Losing Reps while cutting... Do you?

Hello All,

I was 175lbs before the holidays and allowed myself to bulk up to about 190lbs by sometime early January...

Trying to get back down to around 180lbs while preserving as much lean mass as possible... After this the plan is to go up to around 195lbs, back down to 185lbs, then back up to 190lbs, where I hope to find contentment lol...

I'm about 185lbs right now but reaching a point where I am starting to lose reps and or struggling to maintain reps...

I suspect the calorie reduction, I honestly don't log food but know I'm in a deficit because I'm slowly losing. I'm also not starving myself, I'm satisfied and feel like I'm eating plenty and no I don't eat junk

I workout 4-6 days (usually 6)... But 4 if I'm busy or feeling run down, 50min of lifting and 20mins of biking...

My question:

How do you avoid losing Reps while cutting?
Is losing Reps while cutting just an inevitably?

Maybe I'm doing too much during the week, maybe I need to increase my rest between sets.. Just a few ideas I had, although I'm not sure these will help me preserve strength

Thoughts and opinions welcomed!
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Replies

  • ManBehindTheMask
    ManBehindTheMask Posts: 615 Member
    When cutting i aim to keep intensity and frequency the same, but volume reduces
  • Mr_Healthy_Habits
    Mr_Healthy_Habits Posts: 12,578 Member
    edited March 2018
    When cutting i aim to keep intensity and frequency the same, but volume reduces

    Thanks Dude, I appreciate the input!
    Still a little new to this whole bulking and cutting thing,so wasn't sure if this was to be expected or if I may be doing something wrong here...
  • deputy_randolph
    deputy_randolph Posts: 941 Member
    I don't generally lose reps (I work 1-10 range). What I do though is cut to 4 lifting days only (squat/bench/dl/ohp). I cut my extra day (where I do "fun" stuff like hip thrusts, high rep biceps etc) out.
  • Mr_Healthy_Habits
    Mr_Healthy_Habits Posts: 12,578 Member
    @kinetixtrainer2
    @bojack3

    I hope you guys don't mind the tag, was hoping for your opinion on this as well since I know your both trainers.
    TIA
  • ManBehindTheMask
    ManBehindTheMask Posts: 615 Member
    When cutting i aim to keep intensity and frequency the same, but volume reduces

    Thanks Dude, I appreciate the input!
    Still a little new to this whole bulking and cutting thing,so wasn't sure if this was to be expected or if I may be doing something wrong here...

    No worries mate :)

    I’ve worked the other way too, kept volume the same but reduced the intensity

    Definitely maintained more strength when I kept the intensity. Plays with your head when you begin to feel weaker when cutting lol
  • bojack3
    bojack3 Posts: 1,483 Member
    Losing reps during a cut is not necessarily a bad thing as long as you aren't losing strength. A lot of times people will lose some reps to due a little more instability that comes with weight loss. That's not a bad thing, for example with bench press, when you lean out you may have to actually push the bar slightly further due to loss off fat around the back and chest. Believe it or not it's actually good to rep less while cutting to concentrate on maintaining muscle and strength while cutting fat.

    If you are losing strength it's a good thing to check your diet to make sure you aren't too depleted....but you seem good in that department. Also doing too much cardio can cause less recovery and sap some strength. So basically it comes down to not worrying about reps as much as maintaing strength, I think you are doing damn good as always man.
  • kinetixtrainer2
    kinetixtrainer2 Posts: 7,547 Member
    Here’s my opinion and what has worked for me Jesse. I’m not an expert so this is just coming from experience.

    Rules I live by while cutting due to how my body responds.

    1. I aim for 1lb per week. This allows to maintain as much muscle as possible. To do this I stay in 500 cal deficit per day. Until I reach 2300 cals per day. Then I start to make up that difference through cals burned during cardio.
    2. I weigh only once per week. And adjust my cals and macros accordingly. My rough % marks are 40 C/ 30 P/ 30 F. This will change slightly as your BF gets lower. I always try to keep my protein to 1g per pound of body weight.
    3. I keep my lifting schedule the same in regards to strength. Obviously as your cals and BF drops so will your strength slightly. Due to physical requirements at work I like to keep my strength.
    4. I’ve found a rep range that I love Jesse. It’s 4 sets of 20/10/10/15 for each excercise. The idea is to use a weight for each set that pushes you near to failure for the last 2 or 3 reps while maintaining good form. You use the same weight for your set of 15 that you did for your set of 20. The idea behind this is if you pushed yourself enough during those first 3 sets that weight you used for the first set would not be possible for 20 reps on the last set. Hope that makes sense.

