T Nation

Volume and Cutting

hi guys i’m currently dropping my bodyfat and so far lost about 12lbs in 4 weeks. strength has been increasing(yipee!), even though it increases by small little things, eg 1 more rep on bench, or finished the set faster and with more ease. but suddenly this week my bench dropped 20lbs yeah WTF!! it went something like

45lbs x 5
135 x 5
155 x 3
176 x 3
198 x 3
220 x 3
231 x 1(last week’s all-out set was actually 242 x 5. i felt pretty fucked at this point)
so i scaled down my last set to
220 x 6 and that was my max

after this i did some incline flies(and i broke my last week’s PR in this) and thats about all i do for chest 1x a week.

so here comes the question: could it be the volume, or lack of it, thats killing my progress? i think i read somewhere that a sufficient volume is required to retain the muscle, so maybe should i add some more volume into my chest workout?/

bonus question: i’ve always had this thinking that tells me : high reps => catabolize my muscle, low reps => retains muscle during a cut phase. but i see the training lab and thier volume looks pretty high, considering they’re even preparing for contests here so i’m quite confused. sorry for asking so much questions i’m shitting myself here thinking over this ;(

It’s called having a shitty day. It happens. Unfortunately, it happens more often when cutting. Pay close attention to your pre- and post-workout nutrition to keep it to a minimum.

As for the bonus question: Look, CT is doing a great job of packing muscle on those guys crazy fast, but the fact of the matter is that the body reacts differently to training stimulus when it has some extra chemicals thrown into the mix. Do not compare your training methods to those of non-natural trainees.

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
It’s called having a shitty day. It happens. Unfortunately, it happens more often when cutting. Pay close attention to your pre- and post-workout nutrition to keep it to a minimum.

As for the bonus question: Look, CT is doing a great job of packing muscle on those guys crazy fast, but the fact of the matter is that the body reacts differently to training stimulus when it has some extra chemicals thrown into the mix. Do not compare your training methods to those of non-natural trainees.[/quote]

hey thanks for replying. i wasn’t really comparing myself to them i do know they do have some extra supps ;). but i was just thinking, is that thinking wrong? i’ve read that dave tate does higher reps though the reasoning is to burn more calories. its kinda like engraved in my head that higher reps burn muscle away, is that completely wrong/partially wrong?

i think that if i’m stimulating the muscle as much as i can, like going as heavy as i can and pushing it as far as i can go, the muscle will stimulate and retain right? even though its in the 8-12 range, as long as i give it a reason to stay there and grow it should be doing that i hope

Stimulate the muscle as much as possible while still being able to recover from session to session. That means if you use the 8-12 range, you’re gonna have to cut back on the number of sets because your recovery capacity is lower when cutting. If you’re using a ramped 5x5, you can just keep going with it whether you’re bulking or cutting. It’s much more forgiving.

Okay i’ll try this first
ramp up till 2 max sets of 8-12. Then just 6-8 for the other exercises. If i can’t recover properly from that i’ll just have to probably lower it to ramping 5x5. Thanks!

This is more general, but I’ve noticed that further into my cut I can increase volume for a bit once my body has gotten used to low calories. However, I can’t do that for very long until I have to decrease volume again.

This is still iffy, but I’m thinking that once my strength dips for 3 or 4 sessions, I up volume until I start to feel crappy then switch back to lower volume. You have to get to know how your body reacts and what works for you. So if you don’t feel like getting that “complex” will help you then don’t pay attention to me.

Hope that helps.

[quote]chimera182 wrote:
This is more general, but I’ve noticed that further into my cut I can increase volume for a bit once my body has gotten used to low calories. However, I can’t do that for very long until I have to decrease volume again.

This is still iffy, but I’m thinking that once my strength dips for 3 or 4 sessions, I up volume until I start to feel crappy then switch back to lower volume. You have to get to know how your body reacts and what works for you. So if you don’t feel like getting that “complex” will help you then don’t pay attention to me.

Hope that helps.[/quote]

Can you go into deeper detail about feeling crappy? Is it performance drops, or just feeling ache and pain the whole day? I think its very reasonable idea to try out, switch the training around once it screws up.

You gotta experiment, how much volume you can handle will depend on how hard you are cutting but it also affects how well you handle lower volume and higher loads on both your joints and nervous system. Its also highly individual, my friend does well on low reps, while I find I do better with higher reps.

As for high reps burning away muscle that only happens if your recovery is not keeping up with the muscle break down you cause in the gym. The break down of muscle isn’t the only reason for hypertrophy but is a factor one has to consider in recovery. When you break down muscle in the gym it causes an adaptive response which repairs all the damage done to it and builds more muscle than it had before so it can better handle what you did in the gym. How much more muscle built depends on your response to the amount of stress/work the muscle went through and if enough food is available to build it.

So I would stimulate as much as your diet allows, if you can’t recover as necessary adjust food or training volume/load.

[quote]Fotress wrote:

[quote]chimera182 wrote:
This is more general, but I’ve noticed that further into my cut I can increase volume for a bit once my body has gotten used to low calories. However, I can’t do that for very long until I have to decrease volume again.

This is still iffy, but I’m thinking that once my strength dips for 3 or 4 sessions, I up volume until I start to feel crappy then switch back to lower volume. You have to get to know how your body reacts and what works for you. So if you don’t feel like getting that “complex” will help you then don’t pay attention to me.

Hope that helps.[/quote]

Can you go into deeper detail about feeling crappy? Is it performance drops, or just feeling ache and pain the whole day? I think its very reasonable idea to try out, switch the training around once it screws up.
[/quote]

Basically just missing lifts consistently, being very fatigued during the session. I’m lucky in that I never really feel like crap outside the gym when dieting, the most noticeable difference is within the session. If I notice myself cutting out exercises from my plan, or having to really fight the desire to break my diet then that’s usually a sign for me to switch things up.

Okay thanks for the advice. Has helped me greatly :slight_smile: