What is a cluster and why should you care?

Today’s Skill piece is a Power Clean Cluster 1.1.1.

A cluster isn’t a complete rest between reps but it isn’t a “touch-n-go” either. It falls somewhere in the middle.
What this means is the athlete will complete a heavy power clean, rest 3-10sec and repeat 3x. If an athlete completes the set we ask them to go up in load. Missing sets is encouraged. It means the athlete has met their full potential that day.

Here’s why we like clusters:

1) The little rest between reps provides just enough recovery to remain explosive and technically sound on each rep. It provides a great chance to make the lift than if they were trying to complete all 3 reps in a row.

2) It gives the athletes time to provide positive self-talk to themselves on ONE thing they need to focus on before completing next rep. “Be fast”, “Punch your elbows harder”, “Get under the bar”. Teaching the athlete how to talk to themselves is a skill in itself.

3) It allows the coach to provide instant feedback between reps. Most often than not in conditioning pieces, coaches are yelling out cues but the athlete isn’t listening, they are surviving. That isn’t the case in a cluster.

4) It allows you to go heavier than normal. These clusters aren’t a 1-rep max but they are higher than your 3-rep max. These sets teach athletes the feeling of moving 80% or higher of their 1RM max over and over again. This is the most common variable of all elite athletes. It’s bear strong.

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