Earnings stagnant? Use these exercises to increase intensity with cluster sets and the double rest-pause method. That’s it.
Forget the standard 3 sets of 10 for a moment. Get stronger and boost hypertrophy with these challenging (and fun) training methods.
cluster set Involves scheduled rest between repetitions. These short breaks usually last 5-30 seconds. They allow you to do more work in a set than going all out with no rest, and often with better technique.
For example, when doing 80% of your 1RM in the lift, you can do 5-8 reps at a traditional all-out. Using cluster sets, you can probably get an extra 1-3 reps with the same weight.
Cluster training has many applications besides handling heavier weights for more reps in a set:
Increase training density: It increases the amount of work done in the training session. This increases work capacity and reduces overall training time.
Additional sport-specific exercises: For weightlifters, the first rep is the only rep that matters in a competition. Every first rep is another opportunity to practice maximal effort lifting technique.
Strength and Hypertrophy: By controlling load, sets, reps, and rest intervals within sets, cluster sets are an effective strength and conditioning tool.
Repeat scheme for best performance:
For strength: 3 sets of 1 about 2RM (94-96% 1RM), rest for 20 seconds. See the deadlift example in the video.
For hypertrophy: 6 sets of 6 reps, resting 10-15 seconds in the assist exercise. See an example of a trap bar row in the video.
make standard rest pause (RP) method, you can also use rest periods within sets, just like cluster sets. The difference is intent.
With the RP method, your aim is to get as many reps as possible or get very close to failure. In contrast, cluster groups are usually done with a specific number of representatives in mind, and keep the same number of representatives in each cluster. In the RP method, the number of repetitions varies from set to set because the goal is to get the maximum volume and number of repetitions—up to the point of fatigue or failure.
There is also a double rest-pause method. (See examples of JM presses and deficit pushups in the video.)
Perform one set of three consecutive rounds to or near failure, with short recovery breaks in between. This is two (hence two) total rest periods of 10-30 seconds. This means three opportunities to get as much work done as possible, while planning short breaks to provide light recovery (while still being heavily fatigued) to complete higher workloads in a very fatigued state.
This is both good for hypertrophy, where you use lighter loads to gain more volume or strength – use heavier loads (85%-95% of 1 RM) to squeeze out More reps you can’t achieve without rest — pauses. Push-ups are great for this method.
You can also use the RP method, setting a target number of repetitions you want to achieve at a certain weight. For example, a triceps stretch with a total of 100 reps. Repeat as many times as you want with the set weight, rest for 20 seconds, and repeat until you’ve completed all 100 repetitions. This is very suitable as a terminator.
The RP method is a great way to get more done quickly, increase work capacity, increase muscle size and build strength. I use it as a supplement or side job during 3-5 week training blocks.