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HIIT and Powerlifting

I have a quick question. Hopefully you guys can help. I’ve asked outhef site’s forums and no one will respond.

I want to keep my heart and lungs healthy while powerlifting. And help keep my weight under control, just as peace of mind. So I started this morning witj HIIT workouts. Today was push ups, air squats, Aussie Pullups, sprints, for 15 minutes. I then did chest a few hours later, after 2 meals. I knew I wouldn’t be 100% after. But it made me feel weaker then I thought.
My question is. Will doing these things together make me weaker? Should I do a different kind of cardio? I would like to do both. But I don’t want to loose my total strength.

HIIT stresses your body in a similar way that a moderate weight training session would, to stay in good shape I would do some Steady state cardio 3 or 4 times a week for 30 minutes, and then doing prowlers in intervals one day a week. It works very well and doesn’t take a huge chunk of training energy. You should feel relatively energized and good after the LISS cardio


Watch your diet

It might. Doing cardio, especially before training, is a bad idea if you care about how much weight you are going to lift. These days most high level powerlifters and coaches who are into cardio recommend something like 1-2 LISS session of 15-20 minutes a week. HIIT uses the same energy systems as lifting weights (ATP/CP), but you could just lift more weights. You could try doing submaximal work with short rest periods, basically speed work. There are different way to do this, not just the Westside way. Josh Bryant uses this with his lifters, you can probably find some articles or videos on it. Take a look at this program:

Chad Wesley Smith used to be coached by Josh Bryant, you can see he uses the same method.

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If you are going to do HIIT, I would keep it at the end of the session. If you are doing HIIT correctly, you will be working close to the max heart rate zone. I personally can’t live in that zone with extended work ratios and short rest ratios and don’t recommend using alot of the protocols slopped together on the internet. You should do a little research on energy systems and intensity and work:rest ratios and program accordingly.

A few of my favorites are supersetting KB swings, Airdyne sprints, sprints, burpees, jumps, throws etc with heavier strength work (+80% of 1rm). 5-15 seconds on/full rest between sets. Whatever you pick needs to be dynamic. When, focusing on hypertrophy I like supersetting my assistance, with my work sets. 1:3-4 ratio works good. Lactate Tolerance Training works well as a standalone session. Start at 50% of 1rm and set a timer and perform 20 sets of 2-3 reps and try to beat your time every week.

I would keep the first two options I mentioned to twice a week max and another 1-2 sessions of steady state cardio. Think Airdyne at a pace that allows you to breathe through your nose with your mouth closed. This also works well between your weightlifting sets as active recovery. I would check out Joel Jamiesons’ website 8weeksout. He’s probably the most qualified guy out there right now on energy systems training methods and has put out a ton of free info to read through. 50 Greyskull approved conditioning workouts for the modern Viking is a free PDF if you are looking for finishers and challenges that go great at the end of lifting sessions and are pretty brutal/fun. Lol

I am watching my diet. I just have head noise haha.

Sorry for not knowing a lot of stuff.
But what are some examples of LISS Cardio.
And by lifting more weights docyou mean like more sets and reps?

LISS = Low Intensity Steady State, basically you could do 30 mins on a stationary bike or walk on a treadmill with some incline.

I agree with steady state cardio. I prefer it on off days. It won’t sap strength for PL.

yeah totally fine to combine the two if done sensibly.

This is a good sort of way to structure, One balls-out day just doing HIIT/sprints and then a couple days just adding a bit of metabolic work as finishers after heavy lifting…

Walking, jogging, riding a bike

Yes. You can only recover from so much training so it only makes sense to make it specific to your goals. It is easy to overdo HIIT and it is hard to recover from compared to LISS, so better to increase training volume (to a point that you can still handle) and do LISS if you want to do cardio.

