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Thread: Is it possible to lose hypertrophy and maintain strength?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Reala's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Is it possible to lose hypertrophy and maintain strength?

    Hi guys,

    As an athlete who fights in Mixed Martial Arts I've been toying with the idea of moving down to the 70kg weight class. I've currently been fighting at 72kg, but it isn't officially a weight division - it is a catch-weight and it has proven hard to get matches lately.

    Over here we have 66kg, 70kg, 77kg and 84kg - I would be tiny at the 77kg weight class, so it seems logical that I would cut down rather than go up.

    I don't like to cut water weight, my body fat percentage is always low (about 6-8%) so my only real option is to go down to 70kg by losing some hypertrophy - I took a couple of years off a while back and did a lot of bodybuilding stuff (8-12reps), so I believe I probably have some muscle to lose.

    Currently my bench is at 120kg, 140kg squat, 170kg dead and 75kg press. So my numbers are 'respectable' for an athlete, I guess.

    What I don't want to do is drop weight lifting for running - I feel that running creates slow paced, power-lacking fighters and I don't want to be one of those. I already do plenty of sprints and circuits (3-4 times a week in addition to training MMA 5 days a week).

    With all this is mind, is there any way to maintain strength and lose hypertrophy or is this scientifically impossible?
    MMA: AFL's UK Bantamweight Champion (AKA: AFL UK Skinny Bastard Champion)

  2. #2
    Senior Member GazzyG's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Melton Mowbray, England, UK
    Very doable, as long as you train hard and heavy. Your CNS will take up the slack, plus you'll find yourself tightening up your form to try to compensate, too.
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  3. #3
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    Westside Barbell, OH
    Actually at that low of a bodyfat percentage you're probably going to experience at least some strength loss. You are already very lean, more weight loss is going to slow your CNS recovery.

    Over a length of time could you dump some muscle mass and still be as strong? I'm really not sure. Kinda doubtful.

    I'm more the kinda guy who would rather get bigger to fill out the class rather than cut down

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  4. #4
    Wannabebig Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    The trick wirh Mma is the mixed part. Its tough to get better in one area without dropping off in another. If you want to drop hypertrophy, eat less and run more. That is a sure way to chew up muscle. It doesnt sound like you have much fat to burn either so the majority of loss will be water and muscle which will hurt strength. Depending on your style that may not be the end of the world. Look at fighters like the Gracies or Anderson Silva, they use next to no power and both have been successful. Really depends what style fighter you are

  5. #5
    Wannabebig Member 700's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Temporarily living in VA
    just to be clear:
    "Hypertrophy" refers to "muscle growth" i.e. the addition of new muscle. If you want to structure a program that targets strength development without adding new muscle - that is achievable.

    If you are after muscular "atrophy" or loss of muscle mass, that is something else. If you are actively shedding muscle tissue, this will take a toll on your system and is not conducive to strength development.

    IMHO, the best you could hope for is to lose mass and strength simultaneously and then build your strength back up over time w/o triggering too much hypertrophy.

    Alternatively, you could try to drop more fat...
    "Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness" - Edward Stanley

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