T Nation

Where to Begin for Offseason Powerlifting?


#1

After a long time away from the layer system ive come back to it and fully ready to commit to it. I've stopped and looked at what gave me the quickest and greatest results and it was this system but I am a bit overwhelmed by all the knowledge. I hate that I pop on here every few months and rarely give back but I don't have a computer so all I usually have time for (barely anymore) is logging my training and signing off so I jus at wanted to apologize for asking.

But where should I start to beging building a base for being a more awesome me? I'm trying to become as strong as possible but I also want to put on some good size.

I am not asking for a program just what direction to start looking (old school max/clusters/hdl ; death by; 10 day layer; ect)

To give you some background my lifts are a wide stance squat is 290, my close stance is 320 and when I fail I lean/fall forward and miss right out of the hole (I'm guessing my legs are just too weak), my bench is a paused 295, (weakness is back falling flat and not pulling the bar apart), my dead lift is good form has creeped up to 340, horrible form is 445 (stopping when technique is going to go back to the horrible form) and my best military press has been 155 x 2

Just lately I have such paralysis of analysis from stress from school and work. Sorry to be a pain in the ass. Any help is majorily appreciated!


#2

Im really liking CT's new density work which are all about using a certain % of your 1RM for a certain no. of reps or max reps in a time such as:

1 - 10 reps @ 90% quick as possible, 5min giant cluster @ 80% (this is the one im doing that he reccomended for a powerlifter)
2 - 20/25/30 reps @ 80% 1RM quick as possible
3 - Max reps in 5/7/8/10mins with 80%

etc.

My workouts currently do:

1 - Explosive/Activation Exercise - Jump Squats/M Ball throws
2 - Ramp to 1RM
3 - Density Work
4 - Loaded Carries (3 rounds of 1 minute)

I pick one accessory exercise per session and during upper body days do pull-ups during the session too. I think the loaded carries are one of the best additions ive ever made to my gym time


#3

Yea I have been trying to play catch up and I was wondering about the carries and the density work. I wasn't sure if it was just for strongman or strength emphasis.

Thanks for the input and clearing that up! Hopefully others will chime in too. I love hearing different peoples opinions!


#4

The new density work is definetly worth trying, its very humbling and the idea of a rep target or a time to shoot for it a nice change of pace.

The carries are awesome. And theyre good not only for condition but muscle growth and strength due to lots of fancy cell signalling pathways that im not smart enough to explain to you lol


#5

have you been training? what type?
there are so many different typees of. layers.
i copied some parts that i felt were important to me. maybe tomorrowwhen im in the office ill post them for ya.


#6

also look up the quadruple strength layers (just search for it). i gave them a trial for a month and really liked them, another good way to mix things up and gives you plenty of options to work on specific weaknesses like youve mentioned above


#7

I have been running a peaking cycle for my meet but I had to back out last minute because of personal reasons
My split was:
A. Bench - up to a heavy 3, 2, or 1 depending on the phase
B. Heavy Speed Bench - 5-7 sets of 3-4 reps in the (70-80% range)
C. Bench assistance exercise - for 2-4 sets
D. Chins - 3 sets
E. Triceps - 5 sets
F. Back - 4 sets

Squats
A. Squats - up to a heavy 3, 2, or 1
B. Pause Squats - 2-5 sets of 3 reps
C. Hamstring exercise - 4 sets
D. GHR - 4 sets

A. Close-Grip Bench - 3-5 sets of 2-5 reps
B. Military Press - 3 sets of 3 reps
C. Rear Delt Exercise - 4 sets
D. Front Raises - 4 sets
E. Triceps - 4 sets

A. Deads - 5-15 sets of 1
B1. Shrugs - 3 sets
B2. Rows - 3 sets
B3. Goodmorning - 3 sets
B4. Dead Hypers - 3 sets


#8

what kind of meet?


#9

A full power powerlifitng meet.


