T Nation

Cardio for Powerlifting

Hry guys,
I’ll go straight to the point. I’m training three times a week mon/wed/frid. . I squat every workout, shoulder press 2/week and bench press once. Recently I decided I want a bit more definition to my body ( not as on ’ bodybuilding’ level , but just a bit ) in addition, increase my endurance, explosiveness, speed because I started to feel kind of ‘rusty’ , you know, like an old man. Though in terms of strength, everything is fine.

So I looked up a few programs and basically it’s a toss between short interval sprinting, rope jumping etc… and complexes, you know, when you take a few exercises like squat, push press, rows etc… and do one after another with light weights, then rest for a minute or more and repeat. My question is, which type of workout ( traditional cardio, no weights, just sprinting, jumping, abs, pull ups etc ) or complexes ( exercises with weights) would help me better to lose some fat WITHOUT losing any muscle, basically stay at the same weight but defined.

And if it’s the second choice, how will that interfere with my primary sport, which is powerlifting. Has anyone tried to combine cardio and powerlifting and how did it workout? Thanks in advance guys…

Interval sprinting, hill sprinting, sled dragging, prowler pushing, tire flipping, etc…

You can add cardio in, but as Jim Wendler says, something will suffer (assumin an already full training load). If your focus is on conditioning, then focus on conditioning wihle trying to maintain everything else. Eventually your body will get used to the extra demands and you can begin your quest for strength again.

Hill Sprints, Prowler Pushes, and just a bit of steady state cardio (less than 30 minutes) are my favorite options.

This is good advice. I like to use the rower for my slower cardio. And since I workout at a commercial I use the spin bike for my “sprint” intervals. But if I had access to a prowler and a nice hill, I’d definitely choose that over my current options.

I often times ride my mountain bike in between squat sessions. So long as I don’t hammer through the woods and keep it semi short, 5 miles or less, I feel it actually HELPS me squat better the next time. It definitely helps flush in some fresh blood and gets rid of the sore. If I choose to hammer the shit outta the trails, it will take 20-30# off my maxes but who cares, I’m having lots of fun and I don’t get paid to lift weights. You wouldn’t probably want to do this if there’s a meet in your immediate future but on a regular training plan why would you NOT do cardio for the sake of “keeping all your weight” on the bar.

For about three months I used to squat twice a day, everyday, and not only that nothing bad really happened, but my squat actually went up. Judging on that I would think that maybe throwing in two days of cardio wouldn’t really hurt my powerlifting numbers that much.

Though, on the other hand, doing cardio and doing 1 rep maxes are different animals. I think it depends on how intense that cardio would be. Probably the best would be short, but intense stuff, like sprints, rather than long ’ distance’ running.Do a few of those for maybe 15 or 20 minutes and go home and rest.

Or if I chose to work with weights, I could try and incorporate elements of ‘speed training’ like they do at west side, but it would consist of very little breaks and a few different exercises, just to get the heart rate up, but with light weights, as not to sacrifice my main training on other days.

P.S. I train in a simple commercial gym and I don’t have access to such things as prowler, tyres or other stuff of that nature.

[quote]devoted wrote:
P.S. I train in a simple commercial gym and I don’t have access to such things as prowler, tyres or other stuff of that nature.[/quote]

Hills it is then :slight_smile:

Thanks :slight_smile:

You might find this useful:

[quote]devoted wrote:
P.S. I train in a simple commercial gym and I don’t have access to such things as prowler, tyres or other stuff of that nature.[/quote]

Sometimes what you do outside the gym is better than inside…

go by a tire place and get a FREE old tire. Then cut a hole in the sidewall with your knife. Then attach a rope or a tow strap through the holes, then drag that thing around as a sled. cheap, BRUTAL and you can do lots of things with it, such as hold it on the “bead”, slam it on the ground. Toss it into the air “keg toss style”, beat it down with a sledge hammer. Need more weight, no prob toss a dumbbell on it. Hell I have my 5 yo sit on it and it makes if FREAKING TOUGH ha The options are endless. here’s a pic of mine…

Ditto on the home made sled. I got a tire, went to home depot, put my old shitty non standardized weights to use. And Voila…endless capabilities.

