T Nation

Two Questions: Power and Cutting


Ok, so I'm 20 years old. I have been lifting for 1 year, 6"1' 200lbs or there abouts. I can give my lifts if necessary but i don't think they are relevant to the questions.

  1. For the past year of lifting i have trained with a very basic whole body workout, then i moved to 5 3 1 for the past few months. I still do a similar programme to 5 3 1 but as a sportsman I am looking at working on my power. My first question is just how should I go about this. Not really in terms of which exercises but more when I should do them. For example, after my main lift of a workout but before accessory lifts or should it be a completely separate workout. As I study sport I have been reading quite a few studies around the area recently for a lab report and have found some interesting results, such as one example which had heavy squats supersetted with some jump squats at about 30% of 1RM.

2.My second question is about cutting. I am carrying some excess body fat which i feel i need to lose some of. I know i might get quite a lot of people saying that i need to just keep bulking and lose it later, with muscle being hard to put on and fat easy to lose, but among other things i need to stay fast and fit and extra body fat isn't ideal. I've been reading T-Nation for the last year so I have read a lot about cutting, although often looked at in a body building light, I will be home from Uni for Easter for 4-5 weeks and was planning on dropping some fat during this time. My question really lies in a calorie estimate to aim for. A sports nutrition book i read recently said that 15% under maintenance level for losing fat, although trying to establish a maintenance level isn't always easy. Any one got any suggestions? Also in terms of my exercise routine, my plan was to continue weights as normal but adding interval sprints/farmers walks/other on days in between. Any thoughts or suggestions?

A huge message, asking for a lot, but any replies would be greatly appreciated.


It's really more a question of how you lift. If you've been reading around for a while, you've read about CT's Perfect Rep method. Use it. There's nothing better for developing raw power.

Not a big fan of supersetting squats with anything. Usually, I'm so winded after a set of heavy squats that if you asked me to do jump squats (or anything else), all you'd get is a barely audible "fuck you". Give squats everything you've got. Now, as a warmup, jump squats might have some merit. Priming your body for maximum acceleration before squatting makes some sense.

Try LBMx16 as a starting point for calories when cutting. If you're not losing weight, systematically drop it by 200Cal/per week. Make sure you keep the heavy lifting, but keep the volume at a moderate level.

I've had some luck using barbell complexes, sprints, weighted walks, and heavy bag work in addition to my regular program (I was getting up early and getting in about 30min before work).

LBMx16Cal plus the additional work will melt the fat off of damn near anybody, I think. I lost 10lbs of fat in a month (lost 15 total, gained 5 back after a week of 'refueling').


Thanks for your reply, some useful stuff there.

I have read CT's perfect rep and do try to do it with my lifts. The only thing i would say were that some of the studies i read talked about the best percentage of your 1RM for developing power were around 30ish%. They said that training with no weight will have a slight effect and that training heavy will have an effect on power at that sort of weight but 30ish% will have an effect on a larger range of 1RM if that makes sense. With this in mind should i just ramp from a low weight or do a separate power exercise afterwards.
I was also thinking of starting some Olympic lifting as i don't currently do any.


Jump squats aren't the best example for power. You're not really using 30% when you load the bar to 30%. If a 200lb man can squat 405, then 30% is 120. But if you include body weight in the equation, that would be 605 and 320, which is 52.8%.

Besides that, Force = Mass x Acceleration, and Power = Force x Time (or how long you can keep up that intensity). When you start plugging in real numbers taken from test subjects' lifting sessions, things get pretty hairy. I think this is where the real differences in athletes show up the most.

You want to be dominant in a contact sport? Be bigger and stronger than your opponents.

Ramping is almost always a good idea. You get stronger as you lift (I know that doesn't make any sense, but you'll see). I take off roughly 10% per set and start from there. So if my final set of 5x5 is 200, I'd do 120x5, 140x5, 160x5, 180x5, 200x5.

As far as the power exercise goes, if I were just using a few sets, I'd use it as a warmup before starting my ramped work sets. If I wanted to do a bunch of sets, I'd make it a completely separate session. Just remember that you're trying to develop SPEED, not fatigue. Lift it as fast as possible for a few reps (I've heard 50% for 8-10 sets of 3-5 reps).

I wouldn't advise it unless you have access to a coach who knows his shit.