#10

did u see the thread for powerlifting? it was months ago. hawaii tunya had a meeet and CT posted some great stuff there. things have evolved since then, but i'd guess thats a good place to start. like i said before, ill dig up my notes that i copied from CT's posts that were/are important to me. aand put them up tomorrow. also, Lonnie put some variations up. for strength, any of CT's layers will work fine. just pik one and runn with it a while.

oh, and when he came out wth the 10 day mini cycle, he posted different variotions based on the needs/desires of whomever posted.
eg. someone wanted squat emphasis.. he put one out.
someone else wanted bench..... he put one out there.. etc.
the way i see it currently.
his last recs were ramp, density, carries
and, activate, ramp, density, carries or something to that effect. that'ts what i am currently doing in a 10 day cycle.
his wave ladder article is also awesome, along with the jump squats and biceps articles that have come out recently.


#11

So since im at a computer I did a ton of research on the topic and a ton of thinking and layed out a plan (atleast the bench portion), tell me what you guys think...

Weeks 1-3
A. Jumps

B. Double Pause Bench - Work up to a 3rm
C. Pause Bench - Work up to a 3rm from where B Left off
Then:
20/25/30 reps w/ 80% of B's percieved max

D. Incline Tilt Bench - 2-3 x 6
E. Bear Hug Caries

Week 4 - Deload

Weeks 5-7
A. Jumps

B. Double Pause Bench - Work up to a very conservative 2rm
C. Pause Bench - Work up to a 2rm from where B Left off
Then:
20/25/30 reps w/ 80% of c's percieved max

D. Incline Tilt Bench - 2-3 x 6
E. Bear Hug Caries

Week 8 - Deload

Weeks 1-3
A. Jumps

B. Pause Bench - Work up to a 1RM
Then:
10 reps with 90%, 5 minutes w/ 80%

D. Dead Bench - 6-10 singles
E. Bear Hug Caries

Week 12 - Deload

Week 13 - Retest max

Yes I like peaking programs lol My idea is 2 months of hitting the double pause bench hard will fix my motor pattern issues, and hitting regular pause benches after will help me apply the technique to heavier weights.


#12

Jumps are awesome to do but for a bench workout youd be better off sticking with medicine ball throws or using push press as an activator exericse - CT outline this in a thread called something alone the lines of "more than one lift in a session"

I think youd be better off doing - Week 1 - 1RM, Week 2 - 2RM, Week 3 - 3RM, Week 4 - De-load, Repeat. This would give you a solid 1RM to work out your density work from in the first week and you could stick to that then until the next time you max out if you like.

If youre doing pause AND double pause pressing id prefer to set it out like:

Pause Bench - Ramp and Density work
Double Pause Bench - 3-4 sets of 3 @ 50-60%

Purely because id view the pause bench work including density as the main element of the workout and then the double pause as more of an accessory lift.


#13

I would recommend having 3 main workouts:

Squat
Bench
Deadlift

and performing one explosive lift at the beginning of the session for activation...

For example:
1) SGHP then doing the squat workout
2) Push press then doing the bench workout
3) SGHP again, or power clean then doing the deadlift workout

I like the 5-4-3-2-1 scheme for the activation lift... that's not the 5-4-3-2-1 HDL but rather:
1 x 5 @ 82.5-85%
rest
1 x 4 @ 85-87.5%
rest
1 x 3 @ 87.5-90%
rest
1 x 2 @ 90-92.5%
rest
1 x 1 @ 92.5-95%
Up to 2 daily bodyweight exercises can be used per day. I like the "X amount of total reps" approach (I often start at 50 but on some movements you might want to scale it down or increase it a bit). It has to be a challenge but not something that is gut wrenching.
I prefer done separately.

Yeah, you choose a number of reps (e.g. 50) and you try to get those 50 total reps in as little time as possible. If you can get the total reps in 3 sets or less, increase either the difficulty of the movement or add reps.


#14

Layer workout doesn't refer to using specific methods like clusters and HDL. Layering refer to using several different methods for the same lift.

You have strength, power and density methods/loading schemes. 2-4 different layers are used in a workout.

Normally you always start with a strength layer (specifically ramping to a 1, 2 or 3RM). That turns on the nervous system. Then you add the layers best suited to your goal or to the exercise.

