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Lifting Heavy to Maintain During Weight Cut


I am 5'10 and around 165lbs i will be making my mma debut in 6 weeks at 145lbs and am wondering peoples opinion of lifting really heavy for these next few weeks or should i aim for a higher rep range 10-12. i train bjj 5 times a week and muy thai 3 times a week. i have cut weight before but not for a fight and i want to be my strongest.

Please let me know what you guys think


Bad mistake. Too much strain on the CNS right before the time when you need it most, and a WAY increased chance of injury, all to improve something that isn't going to help your fighting ability.

Train as normal (or, really, as your coach tells you to) until a week out when you taper down.


Also agree with Irish; you aren't going to gain enough strength in the next 6 weeks to make the increased risk of injury worthwhile. And honestly, strength shouldn't ' be your primary concern anyhow, gassing (or preventing yourself from doing so) should be; especially as this will be your first fight and unless you are one of those very rare naturally incredibly calm under pressure types, you may wind up getting an adrenaline dump come the start of the fight.

Lifting heavy/building substantial strength is a job for the offseason, not the period leading right up to the fight. At this point conditioning (if you wanted to do some conditioning based resistance training that would most likely serve you better than really heavy low rep strength work) and tapering as the fight draws closer (getting your body as healthy as possible and allowing the fatigue that has been building up in your body over the past few months to dissipate so you can perform at your best).

There is also the question of who you will be fighting (are they known for being very physical, are they much bigger, or have some other physical trait or strategy that you feel strength is going to play a big role in the fight), what your natural strengths and weaknesses are and/or your style of fighting is, and of course what your strategy you and your coach have devised for beating your opponent. I would also probably ask your coach this question first as well as I would hope that he knows you and what you need better than we do (and how to prepare fighters for fights).


i read the OP a little differently to irish and sento.

i'm assuming rparish has been weight training alongside his mma training for some time and is asking opinions on ideal rep range to train in while he cuts.maintaining what he has built whilst moving focus to skill work and strategy.

perhaps he could clarify for us?

if this is the case,there is a case for low reps and low volume for maintenance.


what's your current lifting program?

i presume you lift on days that you don't train MT, so you're prolly only lifting 2-3 times a week?

anyway, i'd focus on simple stuff for now (pullups, deadlift, OHP, squat, BP), and cut out the lifting no later than the week prior to your fight.

you might lose some strength after a few weeks of no training, but you're still training MMA stuff, and will maintain your gains...


6 weeks from a fight I would be starting to taper off on lifting heavy. Stay in the 8-10 rep range when you lift and don't go to heavy. Stay focused on the big lifts like deads, squats etc. My problem with lifting that close to a fight is that weight training really hits my metabolism. For example my last fight I had to lose 18lbs. I had to do lots of sweating to get there which really equated to lots of exercise and sitting in a sauna.

That being said, my body just does not have the energy to lift at all when my diet is that strict. If I was not training and working on drills etc then that would be another story but that close to a fight I am in the gym training whenever my schedule allows. If it is a big fight then I will be there everyday and time under a bar does not help me win.

So I would tell you not not even lift the last four weeks before the fight and stay on the pads and sparring, on the mats rolling and grappling working your gameplan deciding what outcome you want for the fight.


You should really focus on strength training between competitions, not during "fight camps". The time to get big and strong is not when you should be developing skills specific to your sport.

With that said, that's not saying you should just forget lifting, but it definitely should take a back seat until after your fight. If you want to maintain your muscle while you train just make sure to eat enough protein.

To go ahead and touch on lighter vs. heavier loads during lifting, "heavy" is really relative to your current goal. You should by no means be trying to do 1 rep maxes every time you lift; as the first responder to your post mentioned, it would create CNS fatigue. Instead I would aim for reps of 5-8; explode on your lighter sets (performance prep lifts), and then focus on maintaining bar speed and explosiveness on your heavier weights (performance lifts) regardless if the bar slows down. Terminate once bar speed decreases significantly (before complete failure).

For example, let's say you start with 95lbs on bench press and want to do a max set of 6 reps (weight/reps):

This is a good way to maintain explosiveness and strength without worrying about CNS fatigue. Just remember that it's not as important as your sport-specific training. Pay attention to your performance on the mat when you change things up in the gym and you'll know what works and what doesn't.