The Magic of Cluster Sets | T NATION
Cluster sets are sets with built-in, short rest periods of 5-20 or so seconds. They allow for creative manipulation and
combinations of volume and intensity. Yep, that covers it.
Training volume is needed for growth. The amount, however, depends on the individual. Some freak shows seem to
just touch weights and grow. Others (i.e., the rest of us) need more volume and more calories.
Consult materials from any training certification governing body and you’ll find rhetoric about sets of 8-12 with 70-80
percent of one-rep maximum. Volume-wise they’re not far off – 4 sets of 8 supplies 32 reps; 3 sets of 12 gives us 36.
For a big lift that’s trained hard, this is sufficient growth volume. Intensity-wise, however, these protocols are steeply
High-threshold motor units – the ones best suited for hypertrophy – are best recruited at high training intensities,
accompanied by greater motor unit synchronization and greater muscular force. The requisite muscular tension
needed for successfully completing a higher-intensity lift sends the message to the brain to bring out the big guns.
(As always, we return to the nervous system.)
by Todd Bumgardner ()
May 15, 2013
C AT E G O R I Z E D U N D E R
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