Bulk/Cut vs Maintenance for Strength Gain in Weight Class

What’s better to run in the off-season. I typically compete in the 83 kg (183lb) weight class in the USAPL. I’m currently at my weight class at round 13-15%bf. Is it better to cut down to low bodyfat and then gain back the weight to fill out the class or just maintain weight? I’d assume it would be difficult to make strength gains for the cutting cycle and easier on the bulk. Would the maintenance diet offer more consistent gains?

What would be the purpose of cutting down to low bodyfat just to gain it back to fill out the class? There’s no advantage to low bodyfat in powerlifting. Its only advantageous to lose weight when dropping a weight class to where you’ll be more competitive.

The purpose would be to hopefully add more LBM and stay in the weight class. There is some advantage to lower bodyfat in powerlifting at least for weight classes under SHW. From what I understand, strength is a combination of muscle size and neural efficiency. For example if someone is in the 181 weight class, someone with 12% bf has an advantage over someone with 20%. I just was curious what other powerlifters do in the off-season. Do you get to a point where there are diminishing returns in adding LBM?

Yes improving your body composition will make you more competitive within your weight class, but I almost never hear of powerlifters “bulking and cutting.” Losing a couple pounds is a lot different than trying to cut down to low body fat. What is your age, height, best lifts … How many meets have you done?

I’ve only done two. One with 100% RAW and USAPL. Age: 25, Height: 5’9, best meet lifts 463/330/507(Stiff bar) and 518 (DL Bar).

Nice … I would look to maintain your weight or slowly gain if I was you. Does USAPL have a 2-hour weigh-in? If so I wouldn’t go more than 5 lbs above the limit. If you go beyond that, I’d commit to going up a weight class. I wouldn’t cut … If you still have room to add strength I’d get bigger. At 5’9" I’d imagine you’re on your way to a higher weight class eventually anyway.

Yea USAPL has 2-hour weigh ins. Appreciate your help.

Of you are making gains at that body fat stay there, eventually you will be 9/10 percent with higher lifts unleas you are going for record just keep getting stronger, unless you are on some stuff making gains becomes harder at under 8%, look at Ed Coan when he got into 220/242 class he was over 10% yet still best powerlifter of all time.