, and hypertrophy the next.. strength and hypertrophy are strongly related (in the right calorific situation)

2) this obviously depends on your goals.... for example if your aim is get stronger, then your max ramp weight will obviously be your measure, and/or your cluster/straight set max. for strength capacity then you could pay attention to your HDL sets or clusters/straight sets.

3/4) effective frequency is the ability to take just enough rest to recover before hitting that movement/muscle again. CT has kindly suggested a guideline (search all his Layer System threads) but everyone recovers differently.

frequency is inversely proportionate to intensity so a balance has to be struck... there are countless schools of thought on this, but at the end of the day, to increase your press, you need to (obviously) press, then hit he press again when you feel ready.. if you don't progress then you arent resting long enough (assuming your diet is in check, and you can handle the HDL volume).


Yes, they're closely related, but not closely enough that they benefit the same from the same training protocol. The biochemical processes are somewhat different.

My question is more about the systemic vs localized signaling of "needs to add size" vs "needs to add strength". If localized signaling is saying to focus on strength, while the whole system is saying to focus on size, does that cause any issues?

Is it more optimal that everything be strength/hypertrophy focused at once, or is a mix -- in the context of a layer system approach -- comparably effective?

Yes, there's lots of ways to split it up. I mean, sure, you can look at the training max increasing. You can look at your cluster volume increasing. You can look at the total training load. You can do a weighted average and look at the average training load.

Performance training involves measuring and manipulating a lot of variables; just take a look at some of the Soviet systems for great examples.

Within the layer system, I'm wondering which particular variables provide the best, quantifiable, progress indicators.

Yeah, I know that... but that's not quite what I was asking.


Well typically you have one main exercise per workout in which you use layers. So you can't use "hypertrophy layers" for the other exercises, at least not in the same session because if there are other exercises in a session they are assistance movement in which you do not use layers.

As far as changing the type of layer every day (thus using different layers on different exercises) that's fine.

For the max ramp progress is obviously determined by how much weight you can use. For clusters it's how many total reps you are able to get in your sets (let's say 3) for the heavy density type layers it's the number of reps on average per set.

As a rule of thumb, the more often you do an exercise without causing excessive fatigue, the more it will progress. For example, last time I was in Colorado my goal was to post an impressive high pull video. For 3 weeks all I did were high pull variations and bench press. I did the high pull 5-6 days a week and the bench press on 2-3 of those days. My SGHP went from 125kg to 180kg.

That's also why most elite olympic lifters focus on the snatch, clean & jerk and squat and do these exercises daily.

Is that optimal to build the optimal physique? Unlikely, but it's the best way to increase strength in a few movements rapidly.

IMHO frequency and density are two of the most important variables. But when frequency is high, volume has to be lowered.




All right, good to know.

Ok, I see how that would work for each layer.

I was hoping there was a way to boil it down to a single number so you could compare session to session, over time.

For example, with deloads, there's often rules of thumb like "if you're not making progress for three sessions, drop the weight/switch rep schemes". Progress, in this case, is really based entirely on the load.

On the other hand, for the three SGHP sessions I've done, my 3RM has stayed the same. I also made all reps in the HDL layer. The only thing that's changed is the number of reps in the cluster sets.

So, I was wondering if there was a way to take an entire session and say, as a whole, whether you've progressed/regressed/stalled relative to your other sessions.

Because each layer has a different way of quantifying progress, it seems very difficult to boil that down to a single number.


i will comment based on my own experience. i created a database to track all my lifts during a session. i tried to quantify it in some way. my thinking was similar to what you are saying. i found that for me it was a huge waste of time and effort. imo, each portion of the layer effectively serves a different purpose, and when combined together, the purpose is to build overall strength and a "badass" physique. that being said, your progress is measured by each layer, and in your overall power, and how you look. honestly, i was so amazed with the quick progress from the layer, that i got spoiled. and i was looking for continuous progress. either in the max, or cluster, or hdl. that was not a good thing for me. since i "expected" to have some sort of progress from the prior session(whether it be more weight or more reps, or shorter time frame), i burned myself out because of the demand i put on myself. and of course i sustained a couple injuries.
now ive learned to go with the flow, and am liking the results. i even notice that my overall body "look", is taking on more of that athletic look, and i am stronger than i have been in years. im 55 now, and im sure that if i can keep this up for another year, i'd be doing some weights like i did when i was 20.
i dont know if this little piece will help you at all, but, i will say, that whatever you choose to do, you will need your ambition, perserverance, fortitude, and Patience.
all the best


That helps. I mean, physically, I've seen improvements very quickly... even if the numbers haven't really been going up.

I found this old post by CT, when he was talking about ramping and workloads in general. While it didn't directly answer my question, it gave me a bit more insight.