As a novice lifter, what’s an ideal range to hover for off-season training? Are there any benefits to spending an off-season training cycle say 15 – 20lbs over competition weight or would the cut back down to comp weight during pre-contest training make any strength gained in the off-season negligible?
My advice would actually be the opposite. Spend your offseason at or below where you want to train for the meet at. For example, when lifting at 220 I want to be 235 for my contest prep. In the off-season I will hover around 230. This lets me eat into the weight class a little bit and have the calorie intake to support my hardest training sessions.
As you alluded to, losing weight while preparing a meet is difficult. Getting stronger and losing at the same time is a huge challenge, so I would rather be a little light 10-12 weeks out and have the room to let me body weight climb a few pounds. This is less stressful mentally and physically.
If you’re a novice lifter and are only into your first few meets, I would say don’t even worry about weight classes unless you really have some fat to lose. There are so many other aspects you need to master first before adding the stress of making weight. Then once you start cutting for meets, you’re going to have to experiment to see how much of a weight cut you can handle and still perform, everyone will tolerate the same amount of weight differently. I personally really hate cutting weight and I make sure to stay within 15lbs of contest weight, 10 ideally.
I agree with Andrew. As new lifter focus on form, technique and mastering your goals while eating and making diet decisions for performance and health and not worry about making a weight class. Once you have a little more experience then you decide to go down or up a weight class.
I would never cut weight for a meet unless it’s absolutely necessary to break a record. Cutting weight adds an unnecessary variable to your meet prep and unless you know what you’re doing, it can be very detrimental. If you want to be your strongest at a meet, put some weight on. I’m sure if you ask anyone who’s cut weight for a meet, you’ll find a lot more negative than positive.
Good info above.
It really depends on your level.
I agree on the records part. Don’t cut and grow into classes. But, if you must cut, do it the correct way and follow this: Cutting weight book
Never take it lightly. It can be much more difficult and vary a great deal from time to time.