    I hope this helps brother.
  • kinetixtrainer2
    kinetixtrainer2 Posts: 7,547 Member
    Hello All,

    I was 175lbs before the holidays and allowed myself to bulk up to about 190lbs by sometime early January...

    Trying to get back down to around 180lbs while preserving as much lean mass as possible... After this the plan is to go up to around 195lbs, back down to 185lbs, then back up to 190lbs, where I hope to find contentment lol...

    I'm about 185lbs right now but reaching a point where I am starting to lose reps and or struggling to maintain reps...

    I suspect the calorie reduction, I honestly don't log food but know I'm in a deficit because I'm slowly losing. I'm also not starving myself, I'm satisfied and feel like I'm eating plenty and no I don't eat junk

    I workout 4-6 days (usually 6)... But 4 if I'm busy or feeling run down, 50min of lifting and 20mins of biking...

    My question:

    How do you avoid losing Reps while cutting?
    Is losing Reps while cutting just an inevitably?

    Maybe I'm doing too much during the week, maybe I need to increase my rest between sets.. Just a few ideas I had, although I'm not sure these will help me preserve strength

    Thoughts and opinions welcomed!

    Check this out Jesse.

  • Lean59man
    Lean59man Posts: 714 Member
    When you drop weight you lose muscle so you get weaker (unless you are on drugs like the guy in the video).

    So naturally you have to either drop reps or the weight used in your exercises.

  • Mr_Healthy_Habits
    Mr_Healthy_Habits Posts: 12,578 Member
    bojack3 wrote: »
    Losing reps during a cut is not necessarily a bad thing as long as you aren't losing strength. A lot of times people will lose some reps to due a little more instability that comes with weight loss. That's not a bad thing, for example with bench press, when you lean out you may have to actually push the bar slightly further due to loss off fat around the back and chest. Believe it or not it's actually good to rep less while cutting to concentrate on maintaining muscle and strength while cutting fat.

    If you are losing strength it's a good thing to check your diet to make sure you aren't too depleted....but you seem good in that department. Also doing too much cardio can cause less recovery and sap some strength. So basically it comes down to not worrying about reps as much as maintaing strength, I think you are doing damn good as always man.

    Hey thanks Man, I appreciate the kind words and advice!

    I honestly did not consider a difference between strength and reps, figured the two where sorta interwoven but I see what you mean..

    I guess loss of energy or water in the muscle will cause you to lose reps but this isn't the same as losing strength
  • Mr_Healthy_Habits
    Mr_Healthy_Habits Posts: 12,578 Member
    Here’s my opinion and what has worked for me Jesse. I’m not an expert so this is just coming from experience.

    Rules I live by while cutting due to how my body responds.

    1. I aim for 1lb per week. This allows to maintain as much muscle as possible. To do this I stay in 500 cal deficit per day. Until I reach 2300 cals per day. Then I start to make up that difference through cals burned during cardio.
    2. I weigh only once per week. And adjust my cals and macros accordingly. My rough % marks are 40 C/ 30 P/ 30 F. This will change slightly as your BF gets lower. I always try to keep my protein to 1g per pound of body weight.
    3. I keep my lifting schedule the same in regards to strength. Obviously as your cals and BF drops so will your strength slightly. Due to physical requirements at work I like to keep my strength.
    4. I’ve found a rep range that I love Jesse. It’s 4 sets of 20/10/10/15 for each excercise. The idea is to use a weight for each set that pushes you near to failure for the last 2 or 3 reps while maintaining good form. You use the same weight for your set of 15 that you did for your set of 20. The idea behind this is if you pushed yourself enough during those first 3 sets that weight you used for the first set would not be possible for 20 reps on the last set. Hope that makes sense.

    I hope this helps brother.

    That totally makes sense, I like the rep range idea... You give 20 on the first then 10 for 2 then basically as many as you can on the last set if I'm understanding correctly...

    Right now for some lifts I train 8-10, some I go 4-6 and others 10-15... But always the same number on a given excersice... Changing up the reps seems like a great way max out a little more

    I'll probably up the protein as well..

    Thanks Man!
  • Mr_Healthy_Habits
    Mr_Healthy_Habits Posts: 12,578 Member
    Lean59man wrote: »
    When you drop weight you lose muscle so you get weaker (unless you are on drugs like the guy in the video).

    So naturally you have to either drop reps or the weight used in your exercises.

    Thanks for the advice, that makes sense... I guess as I lose fluid in the muscle, I'm going to lose reps.

    I'll probably choose to sacrifice the reps over weight as everyone suggests...

