One of my favorite training concepts when performing barbell exercises. But, before we get into why, let’s first define exactly what a cluster is when referring to resistance training.
A cluster is simply breaking up higher rep schemes into smaller rep schemes.
For instance, instead of doing:
1 set of 8
You could do:
1 set of (4×2) – where you perform two reps, rest a bit, perform two more reps, rest a bit again, continuing until you reach eight total reps.
You could also perform a cluster like this:
1 set of (2×4) – where you perform four reps, rest a bit and perform four more to reach the total of eight.
You could also do a cluster like this:
1 set of (8×1) – where you perform one rep, rest a bit, perform one rep, rest, and repeat until you reach the total of eight.
And not only are the clusters variable but the rest periods are too. You could rest for two seconds, three seconds, really any time amount of up to about ten seconds.
Now that we know what a cluster is and how to program them in let’s talk about why I like them so much.
Strength training is defined by working with weights at five to six reps or less. In that rep range the weights are relatively heavier which in turn helps develop more strength.
There is just one problem there if you teach beginners. Beginners need more practice to learn the more technical barbell lifts. If we are only performing three or four reps and they mess up one or two of them that leads to HALF of all their reps being ‘bad practice’.
We need more reps to get practice but lower reps for the resistance to be heavy enough to create an adaption – what do we do?
Make this tweak to your current program and let me know how it goes.
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