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Thread: Is Powerlifting Bad for your Heart?

  1. #1
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    Is Powerlifting Bad for your Heart?

    sometimes when i pick up Powerlifting USA they have a memorium section and a lot of the people that passed away are fairly young.. Heart attacks and heart failure seem to have been the culprit....
    And then I read somewhere here or another forum about a young powerlifter that passed away recently, and I don't know if what I read was true, but someone had posted it was a heart problem..

    I realize genetics play a a role in our heart health, but what about the pressure placed on our hearts while training?

    I've only been lifting for almost 2yrs, I'm 35, 6'3" 250s and I was hoping to attempt 600lbs deadlift this week. but I went to a cardiologist recently for some uncomfortable chest issues and I ended up getting a stress test and a heart cathaterization the other day, hence delaying lifting...still awaiting results

    so I was curious if anyone has any info

  2. #2
    A gallon a day, everyday! ThomasG's Avatar
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    I don't believe so. Being a large person does make your heart have to work harder so that only applies to the larger weight classes. However, many power lifters neglect their conditioning. Push the prowler, pull the sled, swing kettlebells, Jump rope, complex/interval train etc.. for a healthy heart. If all you do is SFW and eat **** like a lot of plers, yea you will have bad heart.
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    Senior Member SELK's Avatar
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    extra bodyweight and aas use are likely the biggest factors. Not saying that either is all that bad, but certainly a person who doesn't take aas and keeps a reasonable bodyweight is far less likely to have problems then the bigger guy who uses. On the other hand, ill tell you who is more likely to be the better powerlifter
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    Quote Originally Posted by SELK View Post
    extra bodyweight and aas use are likely the biggest factors. Not saying that either is all that bad, but certainly a person who doesn't take aas and keeps a reasonable bodyweight is far less likely to have problems then the bigger guy who uses. On the other hand, ill tell you who is more likely to be the better powerlifter


    i like that last little note lol

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    The left ventricle is the chamber of the heart that sends blood into the arteries and throughout the body. When doing a heavy lift muscular tension can greatly raise the blood pressure which means the left ventricle must work much harder to push the blood out. Powerlifting gear is only going to compound this issue. This can result in hypertrophy of the left ventricle where the walls expand both outward and inward, reducing the volume of the left ventricle and forcing the heart to work harder to do the same workload.

    Cyclists and runners tend to have larger left ventricles that expand only outward, allowing a greater volume of blood in the chamber and a more effective working heart.

    On a side note, Im thinking as Im typing this that I know this and still dont do cardio, doesnt make me feel very intelligent!

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    thanks for the info

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    Senior Member DMedley's Avatar
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    As already stated, there can be a number of reasons for heart failure. Over weight with no conditioning would play into this, as well as some supplements that allow you to work beyond your normal body limits. There is also another major factor at work:

    A lot of people have heart abnormalities that do not usually show up until later years. When the heart is placed in a position of doing extreme work, these abnormalities show up early, thing like embolisms. Jim Fisk the long distance runner that made jogging popular was one person where this caused a heart attack in his 40's.

  8. #8
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    Being large, in general, is just bad for your body.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butcher View Post
    The left ventricle is the chamber of the heart that sends blood into the arteries and throughout the body. When doing a heavy lift muscular tension can greatly raise the blood pressure which means the left ventricle must work much harder to push the blood out. Powerlifting gear is only going to compound this issue. This can result in hypertrophy of the left ventricle where the walls expand both outward and inward, reducing the volume of the left ventricle and forcing the heart to work harder to do the same workload.

    Cyclists and runners tend to have larger left ventricles that expand only outward, allowing a greater volume of blood in the chamber and a more effective working heart.

    On a side note, Im thinking as Im typing this that I know this and still dont do cardio, doesnt make me feel very intelligent!
    What causes this? Is this a result of the difference between strength training and endurance training? Or does the left ventricle tend to expand inward when anabolics are involved?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SELK View Post
    extra bodyweight and aas use are likely the biggest factors. Not saying that either is all that bad, but certainly a person who doesn't take aas and keeps a reasonable bodyweight is far less likely to have problems then the bigger guy who uses. On the other hand, ill tell you who is more likely to be the better powerlifter
    I agree. Powerlifting is not the sport to get into if you're looking to be extremely healthy. I'm not saying one can't powerlift and be healthy at the same time, its just really not a sport thats known for extremely healthy participants.

    There are always injuries, like there are in other sports. But being 320 pounds at 6 feet tall is certainly going to take its toll on your body more so than someone that might play basketball and is 200 pounds at 6 feet tall.
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    Senior Member Butcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhxdB View Post
    What causes this? Is this a result of the difference between strength training and endurance training? Or does the left ventricle tend to expand inward when anabolics are involved?
    I really dont know. That post was the extent of my knowledge on the subject, anything further would be me making assumptions. It is not something that is specific to anabolic use though.

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    Like other muscles, your heart responds in a healthy way to specific training. if your training is principally aerobic, your heart must handle a large volume of blood. Its internal chambers will enlarge slightly and its overall size will increase.

    The stroke volume - the amount of blood ejected from the chambers with each beat-will also increase, as your pulse rate decreases. These adaptations allow your heart to pump blood with maximum efficiency.

    On the other hand, weight-lifting or resistance training will cause your heart muscle to thicken without enlargement of its cavity. This adaptation enables it to generate the increased blood pressure necessary for anaerobic exercise but doesn't contribute to a more efficient stroke volume or a lower pulse rate. If you combine aerobic and resistance training, your heart will of course show the benefits of both types of exercise.
    http://www.sportsdoctor.com/articles/heart.html

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    If I remember right, Fred Hatfield was involved with several studies on heart ejection fraction and vetricular function that were published in peer reviewed journals. It's been years since I read them, so I'd have to look for a while to find them back in the boxes of crap my wife keeps trying to throw away.

    Weight lifting in and of itself isn't going to cause left ventricular hypertrophy, even max singles. Supportive gear won't compound it either in a healthy person.

    The heart is a muscle just like your skeletal muscle. A healthy heart will hypertrophy, but it will be a uniform hypertrophy, not the unilateral hypertrophy of LVH which results in decreased lumen size, so as a result decreased blod flow and increased work of the heart. I dont' know about humans, but in animals, there is almost always a genetic association (ie breeds like Great Danes, GSH Pointers, German Shepards, Boxers, Samoyeds etc) with that disease and that is compounded by other factors such as loss of capillary elasticity (ie an older dog) or aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aorta). Obesity does play a role, but its the sedentary obesity that is the culprit with that.
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