    Still going to fight like hell for each one though lol
  • Chieflrg
    Chieflrg Posts: 9,081 Member
    edited March 2018
    If you want to prevent atrophy during deficit eating, you would increase volume. Of course this means dropping intensity of volume work.
  • erickirb
    erickirb Posts: 12,277 Member
    When cutting i aim to keep intensity and frequency the same, but volume reduces

    This is similar to what I do.... instead of doing 5x5, I drop to 4x5 or something similar to that
  • ManBehindTheMask
    ManBehindTheMask Posts: 615 Member
    erickirb wrote: »
    When cutting i aim to keep intensity and frequency the same, but volume reduces

    This is similar to what I do.... instead of doing 5x5, I drop to 4x5 or something similar to that

    Yep, if any of the sets I can’t make 3 reps aiming for 5, i then lower the weight
  • ManBehindTheMask
    ManBehindTheMask Posts: 615 Member
    edited March 2018
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    If you want to prevent atrophy during deficit eating, you would increase volume. Of course this means dropping intensity of volume work.

    Why would you sacrifice intensity for volume? Curious
  • ijsantos2005
    ijsantos2005 Posts: 306 Member
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    If you want to prevent atrophy during deficit eating, you would increase volume. Of course this means dropping intensity of volume work.

    Why would you sacrifice intensity for volume? Curious

    This goes against what I think I know as well.
    Eagerly awaiting your response.
  • Chieflrg
    Chieflrg Posts: 9,081 Member
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    If you want to prevent atrophy during deficit eating, you would increase volume. Of course this means dropping intensity of volume work.

    Why would you sacrifice intensity for volume? Curious

    Because volume work is specific to driving progress within most programming.

    If one wants to prevent muscle loss specifically, one does more volume at the appropriate stress, not give less stimulas to the muscle. Less stimulas=atrophy.

    Dropping a set equates to less volume and less stimulas to the muscle. It would help with fatigue yes, but not necessarily with retaining muscle or gaining strength specifically.

    The exception is obviously overtraining.


  • Lean59man
    Lean59man Posts: 714 Member
    edited March 2018
    The magic total rep range for a weight exercise for natural folks seems to be in the range of 20 to 40 reps.

    So it could be (work sets not warmups)...

    sets x reps:
    10 x 3
    5 x 5
    4 x 6
    3 x 10
    3 x 8
    10 x 2
    12 x 2
    8 x 3
    3 x 12
    etc.

    Studies have even shown high rep sets (15 and higher) to be just as effective for hypertrophy. So 2 x 15 or 3 x 15 or 2 x 20, but 10 x 15? Probably not.

    People who train for power/strength use low rep sets (2-5) and usually do more sets for an exercise. You can train with higher weights which you need to do to increase limit strength.

    However, hypertrophy does not happen much at low volume. So either increase the rep range by doing higher reps per set (3 x 10) or do more sets with low reps (10 x 3 or 5 x 5). So 10 x 3 or 12 x 2, but probably not 3 x 2 (6 total reps) although this could work for strictly limit strength increases). Since limit power/strength is hard to improve at 3 x 10 that would not be a good idea.

    Intensity is usually defined as % of max but some folks (Vince Gironda) included other forms such as rest time between sets (shorter rest times = higher intensity).

    You can also do a little of both. When bench pressing do 5 x 3 with near limit weights and then reduce weight and do 2 x 12. Total reps = 39.

    You also can't go crazy and do 5 exercises per body part, each for 4 x 10 or 10 x 3, 3 times per week. (Unless you are on drugs. Then everything changes.)

    Looking at the routines of the old-time bodybuilders and you see they did only one or two exercises per body part when trying to gain muscle size. Only when training down for a contest would they increase the volume in order to burn calories and cut up.

    Doug Hepburn, one of the strongest power lifters/Olympic lifters of his time (1940s) did lots of low reps sets. 10 x 2s & 3s. He would also do a few higher rep "pump sets".

    Seems complicated but just common sense.








  • rybo
    rybo Posts: 5,430 Member
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    If you want to prevent atrophy during deficit eating, you would increase volume. Of course this means dropping intensity of volume work.

    Why would you sacrifice intensity for volume? Curious

    Because volume work is specific to driving progress within most programming.

    If one wants to prevent muscle loss specifically, one does more volume at the appropriate stress, not give less stimulas to the muscle. Less stimulas=atrophy.

    Dropping a set equates to less volume and less stimulas to the muscle. It would help with fatigue yes, but not necessarily with retaining muscle or gaining strength specifically.

    The exception is obviously overtraining.


    I was curious to hear your reasoning as it's the first time I've ever heard the suggestion of increasing volume during a cut.