The current investigation was an examination of the repetition-to-repetition magnitudes and changes in kinetic and kinematic characteristics of the back squat using accentuated eccentric loading (AEL) and cluster sets. Trained male subjects (age = 26.1 ± 4.1 years, height = 183.5 ± 4.3 cm, body mass = 92.5 ± 10.5 kg, back squat to body mass ratio = 1.8 ± 0.3) completed four load condition sessions, each consisting of three sets of five repetitions of either traditionally loaded straight sets (TL), traditionally loaded cluster sets (TLC), AEL cluster sets (AEC), and AEL straight sets where only the initial repetition had eccentric overload (AEL1). Eccentric overload was applied using weight releasers, creating a total eccentric load equivalent to 105% of concentric one repetition maximum (1RM). Concentric load was 80% 1RM for all load conditions. Using straight sets (TL and AEL1) tended to decrease peak power (PP) (d = −1.90 to −0.76), concentric rate of force development (RFDCON) (d = −1.59 to −0.27), and average velocity (MV) (d = −3.91 to −1.29), with moderate decreases in MV using cluster sets (d = −0.81 to −0.62). Greater magnitude eccentric rate of force development (RFDECC) was observed using AEC at repetition three (R3) and five (R5) compared to all load conditions (d = 0.21⁻0.65). Large within-condition changes in RFDECC from repetition one to repetition three (∆REP1⁻3) were present using AEL1 (d = 1.51), demonstrating that RFDECC remained elevated for at least three repetitions despite overload only present on the initial repetition. Overall, cluster sets appear to permit higher magnitude and improved maintenance of concentric outputs throughout a set. Eccentric overload with the loading protocol used in the current study does not appear to potentiate concentric output regardless of set configuration but may cause greater RFDECC compared to traditional loading.
Wagle, J.P., Taber, C.B., Carroll, K.M., Cunanan, A.J., Sams, M.L., Wetmore, A., Bingham, G.E. ... Stone, M.H. (2018). Repetition-to-repetition differences using cluster and accentuated eccentric loading in the back squat. Sports 6(3), 59, 1-10. doi: 10.3390/sports6030059.
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