Short Cluster Cycle

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)' started by simoncar71, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. simoncar71

    simoncar71 New Member

    After 5 standard HST cycles I feel like I need to tinker with my routine to kick start my gains, which seem to have slowed over the last 2 cycles. Do you think this cluster style routine will work???  I will use the barbell curl as my example........
    My 5 rep max for it is 35kg. I want to use 10% increments for this cycle...All my previous cycles were at 5% increments. I will be using 20 reps each time I lift to keep volume constant therefore only the load will change. I will lift as many reps as i can with the weight, have a short rest then go again until I can complete the set 20 reps (never going to concentric faliure though). For example on day one I will lift 15kg for maybe 16reps...stop because i was getting close to concentric briefly and the perform 4 reps to bring me up to my total of 20 reps. My last workout has me lifting 35kg. I may lift 5reps, have to rest, lift 5reps again etc until I reach a total of 20reps. I hope you follow.... Here is my routine for the barbell curl...
    Week 1; 15, 17, 19
    Week 2: 21, 23, 25.5
    week 3: 28.5, 32, 35
    week 4: 35, 35, 35
    7 Days of SD
    , ( the last 3*35kg are my max I will use for one week as I cant do negs.)
    I will be working out Mon, Wed, Fri. I want to try this cycle for 4 weeks then take a 7 day SD. Anyone and everyone is welcome to let me know your thoughts. I would especially love to hear from DKM, O&G, Vicious, Bryan etc....but anyone jump in
  2. About all I can say is try it and see. Let us know how it went and if it improved your gains.
  3. xahrx

    xahrx New Member

    I was thinking of going with a shorter cycle too this time around. Four to Six weeks. You get to use bigger increments which I guess would ensure a greater chance of using a minimally effective load each time, but you only go four weeks or so. Personally though, I wouldn't set the cycle up so the last week is all 35s. If you're going to shorten the cycle that much might as well get weight increases the whole time you can manage to get them. For a smaller muscle like the biceps I don't think a 5% increase is too small.

    There is a way to do negatives by yourself with curls. All you have to do is set the bar up high, pick it up at the top of the movement and then lower it all the way down. You need two sets of stops where you can rest the bar, one high and one low. Then just upright row it from the bottom stop to the top, and do another negative.
  4. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    You can also do the Joe Weider "cheat curls" too. I have used them off and on since 1959! Sway your body back and then get a push off your upper thighs and lean in to get the weight up and then do a slow eccentric lowering.
  5. simoncar71

    simoncar71 New Member

    Lets say I do negs for week 4 at 40kgs, that means in 4 weeks my load has increased 25kgs. for a small muscle like the biceps that is huge......i like it. for the squat I have worked out my 5 rep max at 100kg so in week 1 I will be lifting 40kgs. Thats in increase of 60kg in 4 weeks. I cant wait to try this. Can anyone see any problems with this? I can only see potential for good gains.
  6. xahrx

    xahrx New Member

    The weight increase is definitely good, but the time of the whole cycle is what concerned me. I forget the study but there was one posted on the site somewhere showing gains tend to plateau at around 7 to eight weeks.

    You have two things here that I think are relevant: the weight increase and the overall length of the cycle. In an eight week cycle you're forced to use smaller increments to get a weight increase every workout. This means it's possible that not all workouts are going to have a weight increase that's going to be minimally effective and cause trauma, which is what you need.

    No in the shorter workout because of the bigger increments you're almost guaranteed some damage, but at the end of the cycle you've got three or four more weeks you could have been using to grow.

    What it comes down to is does the guarantee of myotrauma every workout outweight the additional growth you'd get going the extra few weeks with smaller increments. If it does, the shorter cycle would be better. If it doesn't, the longer would be better. Then you also have to factor in that you can get two smaller cycles done in the same time it takes to do one longer cycle. A basic cycle including SD take about ten weeks. The short four week cycle including SD takes 5 weeks. You can fit a 9 day SD in at the end, ending on a Friday, take the following week off, and then start the Monday after. Question is, is 9 days enough of an SD?

    I do like the idea of a shorter cycle though, I'm gonna try it myself and see how it works just for the hell of it. I'm gonna plan two.
  7. simoncar71

    simoncar71 New Member

    xahrx, do you think how long I rest between reps will matter when i'm trying to achieve my 20 reps? Is there anything I need to take into for my first week trying to get minimal rest then as the cycle progresses take more rest? Does my TUT remain the same?
  8. Other than how long your workouts take probably not (within reason of course).
    During the easier weights I wouldn't break in between reps this way you still acheive the metabolic inroad. During the heavier weights you'll notice you have to rest, to keep from failure, more often. This increases the time during the workout but not necessarily the TUT.

    Another item of note and since I haven't tried clustering within a 4 week cycle this might not apply but again it might.
    During a 4 week cycle your increments will be larger than during an 8 week cycle, as noted by xarhx, this means you might have smaller clusters than what is seen in an 8 week cycle because the dramatic increases in progression will lead to faster fatique. So be aware that your overall time in each workout session might increase dramatically and therefore your nutrition may have to be upped a bit.
  9. steini

    steini New Member

    Not necessaryly, you could start at 80% of your 1RM after a 9 days SD, like I did, and add 5% every week.

    Works good too.
  10. simoncar71

    simoncar71 New Member

    Bryan, do you have any thoughts on this routine???
  11. xahrx

    xahrx New Member

    I thought of that, but it didn't seemt he best answer to me. To a large degree the difference between the weight you use at the beginning and end of each HST cycle affects your gains. While I'd admit it's not necessary to start as low as you normally would for a shorter cycle, I wouldn't want to give up the range. I'd rather just SD a bit longer so a lower weight would be effective and keep the range.

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