Introduction The structure of LK proofs presents intriguing combinatorial aspects which turn out to be very difficult to study [6,8]. It is well-known that as soon as one wants to intervene over the structure of a proof to simplify it, the complexity of the proof might increase enormously [16,12,14]. There is a link between the presence of cut formulas with nested quantifiers and the non-elementary expansion needed to prove a theorem without the help of such formulas. If one considers the graph defined by tracing the flow of occurrences of formulas (in the sense of [2]) for proofs allowing a non-elementary compression, one Preprint submitted to Elsevier Preprint 7 November 1997 finds that such graphs contain cycles [5] or almost cyclic structures[6]. These cycles codify in a small space (i.e. a proof with a small number of lines) all the information which is present in the proof once cuts on formulas wit