The volume, cluster and strength system is structured in 9 week cycles. There are 3 separate blocks of training, with each block lasting 3 weeks in duration.
Each VCS block (volume, cluster, strength block) for major body parts is comprised of 3 different exercises. During a given block you will be performing volume work for one exercise, cluster sets for a second exercise, and strength work for a third movement.
The strength movement leads off each training session, followed by volume work and finally cluster sets. Here is the structure of each 3 week back training block:
- Strength - Deadlifts
- Volume - Dumbbell Rows
- Cluster - Pull Ups
- Strength - Barbell Rows
- Volume - Lat Pull Downs
- Cluster - Deadlifts
- Strength - Inverted Rows
- Volume - Low Rack Pull & Power Shrug Combo
- Cluster - Seated Cable Rows
Rest. Rest 3 minutes between strength sets, 2 minutes between volume sets and one minute between cluster sets. Understand that these rest times are merely guidelines, and not rules. Try to stick close close to these guidelines when possible.
VCS 3 Stage Back Workout
|Lat Pull Downs||5||10|
|Low Rack Pull and Power Shrug Combo||5||10|
|Seated Cable Rows||8||6|
Strength Deadlifts. Use a weight that you could normally perform 5 reps with.
Pull Up Clusters. If pull ups are easy for you, add some weight via a vest or pull up/dip belt. If you struggle with pull ups, use inverted rows instead for these cluster sets.
Strength Barbell Rows. Use a weight that you could normally perform 8 reps with.
Cluster Deadlifts. These can be brutal. Use a weight that you could normally perform 9-10 reps with.
Strength Inverted Rows. Be careful with this exercise. You will need to place a dumbbell or a 25-45 pound plate in the crook of your waist or on your thighs. Your hips need to remain below your feet as you pull up, so elevate them properly.
Low Rack Pull & Power Shrug Combo. Place a barbell in a power/squat rack about 2-3 inches below the bottom of your knee cap. Using straps, grab the bar with a double overhand grip. Lift the barbell up, starting with a powerful deadlift and finishing with an explosive power shrug. Set the weight back on the catch pins in between each rep for a split second.
Seated Cable Rows. If you do not have access to this machine, you can swap in barbell rows, T-Bar rows or Hammer Strength rows.