What Is A CrossFit Cluster

CrossFit and high-intensity functional training is comprised of an innumerable amount of constantly varied movements, incorporating different types of workouts, intervals, intensities, and formats with or without active rest periods. One of the reasons why this type of training protocol is so challenging, is due to the number of movements and training volume. The CrossFit Cluster is a compound movement which combines the CrossFit Thruster and Squat Clean.  We’re going to talk about how to perform a CrossFit Cluster, the benefits and why you should be including them into your workout.

What Is A CrossFit Cluster 

According to CrossFit legend Matt Chan, a CrossFit Cluster is a slight variation of the CrossFit Thruster. A cluster essentially places two complex exercises together. For example, a squat clean into a thruster, creates a CrossFit Cluster. This is what’s known as a classic CrossFit movement and can be typically found in most programming methods.

What Is A CrossFit Cluster Workout

Classic CrossFit movements, such as HSPU, squat cleans, thrusters, and other Olympic movements such as overhead snatch are popular exercises in most programming methodologies. Clusters can help improve endurance capacity, especially when they are a staple movement incorporated in your programming.

A cluster can be broken down into several mini-sets, with short intra-set rest periods between each set of reps. The weight is re-racked or put down during these short rest periods, allowing a brief period to reset, before starting another mini-set, to finish the entire workout.

For example, let’s say your programming for the day includes 10 reps of CrossFit Clusters for time. Pacing is crucial to efficiently get through each set without burning out. Therefore, you could perform 3-4 reps, re-rack the weight, rest for 20-30 seconds, grab the weight and complete 3-4 more reps, three separate times to complete a set of 10, dependent upon your program specificity and level of endurance.

Typically, CrossFit Clusters are well suited for barbell exercises. Clusters can include several other exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, bent over row, push press, overhead press as well as Olympic lifts like the snatch and the clean and jerk. Other training implements such as dumbbells and kettlebells can also be used as opposed to a barbell. 

What Are The Benefits Of CrossFit Clusters 

1. Improved Training And Endurance Capacity

Typically, thrusters and squat clean are programmed in competition, therefore, performing these movements as essentially a combined superset, will improve muscular endurance in all three exercises.

Corresponding evidence now suggests that total training volume is the main facilitator of endurance capacity and muscle growth. The more training volume, the better your endurance capacity will become.  

2. Strength

Cluster workouts combine an Olympic lifting movement, the squat clean, which is a compound exercise, with a thruster.  Compound movements are multi-jointed, which require more than one muscle group to be used throughout an exercise. Common compound movements such as squatsdeadlifts, and push press can improve mobility, strength, and functionality. Function translates to purpose, therefore, functional training and compound movements have a specific purpose of movement. These types of exercises, mimic specific movement patterns used for everyday activities such as hip rotation, muscle stabilizers, flexor muscles, and ensure your joints are moving through a full range of motion. With the correct form, incorporating the CrossFit Cluster in your workouts will improve strength.

3. Reduced Body Fat 

Of course, with any high-volume training, you will inevitably experience a loss in body fat and achieve optimal body composition. Nutrition is the corner stone of physique, however lifting higher total volume with resistance will lead to caloric deficit and fat loss overtime.

CrossFit Cluster: Takeaway

CrossFit Clusters are a great way to program more training volume in a condensed period of time. Clusters are considered a compound movement, which are multi-jointed, and stimulate multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Programming clusters in your workout will build more strength, muscular endurance, and get you ready and prepped for the competition floor. 

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