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Cluster Medley's for Fat Loss

Cluster Medley

I have previously highlighted in other articles German Body Composition and Death Circuits as great protocols for fat loss. However, if you want to take your fat loss to the next level try the cluster medley protocol, which is a progression of the Death Circuit.


What’s the difference? High volume! This is great when it comes to fat loss, increasing your work capacity, and increasing lean muscle. The concept is simple yet challenging and will have you questioning why you decided to put yourself through such training, resulting in a sweat drenched t-shirt.


The Protocol

Choose four compound exercises, no isolation exercises here, and perform them in a circuit, one after the other, with 10 seconds rest, moving from one exercise to the next. Repeat the circuit two more times before you rest.


Yes, you read that correctly, complete the circuit of four exercises three times before you rest. What this equates to is 12 sets before you take a rest. Three circuits is one set, with the goal being to complete between 3-5 sets. From experience I recommend starting with three sets and working up to five sets.


What does this look like on paper? Just in case you feel lost, or a little confused, here is the workout:

  • A1) Quads #1, 10s rest

  • A2) Back #2, 10s rest

  • A3) Hamstrings #3, 10s rest

  • A4) Press #4, 10s rest

  • A5) Quads #1, 10s rest

  • A6) Back #2, 10s rest

  • A7) Hamstrings #3, 10s rest

  • A8) Press #4, 10s rest

  • A9) Quads #1, 10s rest

  • A10) Back #2, 10s rest

  • A11) Hamstrings #3, 10s rest

  • A12) Press #4, 180s


Cluster Medley Application

If you are new to the gym, or have under a year’s experience training:

  • A1) Leg press, foot placement mid platform, shoulder width stance, 10-12 reps, 4010

  • A2) Seated cable row to abdomen, neutral grip, shoulder width, 10-12 reps, 3010

  • A3) Low cable pull through,10-12 reps, 3010

  • A4) Flat dumbbell press, neutral grip, 10-12 reps, 4010

  • 3 rounds for each set and 3-5 sets


If you have been training consistently for more than a year you can use alternative exercises with more neurological complexity. Below is a more advanced protocol:

  • A1) Back squat, high bar, Oly depth, 10-12 reps, 4010

  • A2) Lat pulldown, semi-supinated grip, outside shoulder width, 10-12 reps, 3011

  • A3) Romanian deadlift, clean grip, shoulder width: 10-12 reps, 3110

  • A4) 45° close grip barbell bench press, 10-12 reps, 4010

  • 3 rounds for each set and 3-5 sets


Three week

When programming for clients I favour training in three week blocks, below is an example of how to progress over a period of three weeks:

  • Week 1: 10-12 reps, 3 rounds for each set, complete 3 sets

  • Week 2: 8-10 reps, 3 rounds for each set, complete 4 sets

  • Week 3: 6-8 reps, 3 rounds for each set, complete 5 sets


In Finishing

If you want to kick your fat loss into fifth gear give this protocol a go, experiment using different exercises for the quads, back, hamstrings and press appropriate to your current capabilities, and watch as your body fat melts away.

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