Clusters are one of my favourite strength training techniques for helping my Uxbridge personal training clients to bust through frustrating plateaus. A cluster is basically a set of several reps divided into single reps with a brief pause in between.
For example, you might do one rep, rest ten seconds, do another rep, rest ten seconds, do another rep, rest ten seconds, and so on.
While cluster training was popularized by Charles Poliquin, it’s pretty much how all Olympic lifters train. Olympic lifters train this way because when they do reps on the competitive lifts they drop the bar and reset after each repetition.
The working premise of clusters is that they allow you to perform more reps with a given percentage. A ten-second pause is enough to allow for partial ATP regeneration, the clearance of metabolites, and neural recovery.
So, when you do clusters, you should shoot for two or three more reps with a target weight. If you can bench 315 for three reps, shoot for cluster sets totaling five to six reps.
It’s important to note that you should replace the bar on the hooks between each rep. Trust me, you’ll want the rest.
But be warned, clusters are very demanding on the nervous system, so there are a couple of rules to follow: no more than one cluster per muscle group should be used in a workout and only for three to five sets.
Give this one a try and let me know how you progress:)