Skip to main content

So it’s almost meet time! By this time you should already know what weight class you are competing in. However, for many powerlifters this means doing some kind of cut to make weight. The goal is generally to be the biggest person in your weight class for the best chance to lift the most weight. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is by doing a water cut. By cutting water you can shed 5 to 10 pounds temporarily which means you can be overall heavier within your class.

How much can you water cut?

You want to shed water without affecting strength. Generally it is recommended that you don’t cut more than 5-10% of your body weight for the best recovery and lift day. This also largely depends on the time of your weigh in. If you are competing in USPA you’ll have a 24 hour weigh in. This will give you a full day to to rehydrate prior to lifting which will allow you to cut more water without hypothetically affecting strength. If you are competing USAPL it is a 2 hour weigh in. This gives you very limited time to rehydrate, limiting how much you should actually cut. Overall, no matter what federation you compete in you should plan on not cutting anymore than 10% of your total body weight for maintenance of strength. Any additional weight should be cut in the weeks prior.

What will you need?
Water. Obviously. In the 5 days the water cut spans you will intake approx. 6 gallons of water. Some people like to buy the water all in gallons for ease of tracking. I generally buy one gallon and refill it.

Salt/sodium. You’ll vary the amount of salt you intake over the days, initially increasing your daily amount and then drastically cutting it. This will affect how much water your muscles are storing.

Caffeine or diuretic. Depending on the timing of your weigh in, you may chose to take a diuretic to help shed excess water weight. I generally stick to caffeine.

Laxative. The last thing you want to do is weigh in with a full bowel. I know TMI but making sure you have a bowel movement the day before/of us important for achieving your lowest weight.

Meal plan. Have your meals planned out for the week. No point in going through a big water cut to blow it by eating donuts (hehe) and excess calories that week.

Pedialyte. And glycerin. This is mine and Michael’s go to for post weigh ins. Once you weigh in you want to replenish your muscles and body. Pedialyte is a great way to do this. We prepare it by splitting the pedialyte with equal parts water and then also add glycerin. Why glycerin? It helps hyperhydrate your muscles. Just take your time initially with your drink to make sure it sits ok on your empty stomach.

What if I’m not at weight following my water cut?
Depending on the timing, a few sessions in the sauna can be added. Start at a 15 minute bout and then step out and dry off. This is imperative! If you don’t dry off, the water can reabsorb and counterproductive. Weigh yourself and see where you’re at. This is not suggested if you are doing a two hour weigh in.

Spitting also becomes an option. Use a sour candy or gum to create saliva and sit off excess water. It is possible to lose a pound or so through this method.

Powerliftingtowin has a great article that details the when for each step of the water cut. Check out their article for a more in depth look and a super helpful chart that lays it all out!

Thanks for reading! Look for our next installment in the powerlifting meet series – attempt picks.

Rachel, @brains.and.brawn

Output Performance

Author Output Performance

More posts by Output Performance