Search for “Drag your butt into shape” and See Tim’s article about cardio for strength athletes.

Ideally I will do hills/prowler after squat and deadlift days, and on non lifting days will pick some more steady state cardio like incline treadmill, stepmill, etc for health and help recovery/mobility. This light stuff should not impact your recovery but aid it.

Thanks Tim, I have read your article earlier. That’s where I got an idea about very short and intense sprints…what shoul I eat to stay in the same weight but more muscular? Currently I’m trying to cut on carbohydrates and just eat lean meat. Some people say, when you cut on carbs, your energy levels go down a bit, but I personally haven’t noticed any drop in strength.

However, because i get hungry faster when not getting carbs, i had to increase my meal frequencies. Is this the right eating plan for maintains the current weight but change fat into muscle? Maybe that’s a better question in a bodybuilding forum. Thanks for your input guys…

[quote]devoted wrote:
Thanks Tim, I have read your article earlier. That’s where I got an idea about very short and intense sprints…what shoul I eat to stay in the same weight but more muscular? Currently I’m trying to cut on carbohydrates and just eat lean meat. Some people say, when you cut on carbs, your energy levels go down a bit, but I personally haven’t noticed any drop in strength.

However, because i get hungry faster when not getting carbs, i had to increase my meal frequencies. Is this the right eating plan for maintains the current weight but change fat into muscle? Maybe that’s a better question in a bodybuilding forum. Thanks for your input guys…[/quote]

Most people reduce carbs and increase protein/maintain fat when trying to change body composition. The reduced energy levels are more for maintaining high intensity energy such as completing long term workouts, your actual strength should not be too affected (as in your 1 rep max). You might find either my carb cycling article or The Simple Diet articles to be useful to alter your weight. Remember you don’t actually turn muscle into fat or vice versa but you burn fat for energy and in turn build new muscle. I’d pay most attention to your waist, if it is getting bigger you are gaining some fat, if it is getting smaller you are losing fat.

Hope that helps, if you want to give me more specifics (height/weight/current bodyfat/current cals in and %'s eaten of carbs/pro/fat I could give you more specific info)

[quote]Tim Henriques wrote:

[quote]devoted wrote:
Thanks Tim, I have read your article earlier. That’s where I got an idea about very short and intense sprints…what shoul I eat to stay in the same weight but more muscular? Currently I’m trying to cut on carbohydrates and just eat lean meat. Some people say, when you cut on carbs, your energy levels go down a bit, but I personally haven’t noticed any drop in strength.

However, because i get hungry faster when not getting carbs, i had to increase my meal frequencies. Is this the right eating plan for maintains the current weight but change fat into muscle? Maybe that’s a better question in a bodybuilding forum. Thanks for your input guys…[/quote]

Most people reduce carbs and increase protein/maintain fat when trying to change body composition. The reduced energy levels are more for maintaining high intensity energy such as completing long term workouts, your actual strength should not be too affected (as in your 1 rep max). You might find either my carb cycling article or The Simple Diet articles to be useful to alter your weight. Remember you don’t actually turn muscle into fat or vice versa but you burn fat for energy and in turn build new muscle. I’d pay most attention to your waist, if it is getting bigger you are gaining some fat, if it is getting smaller you are losing fat.

Hope that helps, if you want to give me more specifics (height/weight/current bodyfat/current cals in and %'s eaten of carbs/pro/fat I could give you more specific info)
[/quote]

Great advice. If you are looking for some body re-comp (not weight loss) then diet is 99% of it. All of the perfect planned and executed cardio on Earth is not going to get you where you want to be. Also, x2 on carb cycling if you have the patience and the time to measure and plan all your food.

Check out carb backloading as well. It is great for powerlifting because you are never actually in a glycogen depleted state like other low carb/IF diets.