T Nation

Deadlift Problem


So two weeks ago on my Wednesday workout I got an explosive headache on the 1st rep of my 3rd set of deadlifts… I didnt think much of it but it ruined my workout… the headache was localized in my right temple area… I pushed my Friday workout back a day to give it some time to feel better… on Friday I was doing squats… same thing…

I went to the ER to get it checked out b/c im at school and don’t have a local primary care physician. They thought I might have had a small aneurism. They gave me 2 CT scans and said I was neurologically perfect. The doctor told me not to do squats anymore. But I figured that the squats just reaggravated the original ‘injury’ and it wouldn’t be a big deal.

Today I was working out for the first time since then. I made it through squats perfectly as expected. However, again on my 1st rep of my 3rd set of deadlifts it happened again. This time not as bad because I stopped right away and moved on to other exercises that didnt bother me.

So, does anyone know what this could be? Muscle spasms, pinched nerve? Has anyone experienced this? Again it is a headache that comes on extremely quickly and is located under my right temple. Thoughts and advice would be appreciated.


Sharp pain or dull? Does is throb? Describe the headache as completly as you can. Either way you may need to lay off for another day. Are you taking anything that may contribute (roids, lots of NSAIDS, extremly high volumes of any supp)?

Any dental issues or clenching?

Are you holding your breath to long/much. This could absolutely raise blood pressure and in turn cause a headache.


How’s your blood pressure? I’m assuming that your 3rd set is significantly heavier than your 1st … and 2nd. It might be the point at which you push just enough to tax your circulatory system and cause the headache.

If it is NOT caused by a physical problem, maybe there are recent dietary/other factors that are raising your BP?

Which ER? Do you mean campus facilities? Or did you at least get to Strong?

Consider the old Henny Youngman joke: “Doctor, it hurts when I do that.” “Don’t do that!” Can you do more reps at the 2nd set poundage and be okay?

Google “exertional headaches;” they’re actually somewhat of a common problem. I dealt with them myself last December; they’re absolutely excruciating. Anything over 8RM made was unbearable.

There are a variety of factors that could play into this, but the first things you should look at are nutrition/supplementation factors. A few things that come to mind right away are stimulant intake (especially caffeine), artificial sweeteners, any of the common dietary allergens (e.g. peanuts, dairy, wheat), and anything that would markedly increase testosterone (including exogenous T).

I was fortunate in that this came right before a meet, so I was planning on taking a week off anyway. When I returned to lifting, I was good to go.

Drop me an email if there’s anything more I can do to help.

PS- You might be interested to know that the only thing you can do to rival the blood pressure increases you’ll get with weight-training is orgasm! Some people actually get exertional headaches from sex.

Thanks for the thoughts…

To describe the pain better it is dull but persistant, no throbbing at all… and it is extremely localized… after the initial feeling, the more reps i do, the stronger the pain…

The only supps i take are Grow!, no more than twice a day, Surge during and after workouts, and a daily multivitamin, which i take less than daily…

No dental issues but It very well may be a breathing issue. Clenching may be a factor though. My BP is good so far as I know, never been told otherwise.

I am however beginning to think it may be a breathing thing. I dont know for sure but in the past I’ve been known to ‘forget’ to breathe.

As far as food goes, I dont think its that, since i started lifting ‘right’ I have been eating much better… less caffine, less artificial sweeteners, etc.

Yes I went to strong, I’ve become very weary of the campus facilities.

I will look up exertional headaches now. Thanks.