Many fitness enthusiasts think that what does not hurt cannot grow and, of course, train to muscle failure for increased strength and hypertrophy. The fitness professor explains why you can put the weight down within a set and the advantages of keyword: “cluster” training.
Do you train to the point of muscle exhaustion – without losing weight between repetitions of a set – because you believe that hypertrophy (muscle gain) can only be achieved with muscles that are kept under constant tension? If so, this text will teach you better.
“Continuous Tension” – The Principle Of Continuous Tension
According to the good old principle of “continuous tension,” we should have permanent tension on the muscle during training for maximum power and strength growth. In no case should you drop the weight between repetitions! This principle has been preached in fitness clubs for decades. However, studies should lead us to renounce this type of exercise. The so-called “cluster” training contradicts the “continuous tension” principle 100 percent – and promises surprisingly good results.
What Is Meant By “Cluster” Training?
In strength training, “cluster” training is the division of strength within a set. This means that the settings are not – as is otherwise recommended – trained in one piece until the muscles are exhausted. The number of repetitions of a group is clustered (divided into tiny “heaps”).
So you could only do 2 or 3 repetitions at a time, leave a short break (5-10 seconds) and continue directly with another 1, 2 or 3 repetitions until you have reached either the desired number of repetitions or complete muscular and central nervous fatigue.
Dropping Weight Between Repetitions – Current Studies
Studies show quite clearly that both an increase in strength and an increase in muscles (hypertrophy) can be observed with this type of training. And not only for bloody beginners – for whom a shovel in hand and a pile of earth to shovel away would probably lead to an increase in strength – but, surprisingly, also for very advanced athletes.
Why Breaks Increase Strength Enormously
Why this type of training increases strength enormously is obvious. Owing to the frequent breaks and the short exercise times, you can do more repetitions with high weight. Ergo the power also grows. A professional weightlifter would never keep the dumbbell in hand just so as not to lose muscle tension.
It is not entirely clear why “cluster” training also provides more muscle mass. There are several hypotheses here. One would be, for example, that the recurring, high intensities within a set (related to the scene) result in a longer “time under tension” (i.e. tension time) on the muscle.
Another hypothesis would be – and this is probably true very often and also with other techniques – that one sets a new stimulus with this type of training. This phenomenon is also known internationally as the “Novelty Effect,” which reminds us that we should never train in one way for too long.
Give it a try. For example, take a weight that you can generally manage eight times and do 15 reps. Of course, this is only possible if you incorporate a short break after every or every second repetition. “Clustering” definitely feels different and will likely get you moving as well.
Also Read: 7 Surprising Things That Burn Calories