Effect of Traditional, Cluster, and Rest Redistribution Set Configurations on Neuromuscular and Perceptual Responses During Strength-Oriented Resistance Training

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: June 2022 - Volume 36 - Issue 6 - p 1490-1497 doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003658


PURPOSE:

To compare the acute effect of traditional (TR), cluster (CL), and rest redistribution (RR) set configurations on neuromuscular and perceptual measures of fatigue.


PROCEDURES:

31 resistance-trained men randomly performed experimental sessions consisting of the squat (SQ) and bench press (BP) using a 10-RM load using:


- TR @ 3 sets of 6 repetitions + 3:00 rest between sets.

-  CL @ 3 sets of 6 repetitions + :30 rest between each 2 repetitions + 3:00 between the 3 x 6.

-  RR @ 9 sets of 2 repetitions + :45 rest between sets.


CONCLUSIONS:

Barbell velocity difference was significant between each set configurations:

- TR vs. CL = TR slower by 5.09% in SQ and 5.68% in BP.

- TR vs. RR = TR lower by 5.92% in SQ and 2.71% in BP.


All three showed similar declines in:

- Countermovement jump height @ -6.0% to -8.1%.

- Throwing velocity @ -0.6% to -1.2%.

- Ratings of perceived exertion after each set (RPE 1 to 10):

- TR vs. CL = higher in SQ (6.9 ± 0.7 a.u. vs. 6.2 ± 0.8 a.u.) and higher in BP 6.8 ± 0.8 a.u. vs. 6.4 ± 0.7 

   a.u.).

-  TR vs. RR = higher in SQ (6.9 ± 0.7 a.u. vs. 6.2 ± 0.8 a.u.) and higher in BP 6.8 ± 0.8 a.u. vs. 6.4 ± 0.9 

    a.u.).

- Ratings of perceived exertion after each session showed no difference between the set 

   configurations.

- Overall, the CL and RR set configurations allowed for higher velocities and lower RPE values when  

   resistance training sessions were not performed to momentary muscle fatigue (MMF) as is done in 

   the TR set configuration.


IN PLAIN ENGLISH:

As more repetitions are performed consecutively without a rest break, the onset of muscle fatigue increases which naturally slows movement velocity (but continues the recruitment of motor units/fibers). Therefore, a resistance can be moved at a greater velocity relative to (and regardless of) its amount provided repetitions are not completed to the point of MMF.