Clustering

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)' started by Robthebod, Feb 27, 2018.

  1. Robthebod

    Robthebod New Member

    I’ve a question I can’t find the specific answer to. Say I’m mid cycle and find that I’m having trouble finishing the last couple of reps on some exercises. Should I start utilizing cluster sets? Is that what cluster sets are for? Would I get the same benefits as completing all the reps in the respective sets?
    Or should I stay at that same load for however many more workouts it takes to complete the prescribed reps within the sets?
    This concerns me because I have the never back down mentality and really dig deep to continue progressing the loads as the system demands.
    I’m now beginning the fives on my 4th complete HST vanilla cycle and some of the loads are getting on up there (and a little scary too). Nearing 300 lbs on Gironda-style neck press and closegrip bench press is a lot for me.
     
  2. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    You may find it better to go for a certain number of total reps with a given exercise rather than total sets. 30 reps is typically a pretty good target with 10's and 15's and 20-25 with 5's. Do as many sets as need be to complete the target reps. That is, in actuality, a form of clustering.

    It might help to understand your primary goal....hypertrophy or strength.
     
  3. Bryan Haycock

    Bryan Haycock Administrator

    I might also recommend that as things get heavy, that you stick with movements that lend themselves to heavier loads. Its the muscle that we're focused on, not the specific exercise.
     
  4. Robthebod

    Robthebod New Member

    Definitely hypertrophy at this point in my life O&G.
    Thanks for the clarification.
    Solid advice Bryan. I’m just a home garage gym trainer with a power rack and no spotter. Even with the rack I’m aware that mishaps can occur. I switched to neck presses after discovering them in an article about Gironda some time back. Plain benching was doing a number on my shoulders as I am a front felt presser. With these, my shoulders are a lot better and I can actually feel them in my upper pecs. But, inherently more dangerous.
     
  5. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    Have you tried face pulls? Great for full shoulder growth, rehab of existing or oncoming injuries and hitting total traps. Also helps eliminate the hunched over or forward-rounded shoulder appearance that heavy bench pressers can develop. Much safer than behind neck presses.
     
  6. Robthebod

    Robthebod New Member

    I have. I incorporated them into a homemade routine for a cycle around a year ago. I dropped them after that routine in order to streamline my next routine with the main emphasis on compounds. I even dropped side and rear laterals and did a cycle or two of military press and then a cycle or two of behind neck presses.
    However, when these two exercises get heavy for the respective trainer using them things get a little awkward. You know what I mean? I do them standing only in order to utilize the full body effect these things give you. It’s like every single muscle fiber is firing and quaking from neck to glutes to toes when you are giving it all to get the load overhead.
    I was already considering dropping heavy overhead presses for my next HST cycle as I feel I need a break from them. I very well may add face pulls instead. Thanks for the suggestion.
    Just to clarify, when I say neck press, also called guillotine press, I am referencing a form of modified bench press advocated by the late Vince Gironda. You probably are familiar O&G, but for those who are not, I’m not going to advocate them as a regular bench press is risky enough.
     
  7. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Yeah I've started utilising clusters in my heavier phases, I like them alot, and think it's quite a smart way to train. Instead of forcing yourself to try and do 5 reps no matter what (which, forcing reps with heavy weights is not the best idea), you simply can cluster smaller sets until you hit the total reps you're aiming for.

    It keeps you really honest with yourself too, if you're feeling only 2 reps in this cluster, just do 2 and don't force a 3rd rep.

    I can't say which is better hypertrophy wise, I would say that higher reps work much better for longer tension times, but when you get to heavy loads full activation occurs from rep 1, and you don't need to do them all sequentially (pretty please correct if I'm wrong here, just a thought really hehe)

    Ps. Also as you're a home trainer and don't have a spotter (I am too), it might be safer this way, as you can cluster according to how you feel you're sets are going and can rerack at any time.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  8. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

  9. Robthebod

    Robthebod New Member

    Thanks guys. I will investigate.
     

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