The Benefits Of Cluster Training

Over the years, there is a lot of science developed in the area of physical training.

However, one of the least popular, but perhaps overlooked is cluster training.

If we compare cluster training to traditional training, cluster sets allow various benefits that could be superior to traditional sets if done right.

Some people have a negative connotation of resting during workout intervals and view it as a sign of weakness.

This article will show you how you can leverage mini-rest intervals with cluster training to maximize your strength and power gain in your workouts.

Cluster training sets are designed to have rest intervals within a set after each particular number of repetitions.

Cluster training takes advantage of the short recovery time you are allowing your body to maximize the velocity of your exercise and get more work done.

This results in greater recruitment of motor neurons and type-II explosive muscle fibers, which are essential to better exercise performance, higher quality of movements and power advantage.

An optimal rest interval for cluster training is between, 10 to 30 seconds.

The real key is to gauge your performance based on the maximum amount of load you can work on.

Higher loads combined with optimal rest intervals generate significant results in terms of strength and power gains.

Compound exercises such as deadlifts and squats are particularly great from cluster sets, but any other movements can benefit from it.

Cluster training is a great way to increase your training volume while emphasizing your power gain.

To put it simply, cluster training divides the set into mini-sets and adds a short rest in between.

Because we perform a small amounts of repetitions in each mini-set, lifting heavier weights can be more beneficial when performing cluster training.

1 set of bench press = 2 Reps - Rest - 2 Reps - Rest - 2 Reps
  • Choose a relatively heavy load based on your current capacity. (80% or 90% of 1 RM)
  • Do 2 reps
  • Rest for 10 to 30 seconds
  • Do 2 reps
  • Rest for 10 to 30 seconds
  • Do 2 Reps

Always maintain stress or tension in between mini-sets while having the right amount of rest in between intervals.

Remember that resting too much defeats the purpose of cluster training.

Cluster training uses rest intervals to prepare your muscles for the next high-intensity contractions.

Training, in general, uses the principle of progressive overload to increase your performance and gains continuously.

Power is developed when an exercise is done with explosiveness or at high velocity.

However, exercise velocity tends to decrease during a continuous high amount of repetition, as seen in traditional training.

Optimal range of motion and proper execution are more likely to be compromised during the later reps of the traditional set.

Cluster training allows you to do what traditional training lacks while still achieving the benefits of progressive overload and optimal rest.

Additionally, rest intervals prepare you to perform the next short sets with full power which is a stimulus for maximizing your gains.

Studies also show that cluster training minimizes the risk of fatigue resulting in better and consistent performance in the gym.

Cluster training allows you to maximize your exercise benefits by performing each set to near peak velocity

  • Good training variation for people who suffer from plateau or overtraining
  • Improves power
  • Increases your strength
  • Promotes better exercise performance
  • Increases the volume of exercise you could do

Here’s a workout that uses the cluster training protocol:

Cluster training is a great way to provide variation through your workout without sacrificing your gains since it is conducive for progressive overloading and allows a greater volume of exercise.

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Bert Bauzon is a licensed physiotherapist specializing in spinal care and sports rehabilitation. He writes articles and books about exercise science and health care.

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