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Popularized in the 1970s by U.S. weightlifting coach Carl Miller, clusters—also known as interset rest periods—break sets of strenuous, strength-spiking lifts into shorter, more manageable bouts. For example, instead of doing five sets of five reps using your five-rep max, you’d split each set into four clusters of two reps, with brief rests in between.
Ultimately, you’ll do more work, but it will seem easier because your body will have time to catch its breath between clusters. Adding them to your routine is a monotony killer when you’re searching for a training method that will jolt your muscles for three to four weeks.
For cluster sets, stick to a five-rep max weight. For regular sets, use weight that causes you to fail one to two reps shy of the designated number.