T Nation

Calorie Deficit + CNS

Is it possible to be on a cutting diet (-500calories from maintainance) and still gain strength? not muscle as that is near impossible but as strength can be increased by the CNS then would it be possible to increase strength while loosing fat?

Any recomended programme or routines would be appriciated. i was thinking of using some techniques mentioned by Christian Thibaudeau like the 5-4-3-2-1 rest/pause and the wave loading scheme

any help appreciated.

Definitely. I just did a strength phase with a -500cal cut (as well as lower carb), and I was able to get some nice strength gains. I’d recommend cycling your calories so that your strength training days have more calories than the rest of your week, but keep the average for the week at -500 or whatever.

As for training, definitely reduce your volume and restrict your lifts to your main compound lifts (adjust both depending on your energy level and how low you go with your calorie cuts). The rest/pause and wave loading are both good choices, and I plan on using both of those soon myself.

Personally, I make my best strength gains from a very intense but low-volume approach. The protocol that’s produced the best gains for me so far (also on calorie restriction) is to do each strength lift twice a week: once with max weights and minimum reps (getting 5-12 work reps at 80% of 1RM or above, plus maybe a few lighter reps to round it out), and one higher-volume-but-still heavy (usually trying to hit a certain goal, like finishing all reps of a a 5x5).

For instance, my last heavy bench day was: a few warmups sets, then 275x3, 290x2, 300x2, 310x1, 290x3. My 1RM is around 320, so you can see I’m working close to my max.

A few days later I did a higher volume day, which was 255 for five sets of six. Both of those have a few more reps than I usually do while using that protocol–on a more typical week I’d have three or four less of the lighter reps on the first day and more like 4-5 sets of 4-5 reps on the second.

Feel free to ask questions if any of that doesn’t make sense.

thanks for the reply MCS.

Dips

Yeah, you certainly can. I’ve been cutting for the past 6 weeks for vacation (and to drop a weight class for a judo tournament this fall) and have still managed to pick up some pounds on lifts here and there.

I just PR’ed on the trap bar DL last week. I don’t know if I recomend rest/pause though, it’s pretty intense and would probably fry you if you were in a hard hypocaloric state. Wave loading would probably be a better bet IMO.

[quote]MCS wrote:

Personally, I make my best strength gains from a very intense but low-volume approach.[/quote]

Same here. Usually try to hit 3 lifts > 90%.

thanks for the advice i will probably do a fullbody workout 3 times a week, manly focusing on low reps.