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  1. #1
    Registered User Bruce44's Avatar
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    does powerlifting actually do anything for the heart?

    So I'm 24 now and I've been doing plenty of thinking. My family history of heart attacks is really bad. My grandpa died in his 50's from a heart attack and 3 of his kids have had surgery. With my obesity and bad genetics I might not live to be 50.

    So I would like to strengthen my heart. I was wondering if powerlifting actually does anything for the heart. When you lift your heart starts pumping harder. Although not the same duration as cardio i was wondering if this has any effect at all.

    So I'm going to start doing some elliptical work after every workout day for about 30 mins. Moderate intensity just so I'm pushing my cardio system above normal. Purely for cardiovascular health reasons. Will this interfere too much with my gains?
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  2. #2
    Registered User sonti's Avatar
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    Absolutely. I can guarantee that anyone slogging away on an elliptical for 30 minutes is doing nowhere near the effort of a person who does a proper full lifting workout (for example, doing your 90% squats or whatever) and then even moreso if they add 15-20 minutes of hard conditioning like prowler or sledgehammers.

    I used to be a cardio bunny. Steady state cardio was easier. Will it interfere with your gains? Probably not, but I think you could do more efficient cardio if you are doing this for health reasons.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Bruce44's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sonti View Post
    Absolutely. I can guarantee that anyone slogging away on an elliptical for 30 minutes is doing nowhere near the effort of a person who does a proper full lifting workout (for example, doing your 90% squats or whatever) and then even moreso if they add 15-20 minutes of hard conditioning like prowler or sledgehammers.

    I used to be a cardio bunny. Steady state cardio was easier. Will it interfere with your gains? Probably not, but I think you could do more efficient cardio if you are doing this for health reasons.
    Its either elliptical, bike or swim. 5'7" 275lbs running has a high chance or screwing up my knees. Don't want to swim because I'm self concious about going shirtless and chlorine triggers my psoriasis to act up. You have any suggestions?
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  4. #4
    Registered User sonti's Avatar
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    Your diet will be the biggest issue to get in check, have you seen the nutrition forum?

    Do you have joint issues?
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  5. #5
    Registered User sonti's Avatar
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    Another method you could try is doing the rowing machine instead of the elliptical. I'm not sure if you have a belly impairing it (I could row until 7 months pregnant though!!), it will minimize the impact on your joints, and is complimentary cardio to many PL programs. Even Rippetoe recommends using it for your cardio warmup before lifting warmups.
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  6. #6
    They tell me I am king avodo's Avatar
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    Cardiac hypertrophy, lower resting heart rate, more efficient blood circulation, etc.

    Read up on athlete's heart.
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  7. #7
    Registered User China505's Avatar
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    Yeah, it will definatly help the heart.

    The problem is so many powerlifters are really fat bastards, the way they eat probably does more bad for the heart than the lifting will help.

    I like to try to lift big, but being overweight is being overweight.

    5'7, 275lbs....you are fat.
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  8. #8
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    Originally Posted by sonti View Post
    Your diet will be the biggest issue to get in check, have you seen the nutrition forum?

    Do you have joint issues?
    Yes I understand diet is a big issue. I'm actually eating cleanly right now. When I said bad genetics I meant baaaad. My uncles who have had heart surgeries were all 140lbs or less. High cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, runs in the family and these are fit individuals who work hard.

    I'm currently taking cholesterol pills to keep my arteries clean. My only concern now is just my heart. I want to make sure it gets strong as well because even dropping 100lbs might not keep me safe.
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  9. #9
    Registered User sonti's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Bruce44 View Post
    Yes I understand diet is a big issue. I'm actually eating cleanly right now. When I said bad genetics I meant baaaad. My uncles who have had heart surgeries were all 140lbs or less. High cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, runs in the family and these are fit individuals who work hard.

    I'm currently taking cholesterol pills to keep my arteries clean. My only concern now is just my heart. I want to make sure it gets strong as well because even dropping 100lbs might not keep me safe.
    It will probably take extra work for sure. My husband has a nearly identical background (including non-obese dad with quadruple bypass), and exercise in general has really helped. It is a slow process but overall 100lb weight loss, increased strength, and proper conditioning will greatly improve your odds. Start with the small changes (good on the diet) and enjoy it. PL is actually very fun, I think.
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  10. #10
    Registered User Bruce44's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sonti View Post
    It will probably take extra work for sure. My husband has a nearly identical background (including non-obese dad with quadruple bypass), and exercise in general has really helped. It is a slow process but overall 100lb weight loss, increased strength, and proper conditioning will greatly improve your odds. Start with the small changes (good on the diet) and enjoy it. PL is actually very fun, I think.
    Some guys just hit the genetics lottery lol. I was also diagnosed with moyamoya disease after having a stroke at 10 years old. You see why I'm getting worried at only 24? Google moyamoya disease. 2% of the population gets it. I should buy a lottery ticket.
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  11. #11
    Registered User ParsonBrown's Avatar
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    5'-7" @ 275 ain't the end of the world. If you need to lose weight for health reasons then eat at a calorie deficit (just make sure you get plenty of protein and fat). By all means follow a powerlifting routine if you want to. Don't make excuses and just do it. I would venture that my genetics are as crummy as anyone's, but who cares. Don't lift for genetics....lift because you enjoy it and want to get better at something.
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  12. #12
    MS,CSCS,CF-L1,USAW,WBB HamburgerTrain's Avatar
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    The stress from heavy lifting has a direct correlation with increased arterial stiffness. There are about a million studies on this. So the cardio is a must for someone with family history of cardiac problems.

