T Nation

Breathing and Pain in the Gym

I’m not sure what I’m exactly doing wrong, if anything, but the last two times I was in the gym, the back my head started hurting.

It felt like all of the blood was rushing through the back of my neck, and into my brain.

Just today, it happened within the first 30 seconds of me stepping into the gym. Just as I finished performing a second military press with an empty bar. (I got almost nothing done today.)

This also happened two days ago, just as I ended my session with a few sets of front squats.

What’s the most likely cause for this?

I’ve been getting sufficient rest, hydration (I think), food, etc.

Same thing happened to me for about two weeks, and then it just quit. I was doing heavy doubles and triples on squats, deads, and presses at the times that it happened. Not sure exactly what it was other than a headache from straining. I was still doing the same program when it stopped.

What are you taking pre-workout?

About 30-60 minutes before I lift, I’ll make sure I drink some water (I’m still working on consistently drinking water throughout the day) with whey.

I’ll also have a small-ish meal with carbs to go with that whey.

What breathing method do you use in the gym?

DO you hold your breath till you have finished the rep (valsalva) or exhale whilst pressing/pushing?

I’ve had a similar problem after long sets of heavy squats. After the second rep my head would just explode in pain. My lifting definitely suffered.

What helped was making sure to breathe deeply and into my belly (may take some effort) in between sets, and to breathe and relax my neck during the set. Especially relaxing my neck.

What I’m assuming happened is that the amount of tension developed in the belly (intra-abdominal pressure to stabalize the spine during heavy lifting) radiates up and into the throat. Ordinarily, this isn’t that big of a deal, except in the moderately untrained, your neck muscles squeeze your corroted artery (or SOMETHING, I’m not too big on the biology here) developing pressure in your head which translates into pain. relaxing the neck during the set relieves this pain (somewhat) and lets you complete the set with less discomfort. After a while, it’ll go away.

Im going through it right now.

I have a thread in the body building section.

I think mine is directly related in crazy tension in my neck. I think I am going on week 4. First 2 weeks I suffered through it. Third week I had about had enough of headaches. This week I am staying out from under the weights. I am still getting them, but am contemplating a message to hopefully help the tension in my neck, as its still stiff/sore.

I would like to have more info for you, but well I have not fixed my problem yet.

I am going to try a message and if that doesn’t fix me up, off to the Chiro.

Good luck.

Yes, I’m usually exhaling at the end of the lift, if it’s one where I need core stabilization, like presses or squats.

I’ll try to keep my neck relaxed while performing these lifts, and see how that goes.

Its common in beginners it seems. Happened to me too. Plenty of topics on this though.

Just don’t lift, it will go away eventually. Took about 2 weeks for me and it never came back.

Yeah, I stopped going to the gym for a few days, and when I went back, I went all-out and had no issues. Yeey.