Kulizhnikov was a talented junior and prodigy, winning numerous of the Junior World Cup in the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 seasons. At the 2012 World Junior Championships in Obihiro, Japan, then 17-year-old Kulizhnikov won gold in the 1000 meters and bronze in the 500 meters but was later disqualified from the results for a doping violation and suspended for two years ending his quest to compete at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Kulizhnikov stated that methylhexanamine was found in his body because of a nasal spray for colds.
After a two-year doping suspension, Kulizhnikov debuted in his first World Cup series in the 2014/2015, he started his competition in Obihiro taking gold in 1000 meters and silver in 500 meters. He won a total of 3 gold at the 2014–15 World Cup men's 1000 meters and 8 gold in 2014–15 World Cup men's 500 metres. He won gold at the 2015 World Single Distance Championships in 500 meters, as well as the 2015 World Sprint Championships, 18 years later since the last Russian Sergey Klevchenya won Sprint. He is also the youngest speed skater to win since speed skating Icon Eric Heiden of the United States. Kulizhnikov withdrew from the last leg of the World Cup series of the season nursing a back injury, his teammate Ruslan Murashov won the final event of the series in 500 meters in Erfurt, Germany. Kulizhnikov took 1st place in the overall ranking in the men's speed skating for 500 m and 1000 m in the 2014/15 World Cup Series. He underwent back treatment in the first half of the season.
For the 2015/16 season, Kulizhnikov competed at the 2015–16 ISU Speed Skating World Cup in Calgary, winning the 500 m with a new Russian record of 34.11. He then won silver in 1000 m updating his record to 1:07.33. On November 15, 2015, Kulizhnikov broke the world record in men's 500 m, clocking a time of 34.00 seconds to beat the previous record of 34.03 set by Jeremy Wotherspoon of Canada in 2007. Five days later at the second World Cup meet in Salt Lake City on 20 November 2015, he improved his world record to 33.98. He then won the men's 1000 m with an updated personal best of 1:06.70. Kuliznikov withdrew from the list in competition at the 2015–16 ISU World Cup in Inzell because of a flu. He returned to competition at the 2015–16 World Cup in Heerenveen where he won gold medals in 500 m and 1000 m in a time of 1:08.16 (a track record, and a lowland world record). On the third day of competition in 500 m race, Kulizhnikov unexpectedly fell in the inner corner in his mid race and finished 20th, teammate Ruslan Murashov won the event. Kulizhnikov was unharmed from the fall and did not suffer any major injuries. In January 29–31, Kulizhnikov competed at the ISU World Cup in Stavanger winning the gold medals in 500 m and in 1000 m, where he updated his new Lowland World Record time of 1:08.10. On February 11–14, at the 2016 World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships in Kolomna, Kulizhnikov won two gold medals, winning the men's 500 m lapses and 1000 m, becoming the first man to win 500m and 1000m gold at the same speed skating World Single Distances Championships. In February 26-28, Kulizhnikov retained his Sprint title winning the 2016 World Sprint Speed Skating Championships held in Seoul, South Korea.
On 8 March 2016 it was reported that Kulizhnikov had failed a drug test, testing positive for meldonium, an anti-ischemic drug added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)'s banned substances list in 2016. On April 13, the World Anti-Doping Agency gave amnesty to athletes with the presence of less than 1 microgram of meldonium in doping samples in tests conducted on athletes before March 1, 2016 is acceptable, WADA cites due to uncertainties and lack of studies for how long meldonium stays in the body. On 21 April 2016, the International Skating Union lifted its temporary ban on Kulizhnikov and he was reinstated in the team, since the concentration of meldonium was below the threshold.
the International Skating Union's Official Statement was quoted: "In the case of Meldonium, the WADA recognized that there is currently a lack of clear scientific information on excretion time and considers that in certain circumstances there may be grounds for no fault or negligence on the part of the athlete. All mentioned above skaters credibly assured the ISU that they have discontinued the use of Meldonium prior to January 1, 2016, when the substance was included in the prohibited list. In light of the given information, the ISU has decided to lift the provisional suspension imposed on the four skaters, with immediate effect, to stay the results management process and consequently not to disqualify any results at the present stage."