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Honest Effort

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello @North Coast Miller

Thank you for answer ! :)

So, would 3 clusters per movement pattern, followed by a drop set, 3x a week, be a good solution for strength
? I plan to do cardio (trail, ruck) on alternate day

Thanks again !

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello @North Coast Miller

Thank you for answer ! :)

So, would 3 clusters per movement pattern, followed by a drop set, 3x a week, be a good solution for strength
? I plan to do cardio (trail, ruck) on alternate day

Thanks again !

Kind regards,

Pet'

There is a minimum that would be in that ballpark but need to be experimented with to be good.

I used them in a group of two Clusters, with a lead in straight set moderate load to get things fizzing.

For strength increase I would use at least one Cluster with your heaviest 4-5 rep max load done for 2 repeats with fast movement speed, nowhere near failure. Then the second Cluster run for 3-4 repeats (with or without a dropset). You might find the dropset unnecessary just for strength, I normally include them more for hypertrophy and hormonal response (T and GH).

For strength, that added middle set is important and can be done even with single reps of your 2-3 rep max. I don't think multiple Clusters done with the higher intensity and fatigue are a good idea though. This is similar to my approach using straight sets with a last set dropset or rest/pause, the middle set is my heaviest weight, few reps, high movement speed. Think of the middle set as the "highest tension" component, the last set is still high tension but more of a grind + metabolic stress. For me this approach leads to fairly long periods of apparent stalling followed by sudden jumps in strength. The middle set takes a lot out of the last set, so progress tends to appear slow due to trying to increase power output on the high tension set. And then one day the middle set needs more reps, more weight "I'm not slowing down where I did last week".

Keep in mind Clusters are a high intensity approach and will need deload every few weeks, which can be as easy as chopping the last set or just using straight sets with RPE 6-7.

In my case I auto regulated them very subjectively by doing reps till my rep speed slowed even with intent to move rapidly. In practice this is pretty reliably about 1/2 to 3/5 rep max for a given load. By using rep speed one can adopt this approach to higher rep ranges for lightly loaded or bodyweight exercises, but that is a ton of volume and way outside the normal use of Clusters.
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello @North Coast Miller

Thank you very much for your time and all the details ! I am writting my routine on paper (I am kind of old school for some things).

I do not have access to plates or scalable weights. Do clusters and drop sets also work with calisthenics (or weighted calisthenics to a certain extent) even if this is less convenient and accurate ?

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello @North Coast Miller

Thank you very much for your time and all the details ! I am writting my routine on paper (I am kind of old school for some things).

I do not have access to plates or scalable weights. Do clusters and drop sets also work with calisthenics (or weighted calisthenics to a certain extent) even if this is less convenient and accurate ?

Kind regards,

Pet'
Clusters do, dropsets can by dropping whatever load is associated with the exercise. The rep counts can get pretty high but that is common to a lot of calisthenics.

I would still use them the same, the initial set is run till rep speed drops and that's the rep count for follow on repeats.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Today's lineup:

- Zercher DL
- rear pull (cross country ski poling)
- lateral raise
- lunge hold, direction of force inward

15:45 work rest x 5 repeats per, followed by two jumprope "max effort" mini HIIT same ratio 15:45.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Beginning to dial in the targets here. Principles remain the same once the clutter is cleared away:

- intent to produce the fastest possible force production. The literature describes best results from a "ballistic effort"

- use of stronger muscle groups to overload weaker ones. This cannot really be applied to Squat and DL. For those I keep tweaking the load to floor distance to recruit the best blend of motor units.

- attempt to "hold" tension on inhale and increase it on exhale

- when possible train muscles at longer length to gain better strength increase through the entire ROM

- use of fast, blood flow encouraging movements between exercise selection

12:35 work to rest. Shortened the time from 15 as I was holding a Valsalva too long on the last breath and that's a no-no for borderline hypertensives like myself.

5 "sets" of each exercise with two intervals of max effort jumprope between exercises.

Today's line-up:
- Squat
- Pec crossing (upward diagonal) from a DL posture
- high pull, bilateral from a DL posture
- Lunge, force out, done in a doorway
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
This is what today's session looked like. Really jelling now. Took a few days off after the weekend, did a bit of hiking with some unexpectedly harsh elevation changes carrying 80lb pack.

