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Cardio and Powerlifting

Have gotten conflicting info googling this so thought I’d get some input here on cardio and powerlifting.

I guess the categories of weight management and performance should be seperate.

Maybe some talking points:

-Cardio taking up recovery resources that could go to lifting gains

-Type of cardio and negative effects on lifting (Walking vs Cycling, LISS vs Intervals, Modalities/loading that are close to lifting like sled push)

-Benefits of increased cardio to performance like faster recovery between sets, workouts, events or during a meet if competing.

What do you or don’t you guys do in terms of conditioning or cardio and why?

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LISS helps with recovery and a healthy heart.

Sled dragging can count towards LISS, recovery, GPP and much more depending on how you do it.

If you don’t have the conditioning/work capacity to do a single rep every 6 minutes then you’re probably going to have a rough go at some meets. On the inverse you also need a great base of cardio conditioning to make it through a 12 hour meet day. Running out of energy at 2pm is bad news when you’ve got 6 hours of meet left.

For me I look at it like this, 2-3 sessions of 20-30 minutes of moderate cardio won’t hurt your “gains” if it does then your gains need to take a back seat while your base conditioning increases anyhow.

The more work you can do in a shorter amount of time and recovery from the more you can handle later. Who is going to get stronger the person that can only get 1 rep past 90% in before running out of steam or the person who gets 2-4 ? Generally speaking the person who gets 2-4 reps past 90% will get stronger.

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More intense cardio (like HIIT-type stuff) is better to do far out from a meet if at all because it will negatively impact recovery. A moderate amount of LISS shouldn’t hurt. You can also do other stuff like cluster sets (CAT/speed work) and just generally keep breaks short between sets.

Doing more cardio to lose weight is generally a bad idea if you are concerned about performance. Diet is the main factor for weight management.


Most of my cardio is martial arts or walking. The articles I’ve read seem to agree that walking has little or no interference with recovery and might even help recovery between lifting sessions. It helps that I can walk to work.