importance of lifting while recomping?

I know that the standard advice for recomping is -

1) eat at maintenance
2) get enough protein
3) get on a heavy, progressive lifting program

But...
Is lifting specifically required for a successful recomp? Can other forms of exercise be used to recomp, either in addition to or in place of heavy lifting, assuming there is appropriate intensity given to those workouts?

If I didn't want to lift regularly, could I still expect some progress with a recomp, or at that point would I just be maintaining?

Replies

  • LivingtheLeanDream
    LivingtheLeanDream Posts: 13,345 Member
    Looking forward to hearing answers as this is a good question :smile:

    From my own perspective although I lift regularly, I haven't increased my weights much (nor do I want to/see the need to) but my body in the last year and a half has leaned out great and I've added muscle tone. I eat at maintenance calories and try to keep my protein near or on target. For me I've reached my happy place. :smile:
  • tmarple93
    tmarple93 Posts: 75 Member
    With my understanding of recomposition you have to gain muscle while simultaneously burning off the little bit of fat you have left to change your body composition so lifting weights would be the most effective way. I know I've been maintaining for the past 6 months or so and excersizing regularly but more cardio based workouts like incline walking but I haven't seen any progress in my body. I just started a weight training program 2 weeks ago so hopefully I start to see changes again. If I were you I'd start doing some weight training for sure. Or other kinds of resistance training. Like pilates maybe. Or body weight excersizes with HIIT workouts.
  • AverageJoeFit
    AverageJoeFit Posts: 251 Member
    Also for some of us that have lost weight we need the muscle to replace the excess skin that the fat use to fill. I have been recomping for about a year and I'm seeing nice results.

    I'll never be a body builder or anything, but I'm much happier with my reflection :smiley:
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,363 MFP Moderator
    Do you need weights? No... but you do need some kind of progressive resistance, which can include body weight. But if you are looking at efficacy, weight lifting will be much easier to achieve progressive overload, because at some point, it's going to be time prohibitive to do other stuff.
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,650 Member
    edited March 2017
    Thanks gang.

    My take away from all this is basically this: The more lifting I do, the more my "progress" will lean towards recomping. The less lifting I do, the more my "progress" will lean towards maintenance.

    Not really what I was hoping for, but not surprising, either.



    So I guess my follow-up question is... if recomp is the goal, how does that dictate my lifting routine? 5/3/1 has been my preferred program in the past... if I'm trying to recomp, should I adjust volume, frequency, etc at all? Or are those finer detail not really worth worrying about?
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,811 Member
    jjpptt2 wrote: »
    Thanks gang.

    My take away from all this is basically this: The more lifting I do, the more my "progress" will lean towards recomping. The less lifting I do, the more my "progress" will lean towards maintenance.

    Not really what I was hoping for, but not surprising, either.



    So I guess my follow-up question is... if recomp is the goal, how does that dictate my lifting routine? 5/3/1 has been my preferred program in the past... if I'm trying to recomp, should I adjust volume, frequency, etc at all? Or are those finer detail not really worth worrying about?
    The higher your ambition in terms of body comp, strength, physique the more you have to get closer to optimal.
    If you just want a general healthy, fit look then it's obviously far easier to get there by many different routes.

    Time is the other factor - speed of change. We all would choose to have the best possible body in the shortest time but that takes compromise on other aspects of your lifestyle.

    As for your follow up.....
    Just pick an effective routine that you enjoy or can endure and matches your personal goals (biased towards strength or hypertrophy or compliments your sport for example).
    I'm assuming you wouldn't lift just for enjoyment (correct me if I've got that wrong) so picking a routine based around the big compound lifts gives you the biggest bang for your buck in terms of time efficiency.
    You shouldn't need to make any adjustments when you are at maintenance calories. Some people are affected by loss of performance, fatigue, poor recovery when training in a deficit but that shouldn't be a factor without the deficit and when following a sensibly structured program.

  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,650 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    jjpptt2 wrote: »
    Thanks gang.

    My take away from all this is basically this: The more lifting I do, the more my "progress" will lean towards recomping. The less lifting I do, the more my "progress" will lean towards maintenance.

    Not really what I was hoping for, but not surprising, either.



    So I guess my follow-up question is... if recomp is the goal, how does that dictate my lifting routine? 5/3/1 has been my preferred program in the past... if I'm trying to recomp, should I adjust volume, frequency, etc at all? Or are those finer detail not really worth worrying about?
    The higher your ambition in terms of body comp, strength, physique the more you have to get closer to optimal.
    If you just want a general healthy, fit look then it's obviously far easier to get there by many different routes.

    Time is the other factor - speed of change. We all would choose to have the best possible body in the shortest time but that takes compromise on other aspects of your lifestyle.

