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Low Weight High Reps for Cutting Myth – Do Low Reps!

Low Weight High Reps for Cutting Myth – Do Low Reps!

The common workout approach to cutting is low weight high reps. You will here this from trainees, trainers, coaches, and nearly all alike. I could not disagree more with this theory . . . actually myth.

When I first started working out, I too wondered what a weight lifting routine for cutting should look like and so I hopped on Google. According to every article, low weight high reps was the best approach.

Since then, I have looked more into the science of how things work and why they do while eliminating the “broscience” along with learning from my personal training and training others.

I can assure you low reps are the best approach for muscle preservation while still burning a lot of calories to strip fat and get lean! I’ll continue to support this throughout the article!


High Reps vs. Low Reps for Cutting

a cut bodybuilder that didn't use low weight high reps

First and foremost, in accordance with was said above, this is the most publicized way of working out when cutting. The thought process behind this theory is that high reps burns more calories.

Many also have this image in their head that to obtain a lean chiseled physique, you need to do high reps low weight, and to get huge like the bodybuilding Mr. Olympia, you need to lift heavy weight and much harder!

Unfortunately, this just isn’t true in the slightest and totally unsupported by any science and modern-day knowledge.

All of this combined creates and shakily supports the low weight high rep theory, but this theory is flawed for two main reasons.


Reason 1 – Loss of Strength

In the beginning stages of weightlifting, you can get away with the low weight high rep approach, but it won’t be optimal. If you’re past the beginning stages of weightlifting, you will actually lose some strength and muscle in a cut regardless of your approach.

When done properly through nutrition and training though, you can minimize this loss!

This is why you will want to lift heavy (6-8 reps) during a cut so that you can preserve strength and muscle the best!

When lifting in a higher rep range of something like 12-15 reps, you won’t be lifting heavy enough weight to raise strength at a 1RM past the beginning weight lifting stage. Training in a rep range of something like 12-15 reps for too long can actually cause you too lose strength at a 1RM!

Given that you will already lose some strength and muscle in a cut, you won’t want to do a high rep range because this won’t help to fight muscle and strength loss!


Reason 2 – Calorie Burn

Yes, you will burn more calories in the low weight high reps workout, but the calorie burn of a low weight high rep workout is not a drastic difference from a low rep high weight workout. Ultimately my point with this is that the slightest tweak in your calorie consumption will offset this calorie difference from light weight to heavy weight just fine without any struggle.

Truth is, for many trying to lose fat, you don’t even have to workout. Also keep in mind I said “many”, not all! A 50-year-old woman, the geriatric population, and already lean people will generally have to workout to lose those last few pounds or any significant amount of weight at all, especially over the long run.

There are also a few other exceptions of course.

Basically though, this low weight high rep approach isn’t even necessary for a cut, just slightly lower your calorie intake if needed and lift in a lower rep range to preserve strength and muscle!


What Cutting Workouts Should Look Like

Overall, your cutting workout will generally look the same as your normal workouts.

You’ll want to keep in mind though that you’re not bulking, so lots of volume, even if you’re lifting heavy won’t be necessary or efficient and may actually cause more muscle and strength loss because you have surpassed your body’s ability to recover.

The same goes for techniques such as partials, pre-exhausting, drop sets, etc.

Just keep the essentials which will be mainly compound exercises (multi-joint) with some added isolation exercises and still attempt to set PR’s even though they will be hindered.

When it comes time to change your workout as normal, still attempt to stay in a lower rep range (6-8 reps) while still creating that change necessary for progress.

Tying it All Together

Essentially the low weight high reps theory is based on the principle of higher calorie burn. Yes, the calorie burn is greater but calorie manipulation trumps everything thus a simple change will offset the change from high reps to low reps.

In addition to this, low reps high weight will preserve muscle and strength.

This is the way it should be done. You don’t want many months of hard work to be lost during your cut!

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About Brennen Elboeck

I'm Brennen, the founder of I want to give hundreds of thousands of people science based, practical physique and life transforming information! To never miss a post or what's new make sure to sign up for our newsletter above!

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