T Nation

5/3/1 Template with Clusters/Density Training?

Hello coach and fellow lifters.I am just about to come off a SSL block, went pretty well, with a bit of a struggle at my bench,although I double checked my TM.
I tend to over-analyze things, and I like to read about new ways to improve.Recently I have been reading plenty of articles about Cluster sets/EDT( [Escalating Density Training).
I am wondering if there is a way to incorporate those 2 methods within the boundaries of 5/3/1.I am thinking of turning my last main set to a cluster at a RPE 8-9, and perhaps turn my supplemental work to density sets,with a 6 or 10 RM weight done as 3 or 5 rep sets, with a timer set at 10 mins, and try to beat that PR every week.Minimal assistance work done.
Perhaps it could work as an anchor?
Coach, would you recommend such an approach?I would really like to listen to your opinion.
Feel free to comment fellas, thanks in advance.

I don’t really know/heard of things like this - sounds like shit we’ve done in the past but we never had a name for it. That’s how most things are in the fitness industry.

You are free to experiment as you see fit and make a note/record of it in your training log. If you follow principles, everything works. If you follow trends, you are part of the problem.

Thank you coach.By cluster sets i mean sets with built-in, intraset rest periods, 10 to 30 secs,and spread the reps , like 2/2/2 with a 5 RM weight, thus allow more reps with that weight.
I’ll start a new cycle in 3 weeks, and turn my last main set to a cluster, 3/5/1 , 1st and 3rd week, plus a FSL weight for 5 reps, rest for 30secs to 1 min, and try and get 40 reps within 10 mins.Then next workout I’ll be trying to beat the previous PR, making sure I don’t hit failure at any point.
Minimal assistance-10/20 reps pull/push.
If it goes well, I’ll report back after a full cycle-perhaps I’m into something good here.

2 Likes

If you decide to do this, I’d suggest starting a training log here. I’m sure others would be interested in following along with this experiment.

1 Like

Either that, or a review when Im done with the cycle, good idea.

I was intrigued with Coach Tibaudeau’s recent article on cluster sets.

I’m currently doing 5/3/1, and I’m mostly making good progress, and not looking to change anything in my current program.

That said…

I’d be really interested in hearing your results with trying something like this.

Maybe just do your main 5/3/1 barbell lifts and PR set as normal, and then do cluster sets as your supplemental program (instead of BBB or FSL). Then whatever assistance…density sets in assistance, maybe?

Just a thought, I’m not a coach, and I have no idea how well it would work. But do come back and let us know how well it works for you.

My thoughts are, if you are intrigued by clusters and density training, then use a program or method by CT that is specifically made for using these methods. You can always go back to 531 when you finish. Every program you do doesn’t need to incorporate every strategy or movement, and it’s good to mix it up and try other approaches.

1 Like

If you’re interested in this kind of thing, you might be interested in the “Rule of #” schemes from (I think) Beyond

Mixing clusters and 5/3/1 will prob lead to burnout/hitting a big plateau.

Krypteia template is could be viewed as a form of density training and well worth a try

That’s what I was thinking as well. Rule of 50 looks pretty close to what OP is trying to achieve on down-sets

I’ll have a look, it’s been long since I’ve read Beyond, cheers.
EDIT: INDEED, that is pretty close! Coach Wendler even mentions EDT in the book.I like the weight periodization too. Only thing I’ll change is my last main set to a cluster, something like 1st week 2x3, last set 2/2/1 reps, second week 2x5, last set 3/2/1 reps, third week 5/3/1, last set as 1/1/1//1.Minimal assistance to avoid a burnout.Probably 4th week deload, then another 3 week cycle, test TM, and plan an anchor.I 'll figure it out soon, than I plan to post a full review.