    As for your follow up.....
    Just pick an effective routine that you enjoy or can endure and matches your personal goals (biased towards strength or hypertrophy or compliments your sport for example).
    I'm assuming you wouldn't lift just for enjoyment (correct me if I've got that wrong) so picking a routine based around the big compound lifts gives you the biggest bang for your buck in terms of time efficiency.
    You shouldn't need to make any adjustments when you are at maintenance calories. Some people are affected by loss of performance, fatigue, poor recovery when training in a deficit but that shouldn't be a factor without the deficit and when following a sensibly structured program.

    Thanks for all that.

    You're right, I won't be lifting out of sheer enjoyment - it's 90% means to an end. I'll probably just stick with 5/3/1... I know it/know the programming, I'm comfortable with it, and I almost like it.
  • sgt1372
    sgt1372 Posts: 3,971 Member
    edited April 2017
    I am in maintenace and have sucessfully achieved some minor recomp by dropping my BF from 16 to 12% while maintaining my weight at 160 for over 3 months.

    I did this by doing the 3 things at the top of this thread - lifting and eating a high protein diet at my maintenance level.

    While I did lift heavy and increased the weights progressively for over 9 months, I have now plateaued and the risk of injury in the face of diminishing gains has caused me to switch to lifting in "maintenance mode" at varying weights (to keep my muscles confused) but at a level that is still challenging (15-20% below my 1RM PRs) but unlikely to cause an injury.

    For upper body work, I also do a 3 part exercise routine (pullups, pushups and dips) 3x's a week. I was doing this daily previously but that caused severe elbow pain. Dropping to 3x 's a week has eliminated the pain.

    I am still progressively increasing the level of difficulty of these exercises by increasing the reps per set. I'm currently up to 50 pullups (5x10), 90 decline pushups (5x18) and 75 dips (5x15) during each workout allowing 15 mins per exercise, 3 min rest bet sets and 10 min rest between exercises. I have a weighted vest that I can wear to further increase difficulty when I max out on sets/reps.

    Doing these exercises has done great things for the strength, size and definition of my pecs, arms, shoulders and back - - much more so than just doing bench and overhead presses.

    For the lower body, I rely mainly on barbell deadlifts and squats but I also do 4x25=100 sissy squats and 5x10=50 GHRs in a GHD at least 2x's a week. I can also increase the difficulty of these exercises with a vest.

    So, yes, it is possible to recomp doing something other than progressively heavier weight lifting.
  • jeepinshawn
    jeepinshawn Posts: 642 Member
    jjpptt2 wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    jjpptt2 wrote: »
    Thanks gang.

    My take away from all this is basically this: The more lifting I do, the more my "progress" will lean towards recomping. The less lifting I do, the more my "progress" will lean towards maintenance.

    Not really what I was hoping for, but not surprising, either.



    So I guess my follow-up question is... if recomp is the goal, how does that dictate my lifting routine? 5/3/1 has been my preferred program in the past... if I'm trying to recomp, should I adjust volume, frequency, etc at all? Or are those finer detail not really worth worrying about?
    The higher your ambition in terms of body comp, strength, physique the more you have to get closer to optimal.
    If you just want a general healthy, fit look then it's obviously far easier to get there by many different routes.

    Time is the other factor - speed of change. We all would choose to have the best possible body in the shortest time but that takes compromise on other aspects of your lifestyle.

    As for your follow up.....
    Just pick an effective routine that you enjoy or can endure and matches your personal goals (biased towards strength or hypertrophy or compliments your sport for example).
    I'm assuming you wouldn't lift just for enjoyment (correct me if I've got that wrong) so picking a routine based around the big compound lifts gives you the biggest bang for your buck in terms of time efficiency.
    You shouldn't need to make any adjustments when you are at maintenance calories. Some people are affected by loss of performance, fatigue, poor recovery when training in a deficit but that shouldn't be a factor without the deficit and when following a sensibly structured program.

    Thanks for all that.

    You're right, I won't be lifting out of sheer enjoyment - it's 90% means to an end. I'll probably just stick with 5/3/1... I know it/know the programming, I'm comfortable with it, and I almost like it.

    So are you doing this for a specific athletic look or for health or??? If you want a a certain look like a V shaped torso try doing a superset, I found this routine online : set timer for 4 mins this is a 5set routine set your weights up in advance. Deadlift 5reps, incline bench press with dumbells 8 to 12 reps, pull ups 6 to 10. Rest till the timer goes off. Or for a more cardio based lift test for a shorter time. If you can't do a pull up user the assist machine or a wide grip Pull down. You should do 80 percent of your 1 rm and try to add weight every week.
  • sgt1372
    sgt1372 Posts: 3,971 Member
    PS: My BF as measured hydrostatically on 4/1 dropped to 10.1% at 158# reflecting a gain of 4.1# of lean body mass and a loss of 12# of BF over the past 6 months, which is further proof that you can recomp w/o excessively heavy weight lifting.
  • trigden1991
    trigden1991 Posts: 4,658 Member
    You can't gain muscle without progressive resistance. That doesn't have to be lifting heavy weights but it is the easiest way to progressively load your muscles (adding more weight, reps, frequency).