T Nation

Transitioning from BDWP to Layers


-Type 2a/b, been running BDWP for a little over 6 months now.
-Wrapping up an 8-week cut (dropped 10 lbs, though some of that’s obviously glycogen) and thinking to transition to max muscle layers on a slight caloric surplus, aiming to gain no more than one pound per month.
-I’m 5’6, 152 pounds, and relatively lean (pics below to give you an idea; forgive awful posing).
-Very minimal life stress (fully-funded graduate student, so my only job is basically writing fiction, which doesn’t feel like work!)
-My only goal is hypertrophy.
-Is max muscle layers a logical next step to put on some muscle while re-sensitizing the body to the BDWP training style?


If you can stick to something for that long you are likely more of a 2B than a 2A (the fact that you only care about hypertrophy also points toward 2B). With 2Bs the thing is that very demanding neural work (very heavy) will crush their CNS and within 2 weeks they are drained. So the max muscle layer with the ramp to max and cluster might not be the best idea.

It can be adapted though. I’m headed to the gym right now but I’m get back with some suggestions.


Thanks, this all makes sense! BDWP is easily the longest I’ve ever stuck with a program. I ran muscle layers for about 4 months in 2016 and really enjoyed it, but when I look back on that time I think I was exhibiting some signs of CNS fatigue toward the end of that period


Would a layout like this be more beneficial:

week 1: ramp to 3rm, 2 clusters, 4 hdl
week 2: ramp to 3rm, 3 clusters, 3 hdl
week 3: 4 clusters, 2 hdl
week 4: 3 hdl, 2 max pump
Basing percentages in weeks 3 and 4 off week 2’s ramp and keeping clusters at 5-8 reps (maybe 85%?) rather than 3-6


If you are a type 2B that is a VERY bad cycle. I said that you can’t do a lot of neural work without crashing. So you can use layers, but layers of methods that have a lower neural component (neural = heavy, explosive or high skill).

Something like:

LAYER 1 (Ramp) = Ramp to 5RM in 4 to 6 sets
LAYER 2 (VERY slow eccentric, around 6 seconds) = 90% of the 5RM, for max reps (2 sets)
LAYER 3 (Slow CONCENTRIC 2050 tempo) = 70% of the 5RM for max reps (2 sets)
LAYER 4 (Iso-dynamic contrast*) = 60% of the 5RM for max reps(see note) (2 sets)

*Iso-dynamic contrast = 20-30 seconds isometric hold at key position (on most big lifts it’s the mid range point) THEN do as many reps as you can

Since you are a 2B I would then do 2 supersets of isolation exercises in antagonist pairing fashion done for 3 sets each … (so 4 total exercises)


Wow, thank you! I’m looking forward to trying this–