T Nation

Cutting- Full Body or Push/Pull/Legs?

I’m happy with my size for now and want to lean up for the summer, but I’m not sure about what routine is going to get me the best results?

In a week I plan to have 3 days of HIIT cardio (row, cycle, sprints) and 3 weights days, with 1 rest day. The obvious options for the weights days to me are:

(a) 3 full body workouts (squat, deadlift, chin, bench, OHP) with a different rep range for each of the 3 in the week (3x12, 4x8, 5x5)
(b) push/pull/legs split

Which would you recommend for cutting, in conjunction with HIIT cardio on days between each workout? I’ve had a dabble with both in the past, when bulking, and I’ve come to some conclusions:

  • Whilst FBs don’t give you that specific screaming pump in any area, it’s quite a good feeling to have thrown a whole load of weight around doing each of the major lifts each session.
  • Also, you can give each lift a decent go as the muscles shouldn’t have been overly worked so far that session.
  • Also, I like to superset in Full bodies, and this is something I can’t really do in the p/p/l split… this leaves me feeling like I’m not working as hard as i can?
  • I’m a bit worried though that working my legs (albeit lightly compared to a ‘legs’ day in each FB will overtrain them in conjunction with cycle and sprint HIIT in the week?

Any help would be appreciated!

Do what you did to build up your size. Personally, I wouldn’t feel confident cutting down trying some new training protocol. Use your diet to lean you down and cardio as a supplementary tool.

[quote]elusive wrote:
Do what you did to build up your size. Personally, I wouldn’t feel confident cutting down trying some new training protocol. Use your diet to lean you down and cardio as a supplementary tool.[/quote]

I made that terrible mistake the first time I tried to a cut. Keep progressing, but don’t change things just for the sake of changing.

Some people (I’m not automatically including you) have the illusion that changing things up means that they’re progressing. Some adjustments to the core plan seem ok, but switching to a whole different protocol can be way more detrimental.

Something for thought. Are you familiar with the guys that say ‘I’m currently shedding bodyfat ,have tried everything in my 10 years of training, but want to come up with some shock to my body, hopefully to get to the next level (the guy has been 170lbs, 15% bodyfat for 7months)’. To me that is a FAILURE.

Keep your split, do the modifications that you think are only necessary and keep progressing. Don’t get the weights down and the reps up too.

keep the weight split/approach you used to build the muscle initially, then figure in how and when to do your hiit.

S

I second what the others said in regards to just keeping your split and all that which made you big etc…

Well I think the best gains I made, and the time i felt leanest and most ‘in shape’ whilst bulking up were when I was doing Full Bodies… but I had no cardio during the bulk. I think I’m gonna try at the 3 x FBs and 3 x HIIT days a week…

Its a function of diet.

Gonna echo what most have said in here.

Keep on keepin on and just adjust your caloric intake

Try it for a couple of weeks, and honestly assess if it’s working, or if you feel it’s too taxing/muscle wasting. Remember, if you ‘cut’, but lose too much muscle in the process, you won’t be very happy.

S

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
Try it for a couple of weeks, and honestly assess if it’s working, or if you feel it’s too taxing/muscle wasting. Remember, if you ‘cut’, but lose too much muscle in the process, you won’t be very happy.[/quote]

Yeah that’s exactly it, Stu. We take so long building ourselves up, pound by painstaking pound at a time, but we all want instant cuts when it comes to summer time!

I did one of the full bodies last night and I’m beginning to second guess myself again this morning… it left me feeling, well, ‘un-pumped’. Kinda tired all over but none of the pump and hardness that I’d been experiencing with push/pull/legs recently. And I’m beginning to wonder whether squatting AND deadlifting 3 x per week in conjunction with 3 days of HIIT is really going to be doable!

The only thing that’s really holding me back from just sticking with the push/HIIT/legs/HIIT/pull/HIIT/rest template is how I just don’t really feel like I’ve had a proper workout with the weights split. Whereas with the FBs I could superset large moves and break a sweat, I just really can’t break into a sweat this way. For example, a typical ‘push’ day:

Standing BB Military Press (3x12)
DB flat bench press (4x8)
DB incline bench (3x12)
Dips (leaning forwards) (3x12)
Triceps rope pushdowns (3x12)

I end up doing them in straight sets, and although I give each set my all, it just isn’t enough to break into a sweat. Is this normal? What can I do to increase the intensity/effort needed to sweat it out? Is it even necessary?!

Maybe decrease your rest between sets by a little at the time? How much rest do you normally take?

[quote]Carnage wrote:
Maybe decrease your rest between sets by a little at the time? How much rest do you normally take?[/quote]

Only enough to allow myself to launch into the next set with enough energy to complete it… 90 secs max i’d say.

How about supersetting each set with some core work?

[quote]Paulinho wrote:
Carnage wrote:
Maybe decrease your rest between sets by a little at the time? How much rest do you normally take?

Only enough to allow myself to launch into the next set with enough energy to complete it… 90 secs max i’d say.

How about supersetting each set with some core work?[/quote]

You could try that. I vaguely remember reading something like that in one of Thibs’ articles not too long ago. But I think it was meant to get some core work in your workouts without losing too much time. I think there are more effective ways to break a sweat.

If you want to keep your template, then your options are:

  • manipulating rest periods between sets
  • increase volume
  • increase conditioning work/cardio
  • increase frequency

Or you could go with an upper-lower approach with a basic movement followed by antagonistic supersets to get a more metabolic effect, like:

A. Bench variation (5x5 or 3x3)

B1. Horizontal Push
B2. Horizontal Pull

C1. Vertical Push
C2. Vertical Pull