T Nation

Weight Restricted Athlete, Strength & Body Comp


I understand CT is a busy man, so I'd be glad to receive any advice the board has to offer.
T Nation has been an excellent resource for me and I apprerciate all of the time and consideration you give to your posts here. Normally, I dont post on these boards, as my own input is of little significance to the really impressive strength and aesthetic athletes here. (Nobody wants advice on how to get lean and aggressive.) However, I have been performing well in my field and hope you guys will indulge my question.

I am a twenty five year old athlete training professionally since early 2010.
(I trained in the ignorant bliss of the amateurs for a decade before that!)

For 2010 and the early portion of 2011 I competed at 154lbs(69.9kg) walking at 165lbs(75kg.)
At this point in 2013 I compete under 168lbs(76.2kg) walking at 188lbs(85kg.)
Natural growth was a factor in adding this poundage but some really good coaching has seen me develop dramatically as an athlete.

-With my current approach to making weight. I am performing a "Bulk&Cut" style exercise.
I put on muscle (and fat) between competition and gain strength (188lbs/85kg.)
In making weight for competition I strip fat, lose a % muscle mass and consequentially strength (168lbs/76kg.)

Certainly I am making progress, each training camp is a step forward, but I feel this is a more pedestrian form of progress than desirable. Heading back into training camp with reduced muscle mass is demeaning and often you're left shaking your head at your own PB-
"Nah man, I couldn't have done that, must've been someone else."

Also, it can be crushing psychologically as you see your numbers drop considerably right before you get ready to get work done.

In your opinion, is this form of training outdated, are there more efficient approaches?

Do you have a limit or restriction on the weight (or bf%) your athletes are allowed add between competitions to minimise this effect?


I will assume that you are talking fighting sport.

If that is the case my belief is that you should train at close to your fighting weight. Artificially ballooning up to cut back down is bad IMHO:

  1. When your fighting weight is very different than your training weight you basically learn to live and move in one body then you have to fight in another one. It's kinda like spending the whole wear driving an automatic mini-van and suddenly switching to an automatic mini-cooper. Even if the difference isn't huge, it will be significant enough to lose some control, agility and precision

  2. As you mention you end up weak. Obviously not something you want to be when you walk into a fight. Was good is it to become stronger in the off-season, only to end up where you were at the year before?

  3. You talked about it.... going into a fight/camp feeling like you are gradually getting weaker is very hard psychologically and can rob you of some confidence and that can make a huge difference. It's not the actually fact of being weak that is worst psychologically, it's feeling weaker than you were.

I prefer to stay close to the fighting weight in the off season, even if that means making a little less gains... anyway you will maintain those gains so you might very well end up with more strength than you would have had if you bulked/cut. Plus you will not be feeling yourself getting weaker, which will give you a psychological edge.



With increasing ones strength/power for a sport like boxing, what type of exercises/movements do you recommend?

I box and would typically rely on various plyometric exercises, with medicine ball throws being my favorite.

Loaded carries, box jumps? Oly lifts? Just curious.

Sorry for the Hijack


Firstly, thanks for such a detailed response, I appreciate your feedback immensely.

My bf% never escalates very high, so I think I'll need to make some nutritional tweeks and maybe drop some hypertrophy I use for athletic health.
I had been using a modified version of your star complexes for leaning out. They may be integrated more.
So much food for thought...


Concur with CT. I was an amateur/semi-professional Muay Thai fighter for more than 10 years and I learned through trial and error that I needed to walk around, train, and fight at the same weight. I was either having to cut or eat my way to making weight.. When I stopped doing this I ended up fighting better because of it and I never had the stress of needing to make weight! It made a huge difference when I finally believed my coaches and stayed at one weight. Good luck mate!


I am a jiu jitsu player and also compete at my walking weight. I weigh about 240 so I am in the superheavy class at the moment but I know I am strong enough to hang with the big boys. If you are strong and athletic for your size then just fight at your walking weight.


Thanks a lot, really appreciate the reply from experience.
I've always leaned out- even very young in the amateurs.
I do a lot of strength work between fights and hyper trophy comes
To me easier than most... In other sports this would be a blessing!
I've definitely added ko power, but I think I may phase my training more carefully and try hang within 10lbs


Very nice to meet you- I've also enjoyed bjj as a sport. Wonderful martial art.

However the key difference is the weigh in.
A BJJ player weighs in before they hit the mat.
A professional boxer weighs in 24 to 30 hours before fighting.
From my experience the minimum rehydration for a decent level pro is 10lbs.
To fight at walking weight you'd be setting yourself a steep hill to climb.


What is your conditioning like when at 188 lbs? Do you feel heavy/slow? Have you thought about just fighting at Light Heavyweight? If you stay around 188 then you be mid-class... considering that it sounds like in your case that extra 20 lbs is a lot of hitting power lost when you cut. Something to consider and even try mate. Worse thing is you gain experience fighting in another class.


Conditioning is pretty good, I regulary spar 8 rounds or so, but I do lack the explosivness that I get at 168. 168 is definitely the peak for speed and this translates well, I just feel perhaps I could do it even better.

I've thought of Light Heavy, but I guess the purpose of my last 3 years training has been to become a very hard hitting 168.


Are you naturally a hard hitter regardless of your weight?

You probably need to focus on and learn to be a hard hitter at 168 or just a few pounds heavier... you are losing a lot in that 20 lbs cut.

Not saying there are not fighters who can do this but it is not the "norm". Remember the real purpose is to be the best fighter you can be and win mate! Not staying in a particular weight class... a lot of fighters early in their careers get caught in this mind frame and for good reason but ultimately it doesn't help them. When you are more advanced then weight class becomes an issue. Just my opinion and I don't want to counter what your trainer and coach may be saying but it is food for thought. Good luck and knock 'em out! Respects.


Nice to meet you as well my friend.

I've only done 1 tournament and am prepping for another. So far both of them had weigh ins the day before. But nonetheless, I fight at my walking weight otherwise I'd be cutting anywhere from 20-40 pounds. In the few matches I've had, being strong and heavy has definitely been to my advantage.


Ah.. I dont think there is an adult male that would answer no, but I do feel I hit hard, particularly to the body. As regards punching power- I think thats a bit of a gift- I remember hitting hard at 16 and 140lbs.
The area I find I lose strength is imposing myself physically. In training I spar with heavyweights and wont be bullied, but at 168lbs I find myself less imposing. The longer the duration of the contest I feel the more important this becomes.

Thanks for the advice, its not falling on deaf ears. You're a gent!


Thats awesome man, really glad to hear it.

I'm actually boxing an exhibition tonight and hoping to sign a contract for a fight in 4 weeks. I'll be able to directly comapre and contrast how I felt about hevy v light issue.


Good luck my friend! Give em hell.


That's an important comment. Being heavier has its advantages (more strength, great physical presence) but it can also be detrimental to your endurance and mobility.

So it will be a matter of finding at what weight you would fight the best. And then staying close to that weight when training and living.


Thank you for all your input on this subject CT.

performances are good lately, but time now to condition & strip. I have my petrfect opportunity now to start from scratch and try adhere to what I've learned here.


Medicine Ball helped me a lot: Overhead Press Throws... Front Slams from Overhead... and Reverse Slams with a Hip Swing from Between the Legs


Good luck buddy. Keep us posted.


What do these do? I really don't know what a medicine ball is used for, so, really just curious.