T Nation

How to Deload On a Cut


My workout currently
M: squat 2x3-6 bench 3x3-6 deadlift 1x3-6 cardio
T: front squat 3x8-12 rdl 2x8-12 dips 5x8-12 core work inverted rows 5x8-12 Hiit
W: off
T: Monday
F: Tuesday
Weekends: off

I’m making steady progress but I want to know how I would program a period of de loading while still making progress on my cut or if I even need to de load.


A bit more information would help in answering your question to be honest.

Not knowing what kind of weights you’re using and how you’re progressing them makes it very hard to say when a deload would be most appropriate. In the same vein, not knowing what your cut is like doesn’t help either. If you’re doing it slowly and fairly gradually, it won’t have an overly significant negative impact on your training, but if you’re cutting aggressively it definitely will.

Very, very broadly, deload at least every eight weeks, six may be better. I do well every fourth. Definitely deload before you feel you need to. Take a week to train less intensely, do some different stuff and drop the volume. You’ll do better for it.

HOWEVER, if what you at set out is all you’re doing you may not really need to deload much at all, because that is a very, very, very low volume of work. Plus, if you’re working in that three to six rep range on your heaviest lifts all in one session the intensity won’t be very high either. This isn’t a knock, just how I see it. If it’s working there’s no need to change.

I would recommend some upper body pulling besides inverted rows though. Heavy dumbbell rows would be my go to in this case.


I’m just using linear progression with 1-5lb increments but in the GPP days I judge by how many reps I can get between 8-12.

I’m doing about 4-8lbs a month on my cut trying to maintain a slow and steady pace.

I’ve been going for about 13 weeks now generally only changing my assistance work. I do agree on changing the inverted rows as the intention I had was to progress to pull ups but I’ve since found an alternative.

As far as tweaking volume during a deload, would I work in a 70-85% range during this time and for how many weeks?


OK, well, like I said if it’s working well there’s no real need to change anything. If you do want to change a few things:

  • there is a big difference between a pound and five pounds. Unless you’re already very, very strong, a pound is almost nothing while five pounds on an upper body lift is quite a bit at the top end of your strength. You could simply add five pounds to your upper body and ten to your lower body every two or three weeks.

  • you would probably do well to do more work, especially back work. Low volume isn’t always the best way to go.

  • I personally don’t like going above 70% during a deload, because that kind of defeats the point.


On my squat and deadlift, depending on how I feel, I get about 10lbs a week. I average around 3-5lbs a week on my bench. I more so base my increases in how I feel versus anything strict due to the physicality of my job sometimes.

I want more back work but I hate rows. Plus I don’t have a lot of time.

What would a sample deload look like?


I agree with Mark about adding in more volume. If youre consistently adding 5 to 10 pounds a week on your lifts, i do not think you need to worry about taking a deload for quite some time. But to answer your question a sample deload would to either cut the volume of your lifts in half, or drop the weight to 50-60%


Dave Tate says you generally need to do what you hate. Superset them with your pressing exercises. I also like inverted rows between sets of squat and DL.


Well I clearly don’t understand the purpose of a deload then. I plan to, should I stall, to increase squats to 3x3-6, bench 5x3-6, and deadlift 2x3-6.


I added them back in but I’m not sure if 5x8-12 is optimal for this specific lift for myself.


The purpose of a deload is to let the body and nervous system recover. If you are making consistent progress and feel fresh, no reason for you to deload yet.


Row, especially heavy DB rows and chest supported rows, are optimal for everyone. Try to get 50 total reps twice a week.


Well I don’t have dumbbells and could I somehow do a chest supported row with an adjustable bench?


I understand, thanks. In the event that I plateau, should I increase volume or go on a deload or both?


Yes, I believe you can. Either raise the bench high enough to lie face down and row with the bar under it or raise one end of the bench so it’s on an incline.


Personally, I would deload and then increase volume if needed


Just do the 4th/deload week of 5/3/1, basically just ramp to 60%x5 on the main lift…

One way to do it is do all the lifts in one workout as they are such easy numbers and then take the rest of the week off from the weight room, and can crank up HIIT/hard conditioning the rest of the week