Zercher DL:


Crossover row:


Anterior delt/ upper pec:


lunge, force directed in - emphasis on lead hamstring:


Hammer curl:


the widget, 12 foot cargo strap with the hooks cut off and 3/4 inch rope handles added, a 2x3 foot plywood board with circular cutouts for the strap, a 2 inch x 4 foot dowel from home depot:
cQAp6Tr.jpg
 
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North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Today's session. I'd like to think I'm on to something - my warmup left me pretty pumped, that's not the usual. Looking to slowly add back some weight, gunning for a lean 198-200 by spring. 8-10lbs done using Iso as a primary resistance. In my searching that would be a damn impressive and uncommon feat for this type of isometric program.

Squat:

Pec crossover:

High pull:

Lunge out:

triceps extension:

progress pic (need to put weight back on):
jleSjYim.jpg
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Nice!! @North Coast Miller are you following a specific program? or just planning day by day?

Your hypertrophy results are always pretty remarkable!

Currently I'm feeling it out a little as I go to get it fine tuned. Jumping modes like this means some of the TUT , recovery needs, things like that are sort of a mystery, but not completely. There really isn't a lot out there for iso programming like this - a lot of it recommend stuff that I personally don't - long, long duration holds, submax efforts, single exertions, dynamic resistance (where you're straining two somewhat equal muscle groups against each other). But I'm not a complete stranger to any of it and have a lot of my own ideas re best practices for given goals. For the amount of clinical research on Iso (a virtual treasure trove!), there are remarkably few "programs" for it aside from street gymnastic stuff. A big part of this is the lack of standardized training gear.

I always begin with a very basic DeLorme inspired push/pull/hinge/squat with abs and bi/tri as icing on the cake. Doesn't matter what mode I'm using. The approach I've settled on currently is a product of mulling over research, my past results, chewing on other approaches I've dabbled with and what I suspected might be a better way. So far the only thing I might change as I get dialed in is chopping off the 5th exertion if it isn't needed - keeping it for now.

After all these years of training I've managed to keep my physique and strength pinned at a pretty good baseline level and have just been trying different approaches to see what the effect is. If I see I'm going down an ineffective alley, I'll fall back on something I know works and cut the experiment short.

I'm coming off about a 12-16 week (have to check my logs) block of heavy sandbag Clusters and really needed to change gears. I put on good mass and managed to equal my working loads of 2 years ago when I was over 10 lbs heavier, but was starting to feel a little beat-up.

The interesting thing about that "progress pic" I took right after training, if I waited till this afternoon I'd look bigger. My t-shirt was absolutely soaked and I'd lost about 2lbs water weight with no "pump". Isometrics are like that, everything is delayed. I'm really going to take a deep dive this time, the new training gear, simple as it is, is so much more effective than anything I've used before for isometric-only training. I'm stoked!
 
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North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

Leonidas is among us !

Usually, how much time do you dedicate to training ?

Kind regards,

Pet'
Not enough!
I'm supposed to hit 4x week minimum for about 30-40 minutes plus a 5th session of HIIT, agility footwork, or a loaded metcon of some sort. Have been short of training time for about a year now. I average 3x week for about 30-40 minutes per - the bare minimum in my book.
 

Eyetic

Level 5 Valued Member
I just want to be like you when I grow up!! Publish your detailed program when you feel confortable about it!!

I was also considering buying a sandbag, any reccomendations? I travel a lot and it would be easier for me carry around empty sandbags and filling then in the different sites than carrying around kbs :)
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
I just want to be like you when I grow up!! Publish your detailed program when you feel confortable about it!!

I was also considering buying a sandbag, any reccomendations? I travel a lot and it would be easier for me carry around empty sandbags and filling then in the different sites than carrying around kbs :)

I use RepFitness, they're the best of the cheaper end bags. GoRuck is reputed to make the best overall bags.

Here is a write up of the current "program", used with the exercise pics I linked. Its real simple, but not easy. Whole body Isometrics are kind of like meditating - you read and read and at some point you just have to do it, no matter how alien it feels at first.

My approach this block is based on a few common principles:

- initial effort should generate force as quickly as possible - don't ease into it.

