Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Training Terminology

Two more training terms.

Both terms today are ways to make your training more intense.

Supersets are two exercises done back-to-back. They may be opposing exercises (bench presses and bent-over-rows), overlapping exercises (cable rows and pullups), or unrelated exercises (reverse hypers and dumbbell rows). They may be done with full rest or no rest.

For example, here is a superset with full rest:
Set 1 Bench Press
60 seconds rest
Set 1 Bent-over-rows
60 seconds rest
Set 2 Bench Press
and so on until all sets are complete.

With no rest, it would be
Set 1 Bench Press
Set 2 Bent-over-rows
60 seconds rest
Set 2 Bench Press
and so on until all sets are complete.

Supersets allow you to either compress your workout - giving your body less rest but your muscles more rest - or make it more intense - giving your muscles more work, but with different movements. You can see in the full rest example that you really get only 60 seconds between exercises, but 120 seconds between bench presses. Supersets can be done with any rep range. If you superset three exercises together, it's called a triset. Four, and it's a giant set. Beyond that, it's probably a circuit, not any kind of superset.

Cluster Sets are a way to compress more work at a given rep range into a shorter time period. A cluster is a set of multiple groups of low reps of a given weight, with rest period in between. The weight is chosen to be lower than the rep range would normally allow, but more reps are done with less rest, resulting in more work done in a given time. For example, a cluster of Shoulder Presses could be done with your 5RM (5 rep maximum) weight. Instead of 5 reps, you might do (4x2, 10s) - meaning 4 groups of 2 reps, with 10 seconds of rest between groups. Instead of doing your 5 rep maximum weight for 5 reps over the course of about 15 seconds and then resting, you'll get in 8 reps over about 45-55 seconds of time. Each group is easier (2 reps at your 5RM weight) but the cluster forces you to do more reps over a shorter space of time than you normally could.

For more on cluster sets, see this article by Eric Cressey.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Amazon Ads