Cluster Strength Training: How and Why

Cluster Strength Training: How and Why

Hey guys, I want to talk to you about something calledcluster strength training.This is something that I want to talk about because a) I don’t think it’s talked about enough and b) I think it should be talked about more. 

Cluster strength training is a great way to boost your gains (effectively by “shocking” your body) and it also offers a bit of variation to your lifting routine. And, hey, variety is the spice of life after all. 

It’s alsodifferent and if you’re the kind of man or woman who loves to be a bit of a trailblazer in your gym, cluster strength training is definitely for you ;) 

So … What the Eff Is Cluster Strength Training? 

When you perform a back squat in traditional lifting, you do 5 reps before resting for 2 minutes and going again. 

When it comes to cluster strength training, on the other hand, those 5 reps are broken down into four mini-sets that comprise 2 reps each. Splitting up each mini-set is a 10 second break (15 seconds max). 

The upshot is that you get to do eight reps of back squats. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “3 more reps? Bro, that’s not a lot!”

True, it doesn’t seem like a lot. But it’s equal to around a 60% boost in your output which, over the long term, is super effective. 

Essentially, by adding clusters to your usual training regime, you’re cheating a set and performing extra reps. 

Why Should I Do Cluster Strength Training? 

Good question. 

First and foremost, cluster strength training means you can do extra reps using a heavier weight. And when you can maintain your intensity while doing those extra reps, you will gain more strength and muscle. Win. 

Moreover, cluster training allows you to adjust your rest/reps/sets scheme according to your goals. For example, you can use it to focus on hypertrophy gains or strength gains. Whatever you want. 

If strength gains are what you’re aiming for, your rests should be shorter, your reps should be lower and your load of movement should be higher. 

If, conversely, you’re looking for hypertrophy gains, take the weight you typically use for strength building before pushing the amount of reps you do into what’s normally associated with a hypertrophy rep range (say, 10 reps). This boosts the time you spend under tension, and it also places more mechanical stress on your muscles. 

Strength Cluster Example 

5 (4x2)-10s W/ a 5RM 

For this routine, perform 5 clusters, with each one consisting of four mini-sets of a pair of reps. 

Take a 10-15 second rest between the mini-sets and then go again. 

Muscle Gain Cluster Example 

5(3x3)-15s w/ a 6RM

For this one, perform three mini-sets, with each one containing 3 reps (6RM). 

With this particular example, you can do 9 reps in total with a 6RM and manipulate the training so that you gain more muscle. 

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