Scramblers, We all want to be more powerful and there are many methods to acquire improved rate of force development, I have mentioned in the past approaches like french contrast this method how ever is hard! And to be honest is a method best used with stronger and upper intermediate athletes. Drop off in movement due to fatigue becomes increasingly problematic as sets and reps progress. Borrowing from Cal Dietz and Dennis Adsit I started to apply High Velocity Potentiation Clusters to my athletes for peaking and power improvement purposes.
“High Velocity Potentiation Clusters. These High Velocity Potentiation Clusters typically involve a single, high velocity rep of an exercise in the below 80% 1RM range, followed immediately by an unweighted, max effort plyometric that mimics the same movement. After resting for 15-20 seconds the pair of exercises is repeated for between six and eight reps.”
The theory is that loading a movement prior to an explosive activity has an excitory effect on the nervous system and increases motor unit recruitment in a phenomenon know as PAP (post activation potentiation). Clusters allow for some ATP-CP recovery which allows athletes to perform more reps with great speed and quality at sub maximal loads.
Potentiation clusters are best used with compound movements such as power clean, snatch, high pull, front/back squat, hex bar deadlift. Below are a few examples of potentiation clusters in action.
Power based potentiation Back Squat Clusters
Peaking based potentiation Back Squat Clusters
Snatch High Pull Sled high Pull (with scramble grip trainers) Cluster
I generally use clusters after heavy lifting cycles, it allows athletes to tap into all that latent power and apply all that hard earned strength in an athletic fashion. I generally load my athletes between 60-75% of their max on back squat for power work and between 35-60% for peaking. What you use depends on the athletes level of development and what their strength base it like.
This is an ongoing series of articles from guest blogger and Strength & Conditioning coach William Wayland of Powering Through, who works with UFC, Cagewarriors and other high level combat athletes based in Chelmsford, UK.