For front squats I really like to use a density layer... here are a few options:

a) use 80% of your max and get a total of 30 reps in as little time as possible

b) use 80% of your max and get as many total reps as possible in 8 minutes

c) use 90% and get 10 singles as fast as possible; drop down to 80% and get 10 total reps as fast as possible; drop down to 70% and get 10 total reps as fast as possible

So you would start with a max ramp, then do the density portion.

Of you could do something like this:

1) Paused front squat ramp ( ramp to a paused 1RM... pause for 2-3 sec. at the bottom)

2) Front squat ramp (continue ramping to your max done without a pause)

3) Density work (one of the examples above)
Try this for high pulls from the hang (or blocks)

90% for 3 minutes, 80% for 3 minutes, 85% for 3 minutes, 80% for 3 minutes

The goal is to get as many total reps as possible in the 12 minutes. You can rest as much and as often as you want, but each workout you have to beat your rep total.

"Layering" refers to ramping up than doing something else with the same movement to take advantage of the state of neural activation. It doesn't have to be the clusters and HDL.

For example one could do density work after the ramp.

Here are some possibilities:

1) Use 80% of your max (in the ramp) and perform a total of 30 reps as quickly as possible (doesn't have to be sets of a specific number of reps, just get done with the 30 as fast as you can)

2) Use 80% of your max and perform as many reps as you can in 6 minutes

3) Use 80% of your max and perform as many reps ad you can in 4 minutes; then use 70% and get as many reps as you can in 4 minutes

4) Use 90% and get 10 reps as fast as you can; then use 80% and get 20 reps as fast as you can.
Density work for SGHP:

Here are 3 options:

a) use 80%, perform as many total reps as you can in 5 minutes

b) use 80% get 40 total reps in as little time as possible

c) 90% get 10 total reps in as little time as possible; 80% get 20 total reps in as little time as possible; 70% get 30 total reps in as little time as possible

These are in order of difficulty


#15

Two of my favorite approaches to adding on tons of strength are the layer system and the continuous ramp approach.

The layer system blends 3 types of stimulations: maximum/near-maximum ramp, cluster/90% work, HDL work with 70-80%. While the HDL portion gives you the best pump, it is really the ramp and especially the cluster that stimulates the most growth and strength gains.

The continuous ramp uses 3 variations of the same motor pattern and you ramp them up all three, starting with the "weakest" and finishing up with the strongest.

A good approach is to combine both.

Here is an example for the explosive pulls:

  1. Snatch-grip high pulls from blocks ramp to 2RM
  2. 1 cluster set on SGHP with 90% of the 2RM
  3. Snatch-grip chinese pulls from blocks starting with the cluster weight and ramping to your 2RM
  4. 1 cluster set on SGCHP with 90% of 2RM
  5. Snatch-grip low pulls from blocks starting with the previous cluster weight and ramping to 2RM
  6. 1 extended set with SGLP with 80% (max reps/15 sec rest/max reps)

For the slight decline bench press I would use the pin height... for example:

  1. Slight decline bench from pins, 3" from chest ramp to 2RM
  2. 1 cluster set on slight decline bench with 90% of the 2RM
  3. Slight decline bench from pins, from mid-range from starting with the cluster weight and ramping to your 2RM
  4. 1 cluster set on slight decline bench with 90% of 2RM
  5. Slight decline bench from pins, last 4-5" of ROM starting with the previous cluster weight and ramping to 2RM
  6. 1 extended set on "no.5" with 80% (max reps/15 sec rest/max reps)

#16

offseason - honestly evaluated your weaknesses. write them down. decide which take the longest to train and longest to detrain. Dedicate your first training block or two to a focus on this (not to exclusion of all else). Example: hypertrophy takes longer to affect and longer to detrain than strength. Read Tate's article on powerlifting specific hypertrophy. Maybe you need more muscle around your knee (just an example!) so you do one of CTs structural focus layers using ft squat wearing o lifting shoes (leaving some stuff out here for the sake of brevity). Then use some sort of test to see if you've brought you weakness up to snuff, put it on maintenance while working on next most pertinent weakness...