To compare the effects of a traditional set structure and 2 cluster set structures on force, velocity, and power during back squats in strength-trained men.
Twelve men (25.8 ± 5.1 y, 1.74 ± 0.07 m, 79.3 ± 8.2 kg) performed 3 sets of 12 repetitions at 60% of 1-repetition maximum using 3 different set structures: traditional sets (TS), cluster sets of 4 (CS4), and cluster sets of 2 (CS2).
When averaged across all repetitions, peak velocity (PV), mean velocity (MV), peak power (PP), and mean power (MP) were greater in CS2 and CS4 than in TS (P < .01), with CS2 also resulting in greater values than CS4 (P < .02). When examining individual sets within each set structure, PV, MV, PP, and MP decreased during the course of TS (effect sizes 0.28–0.99), whereas no decreases were noted during CS2 (effect sizes 0.00–0.13) or CS4 (effect sizes 0.00–0.29).
These results demonstrate that CS structures maintain velocity and power, whereas TS structures do not. Furthermore, increasing the frequency of intraset rest intervals in CS structures maximizes this effect and should be used if maximal velocity is to be maintained during training.
Tufano, Conlon, Nimphius, Seitz, Williamson, and Haff are with Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, WA, Australia. Brown is with the Center for Sport Performance, California State University, Fullerton, CA.