T Nation

Conditioning Kills Me Now


#1

I am hoping some more seasoned members can provide input on a problem I am having. For background, I spent much of 2005-2009 running around 13 miles per week along with a misguided weightlifting routine with no progression goals defined. I have since moved on to a 5/3/1 strength program which I have been using for the past 6.5 months.

As of now my PRs are deadlift 380lbs, squat 325lbs, bench press 245lbs OHP 155lbs. Where I am going with this is that I am comfortable with lifting relatively decent amounts of weight and don't feel overly taxed after each session even though I hit a heart rate of up to 176 bpm. This differs from when I have my cardio day once a week wherein I feel extremely drained and feeble for the next 12 hours.

The cardio session is only about 20 minutes and amounts to two miles not including a half mile cool down. I feel almost equally wiped out whether I use a continuous elevation and speed at a heart rate of 145-160BPM or whether I use an HIIT format where I am hitting 180bpm. My speed and incline can get up to 4.5% and 8.5MPH. Being this wiped out did not happen in the past and I have the added issue of having very sore hamstrings after running which also did not happen in the past.

I've considered muscle fiber differences from the past to now due to taking up powerlifting but not sure if that is the cause of my cardio day being so taxing. I have also seen opposing views on powerlifters needing HIIT vs steady state cardio vs light walking and conditionig but as I mentioned, I feel about the same after HIIT or steady state.

By the way, I have considered other conditioning such as yokes, farmers walks, wheelbarrows, sled pulls or pushes, etc but I live in an apartment and do not have the storage space for such items, nor do I have a place to take them to actually use.

Has anyone else experienced the same issue? Any advice?

I apologize if my questions are all over the place.


#2

It’s not the same program seeing as Joe Defranco uses a modified Westside program, but what he uses instead of a second day of weightlifting for the lower body is a leg conditioning day (sprinting/jogging/etc.) Haven’t done 5/3/1 myself, but you could lower the volume or intensity on either your squat or deadlift day to allow more recovery while not sacrificing as much results. If your work capacity gets better eventually you may not have to. Have you been deloading regularly? Might help if you haven’t been deloading enough.


#3

I have been deloading regularly. As for lowering volume/intensity and the like, what is interesting here is that my results are not being impacted. I am not stalling, I continue to hit PRs, my sprinting speed has not decreased, my training volume and intensity are not impacted. I can deal with sore hamstrings, that isn’t a big deal. For me that is something you just deal with until you get used to it such as how I almost enjoy quad and erector spinae DOMS. What is harder to deal with is feeling wiped out after the conditioning. My first thought was that maybe HIIT conditioning is hitting my CNS too much and it the max effort training was enough stress already. This theory flew out the window when I realized low intensity conditioning does the same.

Do powerlifters need to be hitting such high BPM or MET or whatever unit of measure when this is already happening during weight training? I have three dogs and walk them 13 miles a week anyway. I am not hitting more than 120BPM here but is this enough? What really defines effective conditioning with respect to effort, cardiovascular impact, etc?


#4

To be honest, I think you are over thinking… pretty much everything. there are so many numbers in your first post… bpm, incline, speed, it’s all just overdoing it haha.

Numbers that I think are more important: how old are you, how much do you weight/what is your height?

Honestly, the answer to this question is going to be entirely dependent on who you are as an individual and what your goals are. If you are wiped out from conditioning, it’s probably because either you are working too hard, or your conditioning sucks. So your options are to either back off of the conditioning, or back off of the lifting. Obviously there are all kinds of other factors too - the more you eat, the more you will be able to recover from. The more you sleep, the same. There is no “right” amount of conditioning or work capacity, so it’s hard to know exactly what you want an answer to, or what direction to point you in.

If all you care about is being strong, eat as much as you can, sleep as much as you can, and lift as much as you can. Obviously you care about conditioning, but to what degree is going o decide what your next step is. If you really care about getting stronger, and just want to keep your conditioning solid, maybe back off the HITT stuff and just stick to the dog walking lol. Or, if you care more about feeling healthy and being able to run/do conditioning without feeling like shit, back off the strength stuff a little and focus on the conditioning, until you can do it without feeling destroyed by it. It might slow your strength gains, but in the end increase your work capacity. Or, keep both at the same intensity level, and just try and eat more/sleep more to see if that helps your recovery. The choice is yours, gotham.


