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Mechanical and Metabolic Responses to Traditional and Cluster Set Configurations in the Bench Press Exercise

García-Ramos, Amador1,2; González-Hernández, Jorge M.3; Baños-Pelegrín, Ezequiel3; Castaño-Zambudio, Adrián3; Capelo-Ramírez, Fernando3; Boullosa, Daniel4,5; Haff, Guy G.6; Jiménez-Reyes, Pedro3

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: October 20, 2017 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002301
Original Research: PDF Only

García-Ramos, A, González-Hernández, JM, Baños-Pelegrín, E, Castaño-Zambudio, A, Capelo-Ramírez, F, Boullosa, D, Haff, GG, and Jiménez-Reyes, P. Mechanical and metabolic responses to traditional and cluster set configurations in the bench press exercise. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000–000, 2017—This study aimed to compare mechanical and metabolic responses between traditional (TR) and cluster (CL) set configurations in the bench press exercise. In a counterbalanced randomized order, 10 men were tested with the following protocols (sets × repetitions [inter-repetition rest]): TR1: 3 × 10 (0-second), TR2: 6 × 5 (0-second), CL5: 3 × 10 (5-second), CL10: 3 × 10 (10-second), and CL15: 3 × 10 (15-second). The number of repetitions (30), interset rest (5 minutes), and resistance applied (10 repetition maximum) were the same for all set configurations. Movement velocity and blood lactate concentration were used to assess the mechanical and metabolic responses, respectively. The comparison of the first and last set of the training session revealed a significant decrease in movement velocity for TR1 (Effect size [ES]: −0.92), CL10 (ES: −0.85), and CL15 (ES: −1.08) (but not for TR2 [ES: −0.38] and CL5 [ES: −0.37]); while blood lactate concentration was significantly increased for TR1 (ES: 1.11), TR2 (ES: 0.90), and CL5 (ES: 1.12) (but not for CL10 [ES: 0.03] and CL15 [ES: −0.43]). Based on velocity loss, set configurations were ranked as follows: TR1 (−39.3 ± 7.3%) > CL5 (−20.2 ± 14.7%) > CL10 (−12.9 ± 4.9%), TR2 (−10.3 ± 5.3%), and CL15 (−10.0 ± 2.3%). The set configurations were ranked as follows based on the lactate concentration: TR1 (7.9 ± 1.1 mmol·L−1) > CL5 (5.8 ± 0.9 mmol·L−1) > TR2 (4.2 ± 0.7 mmol·L−1) > CL10 (3.5 ± 0.4 mmol·L−1) and CL15 (3.4 ± 0.7 mmol·L−1). These results support the use of TR2, CL10, and CL15 for the maintenance of high mechanical outputs, while CL10 and CL15 produce less metabolic stress than TR2.

1Department of Physical Education and Sport, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Granada, Granada, Spain;

2Faculty of Education, Catholic University of the Most Holy Conception, Concepción, Chile;

3Faculty of Sport, Catholic University of San Antonio, Murcia, Spain;

4Post-Graduate Program in Physical Education, Catholic University of Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil;

5Sport and Exercise Science, College of Healthcare Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia; and

6Center for Exercise and Sport Science Research, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia

Address correspondence to Amador García-Ramos,

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