JC's Musings

More Mechanical Load

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If mechanical load is such a driver of signalling and tissue remodelling (mechanotransduction), how can we get more load into a session? Previously, I suggested a whole lot of ways we could use the interset rest period to add mechanical stress to your training session e.g. vibration, isometrics, etc. What about ways within the set (intraset) structure? Cluster training provides a great option to increase the mechanical load of a session and we began looking at this in 2003.

A great example of the benefits of bench press cluster training is shown on the slide where we compared the mechanical work associated with a: 4 x 6RM (CON); an intraset rest scheme equated by total rest time, volume, and load (ISRV); and, an intraset rest equated by total rest time and load (ISRR) scheme.

Increasing the frequency of the rest period enabled the subjects to perform a greater number of repetitions (ISRR), resulting in significantly greater kinematics and kinetics i.e. in this example total work increased by 37%. Where and when do you use cluster training?