#5

[quote]N.K. wrote:
To be honest, I think you are over thinking… pretty much everything. there are so many numbers in your first post… bpm, incline, speed, it’s all just overdoing it haha.

Numbers that I think are more important: how old are you, how much do you weight/what is your height?

Honestly, the answer to this question is going to be entirely dependent on who you are as an individual and what your goals are. If you are wiped out from conditioning, it’s probably because either you are working too hard, or your conditioning sucks. So your options are to either back off of the conditioning, or back off of the lifting. Obviously there are all kinds of other factors too - the more you eat, the more you will be able to recover from. The more you sleep, the same. There is no “right” amount of conditioning or work capacity, so it’s hard to know exactly what you want an answer to, or what direction to point you in.

If all you care about is being strong, eat as much as you can, sleep as much as you can, and lift as much as you can. Obviously you care about conditioning, but to what degree is going o decide what your next step is. If you really care about getting stronger, and just want to keep your conditioning solid, maybe back off the HITT stuff and just stick to the dog walking lol. Or, if you care more about feeling healthy and being able to run/do conditioning without feeling like shit, back off the strength stuff a little and focus on the conditioning, until you can do it without feeling destroyed by it. It might slow your strength gains, but in the end increase your work capacity. Or, keep both at the same intensity level, and just try and eat more/sleep more to see if that helps your recovery. The choice is yours, gotham. [/quote]

I agree with this, reverts back to the quote of “serving two masters.” You can work on your lifting or your running. When working on lifting, your lifting will increase, when working on running, that will increase. When working on both, one is going to increase at the cost of the other. The question is which are you more willing to sacrifice?

There are grey areas where lack of conditioning can hurt your strength or vice versa, but I would not focus on that bridge till you come to it.


#6

It’s been a while since I’ve read 5/3/1 but I don’t believe Wendler recommends long distance running IIRC. He’s a proponent of prowler sprints and hill sprints. Have you tried those instead?


#7

If 5% or more bodyweight it will definitely effect your running.

How many days a week are you running?

and what’s the longest you’ve done in the last year or so?

If all you ever do is 20 minutes, soon that will be your max. Adding in one long training session once every two weeks to once a month would make those lesser ones significantly easier.

Tight hamstrings generally means rest or you are over doing it.


#8

I am not doing any long distance running. I am only running one day a week. The longest I’ve done in the last year is only 4.5 miles. I don’t know about 20 minutes becoming my max. I am not having any problems completing the runs/sprints. In fact, I find myself finishing them quite easily, the problem is more around how I feel after. Not the first 30 minutes after but from 30 minutes to about 12 hours after (until I go to bed for the night) I become very tired. I am eating enough, drinking enough, getting enough micronutrients, etc. Unfortunately I don’t have a place to use a prowler nor to store one. Additionally, the only hills I have around here are topped with vegetation and are too uneven - I run up and down them sometimes but worry that over the long term I am going to find myself spraining an ankle or something.

I only lift three days a week. Yesterday was my conditioning day and what I did seemed to help a bit. I spent about 35 minutes cycling through burpees, mountain climbers, groiners, box jumps, jump squat, lunge walks, plyo pushups, etc, maintaining 125-160BPM. Following that I walked one mile at 3.6MPH and a 12% incline. Although I did walk my dogs three miles that day across uneven bayou terrain and also washed my car (all of this at 91 degrees and 57% humidity in Houston), I seem to not feel nearly as drained. I’m not sure what the implications of this change are but I love sprinting and would not be happy to program it out. Are mountain climbers, box jumps, jump squats, pogo jumps, high knees, butt kicks, etc. anywhere as good as sprinting?

Maybe I just want the best of both worlds - perfect heart, optimum cardio output, sky high VO2 max and maximum strength. The odd thing about my conditioning is that in the past I have only ever (speculatively) seen it impact my bench press.


#9

“crossfit”


#10

But seriously, wanting the best of both worlds is tough. And a powerlifting program might not be the way to get the best of both worlds, you might need to do significantly less lifting in order to be able to recover from both.


#11

well, i guess i would rather lift than run if i had to choose. are you saying the conditioning routine i tried sounded like crossfit, even without any weights, cleans, presses, whatever else they do? i hope not, i don’t like crossfit. i did have someone else tell me it might have included too much plyometrics, any opinion on that?