If you want to change your current exercise program, and are not satisfied with your progress in putting quality muscle mass (i.e. for a long time, you are doing the same training program along with the same set of exercises, hence, your body got accustomed to it and now, you see no muscle progression and increase in strength at all), then you may need to increase the intensity in your training, simply by practicing some advanced training techniques.
In today’s post, we will specifically speak about the Cluster set training method, which is a great way to increase the intensity of your training and thus, make your workout more interesting and efficient. In this article, you will be given basic information associated with this method which, if followed correctly will provide excellent results for your body.
What in fact is Cluster set training method?
The cluster set training method asks for continuous execution of 6 to 10 series of the same exercise, with the same number of repetitions and with using the same weight for each set. What we need to mention is that the rest period between each series is limited in order to provide a great increase in the intensity while training a certain muscle group.
As an example of the cluster method, we can mention doing bench press for 10 sets of 4 repetitions each and resting around 20-60 seconds between each set. The weight while doing this type of training should always be moderate.
The number of sets and the number of repetitions in the series depends upon the individual capabilities of each trainee. That is why, the number of sets should be anywhere between 6 and 10, while the number of repetitions in the sets can be from 4 to 8 reps.
The number of repetitions should be equal to or less than the number of sets (except when performing the exercises that are designed for the calves, where you should do ideally 8 sets of 10 repetitions in one set).
As for the rest period between each set, it should be anywhere from 20 to 60 seconds, except for the deadlifts and squats, where there should be higher rest period compared to the other exercises, around 60 to 90 seconds.
What every active trainee should know about this training is that there should be a slight increase in the weights while following this cluster training. For example, if you bench pressed 10 reps for 4 sets with 60 kilograms, than next week, you should increase the weight from 5 to 10%, compared to the weight used in your last training.
There are three options when choosing cluster sets, which includes:
- 10×4 or 10×5 Cluster set series – 10 sets are made with 4 or 5 repetitions with 30-45 seconds rest in between each set. This approach is ideal for performing complex exercises for the major muscle groups such as the muscles of the chest, back and shoulders.
- 8×4 or 8×6 Cluster set series – This approach (8×4) is primarily aimed at performing complex exercises such as doing deadlifts and squats for 8 sets of 4 reps and 45-90 seconds rest in between each set. The 8×6 cluster approach is intended for the exercises, which are designed to hit the hamstrings and glutes and for some complex exercises that work the back muscles. The rest period for this approach is from 30 to 60 seconds in between each set, and you should do 8 sets of 6 repetitions for each exercise.
- 6×6 Cluster set series – This approach is intended for those trainees, who want to perform isolation exercises for the major muscle groups (chest, shoulder, back, legs muscles) and exercises for the muscles of your arms (biceps, and triceps). In this approach, make 6 series of 6 repetitions in each set, and 20-45 seconds rest.
Below you can see, how one training program with cluster sets will look like.
Monday: Back and Biceps training
- Deadlift 8×4
- Barbell Rows 8×6
- Front Pull downs 6×6
- Barbell Curls 6×6
- Hammer Curls 6×6
Tuesday: Chest and Triceps training
- Barbell Bench Press 10×4
- Incline Dumbbell Press 10×5
- Dumbbell Fly’s 6×6
- Skull crushers 6×6
- Dumbbell Extensions 6×6
***2 DAY REST
Friday: Shoulder and Trapezius training
- Military Press 10×4
- Arnold Press 6×6
- Side Lateral Raises 6×6
- Barbell/Dumbbell Shrugs 6×6
Saturday: Legs training
- Squats 8×4
- Leg Extensions 6×6
- Romanian Deadlift/ Hamstring Curls 8×6
- Standing / Seated Calf Raises 8×10
***2 DAY REST