The key to LISS, considering powerlifting is your main sport you compete in, I assume, is to keep your heart rate, between 120-130 bpm or about 65-70% of max heart rate and use LISS as active recovery. Any kind of maximal effort activities put your nervous system in a sympathetic dominance state. Think fight or flight response. Using LISS as active recovery will help with returning back to your parasympathetic dominance, flush out metabolites and promote repair. I wouldn’t use more sets and reps without any more in mind, other than very light flush work. Reverse hypers, band tricep extensions, sled drags, etc. Any energy systems or cardio work for powerlifting is just general prepared fitness and should be used to promote recovery and not push yourself into a further recovery deficit. Honestly, the further you can get away from the competition movements, while still staying in the movement pattern, the better.

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I was very disappointed these weren’t pullups done upside down.

I heard you can do them with a koala on your back for extra resistance.

I should probably clarify what I was saying about adding more volume. The way I see it is that if you have the energy and motivation to do HIIT on top of your regular training then you probably aren’t training very hard to begin with. More training volume will increase your results, as long as it is still within your ability to recover. This is not for losing weight or conditioning or anything like that, just putting energy into things that will actually pay off.

If I added HIIT into my current training I’m sure my lifts would go down, I used to do stuff like pushing a prowler, farmer’s walk, or sprints but they are hard to recover from and don’t actually make you stronger. They can help to increase work capacity but you can accomplish the same thing by lifting weights.

I disagree that they dont make you stronger. That’s why guys like Josh Bryant put them into off-season work because they will pay off down the line.

Part of the idea there is to take a break from higher volume training, this can build or maintain work capacity with less of the same stress than what they do the rest of the year. Also from what I have seen he gets his lifters doing heavy farmer’s walks and sled drags, which are not just for conditioning but also to build muscle. If you were going to reduce volume of actual lifting in the offseason and do non-specific work in it’s place then this makes sense, but the question is what are you actually trying to accomplish? If the objective is to lose weight then diet needs to be addressed, if he has poor work capacity/aerobic capacity then LISS or controlled rest periods can accomplish the same thing without affecting recovery.

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Yes, absolutely. If one were doing allot of alactic or glycolytic work in their work sets, adding more in the form of HIIT would probably do more harm, than good. There’s guys out there who love finishers, me being one, I just can’t tolerate much of it for extended periods of time. The guys that can, are in the realm of getting into freakish imo. I noticed that you mentioned sled drags, prowler pushes alongside sprints, so I’m assuming you go pretty heavy with those? I also recall you experimenting with Westside a little? Have you tried lightening the load and exertion on those?

Not really, I think the heaviest I ever went on the prowler was 180, the weight itself wasn’t really challenging but after a few rounds with short breaks it gets hard. I was going 40 or 50 yards (can’t remember exactly, but I did measure it) and depending on the day it was between 8 and 14 rounds, breaks were 30 or 60 seconds. The surface makes a bigger difference than a few pounds, I was pushing it in a rough, old parking lot, a couple times I did it in the rain and I had to take weight off because the wet surface made it way harder. When I used to do farmer’s walks it was with 135lbs dumbbells, the biggest that the gym had, I was probably walking 50 metres or something like that. Again, the weight wasn’t a huge challenge but I found these to fatigue my back (upper and lower) unlike the prowler. Sprints are OK I guess, although they obviously aren’t a strength exercise, but they were kind of hard on my ankles after a while which is the main reason I stopped doing them. Running on grass probably would have made it easier.

So maybe I should correct myself on this statement:

If you were to do real heavy prowler pushes, like something that makes you stop because you can’t physically push it any further, that would definitely do something for building strength and muscle. However, it’s not really specific to squatting or deadlifting so the actual carryover is questionable, but you would get something out of it. Same with farmer’s walks. But again, that would not be an HIIT training protocol (which is the subject of this thread), and if you do HIIT until you can’t physically continue it will cause a hell of a lot of fatigue and won’t be worth it. I’m also pretty sure it won’t make you stronger, unless you are weak and out of shape to begin with. There were a few times I went a little overboard with the prowler and spent 20 minutes laying on the floor gasping for air, it wasn’t fun. So for an offseason or just to mix things up once in a while if you’re not training for a meet then heavy prowler/sled/farmer’s walk/yoke/etc. can potentially have some benefit but you will have to reduce training volume to make room for it in your training.

No, not really. I read a lot of Louie’s articles but I can’t say that I have ever actually done anything resembling Westside.