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Chest Pain... From Squats!?!?

I’ve been having a weird problem, lately. I started weight training about two months ago, and I’ve seen steady gains, of all kinds.

I know; that’s not a problem – normally.

What’s weird is that ever since I got above 200 pounds on Barbell Back Squats, I’ve been having chest pains that seem to be emanating from my heart, or at least that general vicinity.

I don’t feel them while squatting; only immediately thereafter, the instant that I put the weight back on the rack, and they only last for a very short while. They’re dull, and they throb with each heartbeat. As my squat max has increased, and I’ve added more weight, they’ve grown, somewhat, in intensity. Front Squats don’t seem to cause them, at all.

I’ve had chest pains, before, but those were always anxiety-related. These can’t have anything to do with anxiety, because what always made the anxiety pains better was – you guessed it – working out.

I posted this here because I figured that out of all the boards on this site, this was the one where I would most likely encounter someone who knew what I was dealing with.

I have no clue what it could be, but there’s no law that says you have to back squat, man. Stick with front squats til you get it figured out. Chest pain is not something I’d screw around with.

Might want to see a doctor and run it by him.

What’s your diet like? Chest pain immediately following a squat could be an indication of clogged arteries, with the pain being the result of the heart straining against narrower arteries to meet the increased demand for blood. I agree that you should see a doctor, and hold off on the back squats for a while.

Are you breathing properly while squatting?

My diet is a college dormitory diet, so it’s not what I’d call good. However, I’ve been to the doctor recently, and my pulse and blood pressure have been normal for my age group, mostly because my exercise routine has included some type of cardio routine for the past three years.

I’d think it was due to something like clogged arteries, too, but it seems like I would experience chest pain during the course of other parts of my exercise, too. I always run sprints, run for distance, or swim, every workout. (I’m going to the police academy this January, and I want to be in all-around good condition; just strength won’t do.) It just seems like I’d get some chest pain during all of that, if it was a circulatory problem.

Also, I was at the doctor like two weeks ago for those anxiety pains I mentioned, and they said that my heart sounded healthy.

That’s what’s got me concerned.

Maybe it really is a breathing problem; what’s the correct breathing method for doing back squats?

[quote]Chubby Pigeon wrote:
Maybe it really is a breathing problem; what’s the correct breathing method for doing back squats?[/quote]

Yeah here is a bit;

Breathing

“Do not hold or force your breath, grunt, groan or make any other noise while squatting. Doing so does not help you perform the exercise in any way, causes blood pressure to increase further due to involvement of Valsalva maneuver, and distracts others. Breathe naturally, and continuously throughout the exercise.”

www.baye.com/articles/the_barbell_squat.html

I disagree with Baye. If you don’t force yourself to breathe, you will forget to when you’re doing an exercise as physically demanding as squats.

Breathe in as you go down and breathe out as you go back up. You may want to reduce your weight just to get your breathing down pat.

I’m thinking I’m going to knock it back to a lighter weight with more reps for awhile, anyway, throughout my whole workout. I’ve been doing a lot of 5X5, and it will be a nice change, and also give me a chance to work on form, some.

Are you sure it isn’t the pecs? When holding the bar on your back, the pecs are stretched. That could cause the sensation.

If you have a history of chest pain, this sensation could be mis interpreted as chest pain. And this could get the whole anxiety think going again.

Is your upper back rounded at all when you squat?

[quote]Chubby Pigeon wrote:
I’ve been having a weird problem, lately. I started weight training about two months ago, and I’ve seen steady gains, of all kinds.

I know; that’s not a problem – normally.

What’s weird is that ever since I got above 200 pounds on Barbell Back Squats, I’ve been having chest pains that seem to be emanating from my heart, or at least that general vicinity.

I don’t feel them while squatting; only immediately thereafter, the instant that I put the weight back on the rack, and they only last for a very short while. They’re dull, and they throb with each heartbeat. As my squat max has increased, and I’ve added more weight, they’ve grown, somewhat, in intensity. Front Squats don’t seem to cause them, at all.

I’ve had chest pains, before, but those were always anxiety-related. These can’t have anything to do with anxiety, because what always made the anxiety pains better was – you guessed it – working out.

I posted this here because I figured that out of all the boards on this site, this was the one where I would most likely encounter someone who knew what I was dealing with.[/quote]

Admittedly, it doesnt sound like normal angina, it lasts too short a time… but your description is a bit vague, and when it comes to your thumper, time to get a 1 on 1 assessment.

I thought it might be my form, too, but I wouldn’t know what to look for. Is my back supposed to be rounded, or is it supposed to be a ramrod?

By the way, I probably am rounding my upper back. You see, I am frequently referred to, by my friends, as the traps that grew a human. As a result, the bar tends to try to roll off of my shoulders if I stand completely straight. It’s why I’m one of the few who actually prefer front squats.

pain from cardiac problems generally are not located near the heart itself.

  1. go to a good doctor and get it checked. getting blood work is a good idea.

  2. could be reflux as the esophogus isnt far from the area you mention.

  3. as mentioned, could be a pec issue.

  4. if you’ve had anxiety issues, it could very well be that. just because working out has helped it previously doesnt mean it could not be the cause.

I don’t know if this will be of any help to you but I’m asthmatic and when I go heavy on back squats I also get some pain in my chest. I got my power rack about 3 months back and have really started upping the weight on squats, like you I didn’t notice pain with lower weight.

Over time though the pain has reduced whilst my weight on the squat has increased steadily.

I know that, personally, squats tax my cardiovascular system pretty heavily. You could try supplementing with lower weight (even BW) squats or more cardio to see if this helps to dissipate the pain, this approach has worked for me.

I get pains basically on my armpit/chest meeting area. Basically the top of the pec, under the arm pit. Do you get similar pains?

I went to the doctor and she found nothing wrong with my heart and I had a sonogram to make sure I didn’t have a fatty lump or something that would cause irritation. I find that when I put heavy weight on my neck, I’ll have the pain radiate down that side and under my arm/near my heart and I thought I was having a heart attack. Maybe it’s something do with compression of the neck nerves/muscles and causing these symptoms? I am not a doctor obviously, but I did sort of panic and go to the doc to get it checked out, and I suggest you do the same!

go to a cardiologist and tell him of your symptoms. they’ll probably have you do a stress test and echo cardiogram, if you really push for it, for peace of mind purposes and to really make sure nothing is indeed wrong.

This is just my opinion, but I read your post and had a “woah, that happened to me!” moment.

Jarvis, you may have hit the nail on the head. I’ve had one asthma attack in my life, when I was about six years old, and I have mild chronic bronchitis.

I went to the doctor, today; he said I sounded normal, and sent me to get an EKG, which also came back normal. He said I should have a trainer watch my form (will-do) to see if that’s a problem. If it is, then it’s an easy fix. Lower the weight, and do it right, this time. If it’s not my form, then he gave me the classic doctor’s prescription:

If it hurts when you do that, then don’t do it.

Go to a doctor.
What the fuck makes people come onto an internet forum and ask things like “I have chest pains when I do this, what should I do?” Go to a doctor, people here don’t know what the hell is wrong with you.

Monster

I did go to a doctor, which you might have known if you’d read the thread, and what made me come here was that I thought it might be an issue of poor form or something of that nature causing my problem.

[quote]Chubby Pigeon wrote:
Jarvis, you may have hit the nail on the head. I’ve had one asthma attack in my life, when I was about six years old, and I have mild chronic bronchitis.
[/quote]

Yeah, that’s pretty much my symptoms there. I only ever had one asthma attack when I was really young (I also had pneumonia around the same time). Since then I’ve hardly ever used an inhaler but always have one on stand-by just in case. What’s more I have the bone structure (notably, a very large rib cage) of an asthmatic, which may also be a cause of muscular pain (dips used to KILL my sternum when I was younger).

Like I said, the pain has all but subsided now that I squat with decent form and have let my CNS and cardiovascular system adjust.

P.S. how can your bronchitis be both chronic and mild at the same time?