    Also, don't use powerlifting as an excuse to eat a bunch of $hitty food. Get your diet in check because that will be the main contributer to any problems you have in the future.
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by avodo View Post
    Cardiac hypertrophy, lower resting heart rate, more efficient blood circulation, etc.

    Read up on athlete's heart.
    Athlete's heart is not caused by powerlifting. Myocardial hypertrophy can occur, but puts a lot of stress on the heart and thus the walls grow thicker.

    OP, get your diet in check and absolutely do some cardio. As the guy that does echos, I can tell you first-hand diet is going to get you where you want health-wise much faster than powerlifting. Ease into powerlifting, hammer away at the diet like no tomorrow.

    It's a very slippery slope venturing into powerlifting and the lack of diet. Don't think because you're lifting heavier than before you can automatically eat more and lots of garbage.

    If anything, talk with a cardiologist that is familiar with weightlifting and the conditions running in your family.

    Just my .02 from your friendly cardiac sonographer.
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  14. #14
    Registered User fatbencher's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by HamburgerTrain View Post
    The stress from heavy lifting has a direct correlation with increased arterial stiffness. There are about a million studies on this. So the cardio is a must for someone with family history of cardiac problems.
    Does this not depend on rest period length and such? I would hope keeping rest periods short (keeping heart rate >90-100) would have at least some effects similar to LISS?

    Also, don't use powerlifting as an excuse to eat a bunch of $hitty food. Get your diet in check because that will be the main contributer to any problems you have in the future.
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  15. #15
    Registered User samsont's Avatar
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    Op I'm 5-8 and was 275+ in August and even half ass dieting but consistent bust ass powerlifting I've got down to 240's pretty easy.

    I too have heart problems in fam, and I don't do enough cardio but weight training has got my blood pressure down to consistent 125/80 range and my resting heart rate has gotten way better. Haven't checked bloods yet though.
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  16. #16
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    Hey brah, so some reading about HIIT. Read Al Sears chit.

    He says it´s the best thing for the heart.
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    Originally Posted by avodo View Post
    Cardiac hypertrophy, lower resting heart rate, more efficient blood circulation, etc.

    Read up on athlete's heart.
    a condition that is named after endurance athletes, not strength athletes
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  18. #18
    Registered User runtocatch's Avatar
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    5x20 squats = cardio that will make you wanna die
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    Originally Posted by runtocatch View Post
    5x20 squats = cardio that will make you wanna die

    i feel like falling down in a squat rack and puking just reading that
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  20. #20
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    Originally Posted by samsont View Post
    i feel like falling down in a squat rack and puking just reading that
    Try it someday after your squat training. Its a good time. You will find out who you are real quick like.
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  21. #21
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    Originally Posted by runtocatch View Post
    Try it someday after your squat training. Its a good time. You will find out who you are real quick like.

    i was really pissed off one day and did 4 x 25 with a saftey squat bar and i threw up on the 3rd set. high rep squats, only thing more punishing is high rep deads. fuuuuuuuuu
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  22. #22
    1500 raw will be wrecked baxtej44's Avatar
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    most of here aren't the epitome of a heart-healthy body, however like mentioned above, i would do more functional cardio like the prowler or sledgehammer or rowing. you can get your heart rate just as high with any of those and it will transfer over to GPP moreso than pedaling on a stationary bike, etc (IMO)
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  23. #23
    Registered User ButcherPLer's Avatar
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    Powerlifting causes thickening of the left ventricle wall, which can be problematic. The problem I have found is most discussion of this suggest ventricular wall thickening is problematic without ever stating how much is ok, and how much is problematic. Also, how much thickening can the typical powerlifter without any other health concerns expect? Thats what I am not sure about.

    I had an echocardiogram not long ago and they said I had a slightly enlarged heart (no specifics) and I am not too concerned but am glad there is a baseline established.
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    MS,CSCS,CF-L1,USAW,WBB HamburgerTrain's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by fatbencher View Post
    Does this not depend on rest period length and such? I would hope keeping rest periods short (keeping heart rate >90-100) would have at least some effects similar to LISS?

    Truth. I was a fat 310 @ 5'10.5", and justified it by being able to bench 405. Took me 15 years to grow up and realize that I was just a future rascal-driver who happened to like lifting.
    Heart rate and blood pressure go through the roof while attempting near max/max weights. It has absolutely nothing to do with rest intervals.
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    Originally Posted by Bruce44 View Post
    I've been doing plenty of thinking.
    I found your problem.
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  26. #26
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    doesn't long distance running or doing too much cardio also harden the arteries?
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  27. #27
    Back at square one wakechica's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sonti View Post
    Absolutely. I can guarantee that anyone slogging away on an elliptical for 30 minutes is doing nowhere near the effort of a person who does a proper full lifting workout (for example, doing your 90% squats or whatever) and then even moreso if they add 15-20 minutes of hard conditioning like prowler or sledgehammers.

    I used to be a cardio bunny. Steady state cardio was easier. Will it interfere with your gains? Probably not, but I think you could do more efficient cardio if you are doing this for health reasons.
    ^This. I've had some of my hardest workouts from lifting.

    Diet - cholesterol. Worth getting it checked.
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  28. #28
    Registered User yummy22's Avatar
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    Eat well and exercise

    Everything else is chance so don't worry about it plenty of healthy people die for no reason, thats life.
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  29. #29
    MS,CSCS,CF-L1,USAW,WBB HamburgerTrain's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by yummy22 View Post
    Eat well and exercise

    Everything else is chance so don't worry about it plenty of healthy people die for no reason, thats life.
    #yolo
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  30. #30
    Viking Mode coloBB's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by yummy22 View Post
    Eat well and exercise

    Everything else is chance so don't worry about it plenty of healthy people die for no reason, thats life.
    /thread
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