T Nation

Changing Exercises During Extended Cut


For say an 8 week cut - would it be necessary to change up the exercise program at all?

Its 8 weeks of progressive calorie restriction - dropping 250 cals every 2 weeks with a 500 jump at the start. Carbs at 30g or below throughout.


bump for help!

Im trying to get a plan written up and need some input :frowning:


It depends on what the exercise program was in the first place.

If it was bordering on being enough to cause CNS overtraining on the previous calories, then it would be overtraining on the reduced calories.

But on the other hand, perhaps it was undertraining beforehand and still would be undertraining now.

No way to know from your post.


If your exercise program is working I don't think there's any need to change it up, other than probably adding more cardio. The diet will make the difference. If you've been doing it for a while and think your body needs a change, change it.


Well As of the new year Ill be doing a WS4SB program for 4 weeks whilst eating at maintenance to aid in some metabolism repair, increase work capacity and potentially add 1-2lbs of lean muscle tissue before I begin a cut.

I decided that due to decreased nutritional intake it would be wise to slash workout volume and up intensity. I decided to drop down to a three day split which I will outline in a moment based upon CT's old article - "lifting for fat loss". As far as energy systems work goes - I also have judo twice a week... each session lasting 2 hours. Not really sure if anything else is needed on that front - im keen to avoid muscle wasteage.

As for the training:

Monday - Upper Push dominant
Tuesday - Rest
Wednesday - Judo
Thursday - Lower
Friday - Upper pull dominant
Saturday - Judo
Sunday - Rest

Upper push dominant
A) Flat barbell bench press, 4x4-6, 3 min rests
B) Weighted chinups, 4x4-6, 3 min rests
C) Weighted dips, 4x4-6, 3 min rests
D1) Dumbbell lateral raise, 3x6-8, 0 min rests
D2) Dumbbell skull crushers, 3x6-8, 2 min rests
E) Cable crunches, 3x6-8, 2 min rests

A) Barbell front squat, 4x4-6, 3 min rests
B) Romanian deadlift, 4x4-6, 3 min rests
C) Dumbbell lunges, 3x6-8 (each side), 2 min rests
D) Weighted calf raises, 3x6-8 (each side)
E) Offset barbell side bends, 3x6-8 (each side)

Upper pull dominant
A) Weighted pullup, 4x4-6, 3 min rests
B) Incline dumbbell bench, 4x4-6, 3 min rests
C) Dumbbell bench row, 4x4-6, 3 min rests
D1) Barbbell shrugs, 3x6-8, 0 min rests
D2) Zottman curl, 3x6-8, 2 min rests
E) Cable crunches, 3x6-8, 2 min rests

As I come out of the cut and start upping calories I will add in another lower body session... and eventually once I hit maintenance its back onto WS4SB.

Which means some of the workouts I could be hitting for up to 12 weeks!


Yes, if as I gather your program was otherwise (without dieting) substantially more than this, then I believe you were wise to cut back to this while dieting down rather than attempting to maintain a higher volume than this.


Thank you for your input Bill but I am not sure if I have got my question across clearly enough:

Within a cut lasting a long period (8-12 weeks) would it be wise to change up exercises mid-cut? Is adaptation/staleness an issue during calorie restriction seeing as the main focus isnt on mass building?

Whilst I have your attention perhaps you would be as kind as to help me on another query that has been bothering me. I understand if you don't have time - you are a busy man I am sure!

During something intense like a regressive keto cycle as thibs outlined - would a plan similiar to mine be adequate (maybe without the judo)? What about energy systems work on such a diet?


Well, my answer on the changing exercises will be different than most.

Changing exercises all the time is popular with many. There are reasons other than gains that it is a terrific thing for the bottom line of trainers/coaches, and reasons other than gains why it has a great appeal for many lifters.

There are also good reasons to do it, including:

1) The exercise was added to correct a specific weakness which has now been taken care of, or another need has now become more important and it is better to devote the effort to this new need

2) A better way to accomplish the same purpose has now been found

3) The exercise had been suited to the parameters the program was aimed to meet before, but due to periodization or other reasons what one is trying to achieve is now different, and the exercise isn't suitable for the new parameters.

That may not make so much sense, so as an example, perhaps one had been in a phase of doing higher reps with lower percent 1RM and now is moving into a low reps, high percent 1RM phase. And the exercise is one which works well for the individual with light weight and high reps but not at low reps. So changing it out makes sense.

4) Due to other changes for other reasons, the exercise is now unneeded or duplicative or there is some kind of conflict. For example, let's say one decided to increase volume of standard squats by quite a bit. Another type of squat that was being done might be taken out. Or let's say that squatting was being done twice per week but due to other changes the lower back is now being very heavily worked and the second squat workout is being compromised by the back not being enough recovered. Squats in that second workout might be swapped out for hack squats or leg press, for example.

5) Because of injury or developing problem, or experience that a given exercise gives problems if done every single week. For example, someone might tend to develop shoulder problems if flat benching every single week of the year, but does like the exercise, and therefore has periods of the year where he flat benches and other periods where he does not.

Or other reasons like these.

But not simply because 3 or 6 weeks have gone by or whatever.

Now, some like to change exercises for no reason other than that, or "because I couldn't add weight or reps this week and so that means time to change exercises so I can give myself the illusion of constantly getting several percent stronger every single week!"

Anyway, no, I don't think you need to swap exercises during a 12 week period on account of getting stale. Varying rep range and weights, or otherwise varying protocols will address that.

Those well adapted to ketogenic diets and adapted to volume such as you've outlined could do fine on it. Someone who had never done volume like this and had never done ketogenic dieting would quite likely find this to be overdoing it.

I really don't know about energy systems work.


Thank you Bill - that was genuinely helpful and has cleared things up a lot! :smiley:

I have emailed Thibs about my other query - hopefully the busy chap will have time to email me back! crosses fingers.