T Nation

Powerlifting with Cardio


Hey everyone thanks for reading my post. I'm powerlifting using a west side template. I just got back my annual blood work today and everything is good for the most part except my good cholesterol fell (as did my bad luckily) to the point it was flagged. Oddly enough, I take triple strength fish oil on a daily basis.

My doctor told me that in order to fix that issue I need to start doing cardio, preferably 3x a week for 25 minutes "rigorously". I do have an elliptical in my weight room downstairs that other family members use, so I'll be utilizing it now as well.

My question to all of you is what days would be the best time to do this cardio? My general schedule looks like:

Mon: ME Upper
Tues: DE Lower
Thur: RE or DE Upper
Fri: ME Lower

I am considering doing it on Tuesdays and Fridays, after my lower body workout plus Sunday because I will have had a day to recover from Friday plus my next day is upper body. Comments are greatly appreciated.

  • Chris


Yeah it must be that hard to take 15 seconds to reply.


wow, i was all anxious to reply then i see your second post. seeing as how i was out with my girlfriend and not sitting in front of my laptop waiting for you to post all day im not sure if i want to help you. seriously. bad forum etiquette there. but whatever, ill cut you a break with those 2 total posts you have.

when you say low for your cholesterol, how low? what was the total? and what was your triglyceride count?

as for cardio, no need to do it on separate days unless you like some active recovery for the legs. if you have a sled do some sled work. if you have some KBs do some swings on lower body days, and turkish getups on upper body day.

you should be getting a cardio effect on the DE days. i would say at least the lower body DE day. for one cycle i will do as many as 20 sets of 2 in as little as 12 minutes. that will get your heart racing.

you could also superset your accessory work. like abz and your weak link exercises.

and you could also do something on your off days as you see fit. in this case i do not believe i can offer a best time without more information.


Do it whenever. 3x25min won't influence your PLing.


While higher HDL levels are correlated with cardiovascular health, no incremental increase in HDL has been proven to improve health. In other words, while high HDL levels might correlate with better cardiovascular health, specifically increasing one's HDL might not increase cardiovascular health.[3] Additionally, those few individuals producing an abnormal, apparently more efficient, HDL ApoA1 protein variant called ApoA-1 Milano, have low measured HDL-C levels yet very low rates of cardiovascular events even with high blood cholesterol values.


What does your diet look like? That may be more important than the cardio recommendation.


Cholesterol all by itself has little value in assessing heart disease, you might find this article useful:


However if you want to incorporate more conditioning you might try this approach.


Obviously you can just follow the DR's advice as it was spelled out but there is no promise that will raise HDL and just from the info provided my guess is if you told the Dr you liked powerlifting he would frown on it, so you know what his advice is worth :slight_smile:


IME I do it after lower body days.


walk, if that's too easy walk with a weighted vest, it won't hurt your gains


I follow basically a westside template and do 'hard' cardio for up to an hour on my 3 off days. (prowler, sled, sprints). No negative impact on stregth as long as I keep up with my foam rolling, stretching, etc.


Thanks for the posts, everyone. As far as my diet goes, to be honest it's absolute crap and I know I need to clean it up. At 24, I can get away with it but I know that's not an excuse. I essentially just eat whatever I want and try to eat frequently, though in the last 6 months I have made an effort to stay away from fast food. All the eating has allowed me to go from a 110 lbs. rail to a decently muscular guy at 180 lbs. (I'm 5'6") with just a slight stomach over the past 4-5 years or so.

My doctor does know I powerlift and he works out, so he understands it. He even said to me "I know powerlifters aren't too big on cardio but you really should be doing it". I just did some serious cardio the other night after my DE lower body workout and it sure got me sweating and breathing, so I think I'll continue to do that on the elliptical. When it gets warmer outside, I want to do some sled dragging.


Push, Pull, Drag, or walk with something heavy. That should be your cardio/conditioning.

Keep the hard cardio sessions on your lower body days. This kind of work will greatly improve not only your performance, but also health markers...... and don't be a slob with your diet.


Cardio wont hurt anyones lifting. In fact, it should make it better, as your recovery and work capacity will be improved.

You can do it after lifting, or on off days.

Weighted vest walks, biking with high resistance, erging, sled drags..etc are all good.

People really over think this stuff.