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What Are Clusters In Crossfit?

CrossFit has become a popular sport with over 11,481 affiliated gyms worldwide. It involves competitions, such as the CrossFit Games, where athletes from around the world participate. These competitions test athletes’ fitness in various aspects, and the workouts are often kept secret until the last minute.

In CrossFit, the goal is to develop a wide range of abilities, including strength, endurance, and mixed modal performance. Training involves a combination of strength and endurance exercises, and it’s important to optimize the training process to maximize performance and avoid negative effects.

If you do CrossFit often, you might have heard about a specific exercise called a cluster. The cluster exercise is demanding and requires strength, power, and endurance. It’s popular in CrossFit because it tests an athlete’s overall fitness and strength. The cluster is great for developing full-body strength and power because it involves many muscles and movements.

It’s important to do the cluster exercise with proper form and technique because it can be tough on the body. Having correct form and technique is crucial when performing the cluster exercise as it can be challenging for the body. We are going to outline the advantages of the CrossFit cluster and provide guidance on how to execute it safely and efficiently. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced CrossFit enthusiast, mastering the proper technique for the cluster can enhance your overall fitness level.

What Is A CrossFit Cluster?

Cluster in CrossFit is when you combine two exercises, the clean and the thruster, into one. It’s a compound exercise that works your entire body. Clusters are often included in CrossFit workouts to challenge you and push your limits.

What Are Clusters In Crossfit?

To perform a cluster, you start by lifting the barbell from the ground and bringing it to your hip height. Then, you catch the bar in the front rack position while squatting down. After that, you stand up by extending your knees and drive the bar overhead, locking out your elbows. You then return the bar to the front rack position before repeating the movement.

In contrast to the thruster, where you go straight into a squat after catching the bar, the cluster requires you to return the bar to the floor with each rep. This makes the cluster more demanding than just doing thrusters.

It’s important to maintain proper form while doing the cluster exercise to prevent unnecessary strain on your lower back. One common mistake to avoid is lifting with a rounded back.

The CrossFit Clusters: Step-By-Step Guide

Ready to tackle the CrossFit cluster like a pro? Here are the simple steps to follow when doing the cluster exercise:

  1. Get Set: Place the barbell against your shins and stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Get a Good Grip: Hold the bar with a shoulder-width grip and make sure your hip crease is lower than your knee crease. This will engage your quad muscles right from the start.
  3. Keep Your Chest Open: Keep your chest up and look straight ahead as you reach the bottom of the lift. Stay focused!
  4. Pull with Power: Use your midfoot to drive the barbell up to hip level, keeping it close to your body. As the bar crosses your knees, pick up the pace and extend your knees to a standing position.
  5. Hip Contact and Momentum: Make contact with your hips, then lean back slightly to generate momentum. Shift your weight onto your heels and pull the bar toward your shoulders.
  6. Swift Transition: Now, in one fluid motion, jump your feet wide and catch the bar in the front rack position as you go into a squat. Keep it smooth!
  7. Explode Upwards: Drive through your midfoot explosively to rise out of the squat position. Feel the power surge!
  8. Press with Strength: As you reach the top of the movement, press the bar overhead with determination. Move your head through your arms to lock out the lift.
  9. Return to Front Rack: Lower the bar back to the front rack position with control. Keep it steady!
  10. Repeat and Rock It: You’ve got the hang of it! Keep repeating the steps, maintaining proper form, and conquer the cluster exercise. You’ve got this!
What Are Clusters In Crossfit?

By following these steps and staying committed to proper technique, you’ll be able to master the CrossFit cluster and reap its benefits in your fitness journey. Keep pushing yourself and enjoy the progress you make!