- muscles should be trained at the longest length possible that still allows for good contraction force and includes the muscles you're targeting. This is very important as it improves strength across the entire ROM. Some compound movements require a little tweaking to get the posture right as the various muscle groups do not contribute equally throughout. Train at the longest muscle length you can manage that you feel activates the target muscle(s) sufficiently.

- use of stronger muscle groups to overload weaker or leverage disadvantaged ones. This cannot really be applied to Squat and DL. For those I keep tweaking the load to floor distance to recruit the best blend of motor units. Upper body movements are used in a DL or squat posture, using those movement patterns to overload the upper body muscles I'm working on.

- use of fast, blood flow encouraging movements between exercise selection, this can be sprinting in place or jumping rope as fast as possible with high knees.

- attempt to "hold" tension on inhale and increase it on exhale. The use of long hold Valsalva is not a good idea esp for hypertensive or pre-hypertensive such as yours truly. Generate some back pressure but keep the air moving.

12 seconds on (three exhales under load), 35 seconds off. The 1st exhale is a jolt, as hard as possible, 2nd exhale attempt to increase force to max, 3rd exhale use lower body to force the working joint open or to simply increase tension. This is a great way to keep one honest and "recalibrate" effort on the fly.

EG, crossover row begins from a partial DL posture, attempt to hinge up under tension - the hinge can easily overload the row, so either drive hard enough to create a slight eccentric or just enough force to keep the effort honest. When training lower body just try to keep increasing tension. Doing this from a low squat or stretched DL improves movement patterns and you'll really feel it in the quads and glutes.

Every movement gets hit with 5 work intervals followed by 2 jumprope/sprint intervals. I have two workouts that get alternated 4 times per week.
 

Mirek

Level 6 Valued Member
Simple as it is, I love it, best rig I've come up with and its quick and easy to change from one exercise to another!
If you would care about press iso, Ive had a nice experience with pushing against door frame, esp for the initial phase of press.
This obviously depends on your height vs. height of the doorframe.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
If you would care about press iso, Ive had a nice experience with pushing against door frame, esp for the initial phase of press.
This obviously depends on your height vs. height of the doorframe.
I'm planning on switching from 12 foot strap to a 16 so I have more options at longer length. I did try it with the dowel behind the neck from a half squat and almost soiled myself ? , didn't feel like I was really hitting anything directly but my traps and my bowels! Am definitely going to take another look at it from a 1/4 squat, something where I'll have more leverage. I want to have the bar at about the first 1/3 of the pressing ROM - it won't be fun...

One thing I'm still playing with is leaning in a way that increases tension. You can maybe see it in the pec crossover pic, I'm leaning forward pretty good, which really slams the tension even before you start to drive with the legs.
 

Eyetic

Level 5 Valued Member
I use RepFitness, they're the best of the cheaper end bags. GoRuck is reputed to make the best overall bags.

Here is a write up of the current "program", used with the exercise pics I linked. Its real simple, but not easy. Whole body Isometrics are kind of like meditating - you read and read and at some point you just have to do it, no matter how alien it feels at first.
Damn RepFitness don't ship internationally and its pretty cheap that 125-200 lbs sandbag compared with the one from Goruck...I'll keep looking on amazon at the moment are all under the 100 lbs.

I did read your previous post wich is kind of interesting...soooo my journey to learn more about it begins!! interesting names like Brucee Lee or Dennis Rogers appeared..
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Damn RepFitness don't ship internationally and its pretty cheap that 125-200 lbs sandbag compared with the one from Goruck...I'll keep looking on amazon at the moment are all under the 100 lbs.

I did read your previous post wich is kind of interesting...soooo my journey to learn more about it begins!! interesting names like Brucee Lee or Dennis Rogers appeared..
If you're UK or AU, Dingo has a great rep, mfg in Australia. To be honest almost any commercial bag is going to be OK. Get an automatic awl for repairs and go with whatever is available. Get a little heavier than you think you need.

Yeah man, the world of isometrics is strange. Lots of talk but not many specifics aside from single use and rehab type stuff. Again, largely due to lack of standardized gear. A lot of what's there is presented as a "for instance" or a "who's who", and aside from research literature not a lot of cause and effect.

This is great study, lots of other work is referenced:

And this one, less info but very interesting (TL;DR - training Iso in a contracted/shortened state is largely a waste of time - stretch that muscle!) :
 
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