Accentuated Eccentric Loading and Cluster Set Configurations in the Back Squat: A Kinetic and Kinematic Analysis

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This study examined the kinetic and kinematic differences between accentuated eccentric loading (AEL) and cluster sets in trained male subjects (age = 26.1 ± 4.1 years, height = 183.5 ± 4.3 cm, body mass = 92.5 ± 10.5 kg, and back squat to body mass ratio = 1.8 ± 0.3). Four load condition sessions consisted of traditionally loaded (TL) “straight sets,” TL cluster (TLC) sets, AEL cluster (AEC) sets, and AEL “straight sets” where only the first repetition had eccentric overload (AEL1). An interrepetition rest interval of 30 seconds was prescribed for both TLC and AEC. Concentric intensity for all load conditions was 80% 1 repetition maximum (1RM). Accentuated eccentric loading was applied to repetitions using weight releasers with total eccentric load equivalent to 105% of concentric 1RM. Traditionally loaded cluster had statistically greater concentric outputs than TL. Furthermore, statistically greater eccentric and concentric outputs were observed during AEC compared with TL with the exception of peak power. Statistically greater concentric characteristics were observed in TLC compared with AEL1, but statistically greater eccentric outputs were observed in AEL1. In the 2 cluster set conditions, statistically greater concentric rate of force development (RFDCON) (d = 0.470, p < 0.001) and average velocity (vavg) (d = 0.560, p < 0.001) in TLC compared with AEC were observed. However, statistically greater eccentric work (WECC) (d = 2.096, p < 0.001) and eccentric RFD (RFDECC) (d = 0.424, p < 0.001) were observed in AEC compared with TLC. Overall, eccentric overload demonstrated efficacy as a means of increasing eccentric work and RFD, but not as a means of potentiating concentric output. Finally, interrepetition rest seems to have the largest influence on concentric power output and RFD.