Cluster Training: How to Use It to Build Muscle and Strength

The idea behind cluster training is simple: You do five exercises with the same weight each time. For example, if you want to build muscle, you will perform push-ups, sit-ups and pull-up with the same weight each time. If you are new to cluster training, it might seem like a very complicated exercise routine. However, after doing some repetitions of these exercises for several weeks or months, your body adapts and becomes stronger than before.

For instance, if you have never done any cluster training before, you may not be able to complete all the reps. Therefore, you need to start from the beginning and work your way up until you can do all the repetitions without stopping.

Once your body has adapted to this type of training routine, then it will become easier for you to continue doing this kind of training routine.

Cluster training is a great way to get strong because it involves many different muscles working together. This makes your body stronger and helps you develop endurance.

Also, you won’t feel tired during the workouts because you are constantly moving around. Finally, cluster training works well for building muscle mass since there are many exercises involved in this type of workout routine.

When choosing which exercises to use in cluster training, try to avoid using too much weight when performing them. For instance, if you are performing the push-up exercise, you may want to use your body weight as resistance instead of a heavy dumbbell or barbell.

Even though pushing your body weight in this exercise is very difficult, you can easily do several repetitions. If you are new to cluster training, then it is better to start off with three sets of six repetitions for each exercise before moving on to heavier weights.

Who should use the cluster training method?

Cluster training is beneficial for anyone who wants to get strong, whether you are an athlete or not. For instance, if you are a baseball player, then it may help to increase your batting average. It will also help you with the strength aspect of the game because you will be stronger than most of the other people playing in that league. Many baseball players also use this type of training during the off-season since it works well for increasing muscle mass.

Cluster training is also beneficial for breaking through a plateau. If you have been using the same weight for several months and you are no longer making any progress, then a good way to get around this problem is to use a new method for a while in order to shock your body.

The shock of changing up your routine can be just what you need to get over that plateau and continue making progress.

Cluster training also helps you get stronger without adding too much muscle mass. If you are a body builder, then this type of training might not work as well for you since it will increase your muscle mass slightly.

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However, body builders sometimes use this type of training in their off-season in order to maintain their strength while they are focusing more on building muscle.

How to structure a cluster training routine

The best way to do the cluster training routine is to do it two times per week, taking at least one day in between each session. You can perform the routine five times per week, but this may be too much for some people.

It is best to allow your muscles to rest in between sessions since this will give them time to grow stronger and adapt to the new routine you have introduced.

The number of exercises that you do during each session depends on how much time you have available. If you only have 30 minutes to work out, then only do a few different exercises during that time period.

If you have an hour or more to work out, then you can do several exercises. In either case, try to include exercises for your arms, legs, and core.

When doing your routine, make sure that you rest at least 3-5 minutes in between each set so that you don’t fatigue your muscles too much. If you are only doing one set of an exercise, then take a longer rest period of 10-15 minutes.

If you are doing several sets of an exercise, then take a shorter rest period in between each set. The best way to figure out the correct rest period for you is to start with the maximum time and work your way down until you find the one that seems to work best for you.

Some people like to do two different types of cluster training routines: one for building strength and one for pure muscle growth. Here is an example of how you might set up a routine if you want to focus on building strength:

Exercise Sets Reps Rest Period Equipment Needed Leg Press 4 15 3 min Dumbbells, bench Press 4 10 Chin Up 4 Failure 3 min Barbell, EZ Curl Bar Bent Over Row 4 10 3 min Dumbbells, Bench

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As you can see from this routine, you are doing multiple sets for every exercise. The rest periods are fairly short and you take a 3 minute break every 15 minutes.

Once you can comfortably complete the entire routine, you can increase the weight that you are using or add more sets to some of the exercises. You also might want to focus on just doing two different types of cluster training routines for a while since over-training can be just as bad as not training hard enough.

The number of sets that you do depends on your fitness level, but usually novices can get away with doing 4 sets or less. Only advanced trainees need to do more than this. You also rest at least three minutes in between each set so that you have enough energy to give a good effort during each one. The exercises that are marked with a ‘failure’ indicate that you should stop once you can no longer lift the weight and still complete at least one more repetition. It is best to start out by following the routine that has already been laid out for you and then adjust things as needed when you are more experienced with this style of training.

Many people find cluster training a very intense way of training and it can take some getting used to. Stick with it and be patient and you should see results if you were struggling with plateaus with your current routine.

Good luck.

Remember, there is no reason to rush yourself! Take it slowly and gradually increase the number of sets that you do and the weight that you use.

You’ll be lifting heavy weights before you know it.

Sources & references used in this article:

Effect of Cluster Training Versus Traditional Training on Muscular Strength among Recreationally Active Males-A Comparative Study. by A Samson, PS Pillai – Indian Journal of Physiotherapy & …, 2018 – search.ebscohost.com

Does cluster loading enhance lower body power development in preseason preparation of elite rugby union players? by KT Hansen, JB Cronin, SL Pickering… – … Journal of Strength & …, 2011 – cdn.journals.lww.com

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Cluster analysis of novel isometric strength measures produces a valid and evidence-based classification structure for wheelchair track racing by MJ Connick, E Beckman, Y Vanlandewijck… – British journal of sports …, 2018 – bjsm.bmj.com

How to incorporate eccentric training into a resistance training program by J Mike, CM Kerksick, L Kravitz – Strength & Conditioning Journal, 2015 – journals.lww.com

Differential effects of strength training leading to failure versus not to failure on hormonal responses, strength, and muscle power gains by M Izquierdo, J Ibanez… – Journal of applied …, 2006 – journals.physiology.org

Exergaming and older adult cognition: a cluster randomized clinical trial by C Anderson-Hanley, PJ Arciero, AM Brickman… – American journal of …, 2012 – Elsevier

Training for power: Principles and practice by AN Turner – Professional Strength & Conditioning, 2009 – eprints.mdx.ac.uk

Comprehensive warm-up programme to prevent injuries in young female footballers: cluster randomised controlled trial by T Soligard, G Myklebust, K Steffen, I Holme, H Silvers… – Bmj, 2008 – bmj.com