Muscles Engaged in the CrossFit Cluster Exercise

The cluster exercise engages a wide range of muscles throughout your body. Here’s a breakdown of the major muscles involved:

  • Back: The muscles in your back are activated when you lift the barbell off the floor, explode upwards, and during the catch position.
  • Glutes: Your glute muscles are engaged in lifting the barbell off the floor, exploding upwards, and settling into the catch position.
  • Hamstrings: The hamstrings play a role in lifting the barbell off the floor and are activated during the catch position and squat phase.
  • Quads: Your quadriceps muscles are used when lifting the barbell off the floor, exploding upwards, and during the squat part of the movement.
  • Core: Your core muscles, including the abdominal and lower back muscles, remain engaged throughout the entire exercise to provide stability and support.
  • Shoulders: The shoulder muscles are activated when lifting the barbell off the floor and pressing it overhead.
  • Triceps: Your triceps muscles are involved in the pressing phase when you lift the barbell overhead.

In summary, the cluster exercise targets and works almost all major muscle groups, including the back, glutes, hamstrings, quads, core, shoulders, and triceps.

Benefits Of CrossFit Cluster

Including the CrossFit cluster in your training routine has several benefits. Here’s why it’s a good idea:

What Are Clusters In Crossfit?
  1. Challenging and Fun: The cluster exercise adds excitement and satisfaction to your CrossFit workout.
  2. Improve Strength and Power: Performing the clean and thruster movements together engages multiple muscles and boosts overall strength and power. The clean works your legs and hips, while the thruster targets your upper body.
  3. Better Endurance: The cluster exercise is intense and continuous, raising your heart rate and improving cardiovascular endurance. It can also benefit individuals with obesity by enhancing overall health markers.
  4. Mental Toughness: The cluster exercise requires focus, determination, and maintaining proper form during repetitions. It helps develop mental resilience and improves overall performance.

So, the CrossFit cluster brings enjoyable challenges to your workout routine. It enhances strength, power, endurance, and mental toughness.

Tips For Performing The CrossFit Cluster Exercise

Here are some easy-to-understand tips to help you perform the CrossFit cluster exercise correctly and effectively:

  1. Focus on your form: Maintain a straight back, engage your core, and lift the barbell by pushing through your heels. This will help you lift more weight safely and prevent injuries.
  2. Choose the right weight: Start with a weight that challenges you but isn’t too heavy. Gradually increase the weight as you become stronger and more comfortable with the exercise.
  3. Pay attention to your breathing: Take a deep breath before starting the cluster and exhale as you lift the barbell. This will give you more power and help you lift more weight.
  4. Be mindful of the thruster: Keep your weight balanced, knees aligned with your toes, and core tight. Push through your heels when pressing the barbell overhead.
  5. Warm up properly: Prior to performing the cluster, do some light sets of the clean and thruster to warm up your muscles and prevent injuries. This will also help you perform better.
  6. Stay consistent with your training: Practice the cluster regularly to improve your technique and see progress over time.
  7. Use a Weightlifting Belt: Weightlifting belts are useful gym equipment that can support your lower back while exercising. They work by providing a solid surface for your abdominal muscles. By wearing a weightlifting belt, you can maintain proper form and prevent your back from bending too much and mentions that it is a good idea to use a weightlifting belt.

Remember, proper form is essential for the cluster exercise. Take your time to practice and perfect your technique before adding weight or increasing intensity. If you experience any pain or discomfort, stop and seek guidance from a professional. Listen to your body and prioritize your safety.


The cluster exercise, which combines the clean and thruster movements, is a challenging and effective way to improve overall fitness and strength. Proper form is crucial to prevent strain on the body. By following the step-by-step guide, engaging multiple muscle groups, and practicing consistency, you can master the cluster exercise.

It targets major muscles like the back, glutes, hamstrings, quads, core, shoulders, and triceps. Benefits of the cluster include improved strength, power, endurance, and mental toughness. Tips for success include focusing on form, choosing the right weight, proper breathing, and warming up adequately. Always prioritize safety and seek professional guidance if needed. Keep pushing yourself and enjoy the progress in your fitness journey.


Dinky, a graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey, has been working as a writer for more than four years, covering a wide variety of themes including current affairs, politics, fashion, celebrity news, and fitness. Oh, and when Dinky isn't blogging about her favorite television shows, you can find her marathoning the very same shows on her couch.

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