T Nation

Head Ache While Lifting

So I’m very new to lifting. I’ve only been training for a few months now, and occasionally I would get headaches while lifting. Once I even felt a pop at the top of my neck. I read up on it and decided I was getting these head aches because I wasn’t exhaling properly when I lifted. I started taking that into concideration and the head aches went away.

Well I took a couple weeks off and last week I went back to the gym for the first time. I was pretty pumped about lifting again, but during my first set, I suddenly got a massive headache. I took a water break, and when I tried to do another set, I couldn’t even lift the weight without feeling sick. That headache stayed for two days, so I made an appointment with my friend who is a massage therapist. He fixed me up and I took a few more days off with no heady lifting.

Today I decided to give it another go, but after only a few reps I got this head ache again. Twelve hours later I’m still hurting.

The headache is on the left side of my head, in the back where my spine meets the skull. Both instances, I was definately focusing on my breathing.

I’m frusterated because I havn’t gotten to lift in over three weeks now. I’m young, 18, and I’m lifting to gain muscle, and lose weight. I feel like I’m wasting time not being able to lift. What should I do?

Are you hydrated??

Are you taking a LOT of stims??

How are your electrolytes, sodium and potassium,

Breath brotha.

Is it during a certain exercise or any??

Hows your BP??

May want to see a doc for a persistent problem


Sounds like one of your neck muscles is overactive. Static stretch your neck (gently pull your head to either side) before you lift. Also make sure you keep your head tilted back a little bit while lifting. Do not bury your chin into your chest.

Lastly, do some neck work. Either buy a neck harness or if your gym has one, use a 4 way neck machine. Light weight, lots of reps. I had this exact problem last year and doing these things have helped keep me from having any more headaches.

that sound very worrying, i’d say if you were breathing properly then this is not normal, persistant head aches can (but not always) be a simptom of something more seriouse.

My guess would be some kind of high blood pressure related problem or it could be you had real bad form and caused some kind of bruising? if you are deadlifting and looking up, down or to either side you can sprain the neck.

Had the exact same thing happen. Headache explodes when you exert yourself and it remains a dull pain for hours. Not fun.

It is most likely a muscle in the back of your neck. The headache may be a result of the muscle pulling on the dura matter, a membrane that lines your brain. Ice the back of your neck and don’t sleep on your stomach. Take 2 weeks off from any heavy lifting and make sure to stretch your neck out. The headaches will go away eventually.

Most probably you have experienced exercise-induced headache.

If it’s that, the pain must have been sudden and excruciating. It appears most often during heavy physical activity while holding the breath. This leads to a complex physical condition which results in an extremely high blood pressure in the cranium which due to which a big pressure starts against some brain membrane. It was something like this.

I have had this twice - once during a bench press heavy negatives, once during 12reps leg-presses, on the seventh repetition. The leg-press is the most dangerous exercise because your head is down, it’s heavy, you hold your breath and here it is.

I had to rest whole two weeks before training again because when I tried after 2-3 days to train, the pain was still there. The membrane or whatever hadn’t been healed. Since then, I don’t do leg-presses.

On the other hand, it might not be the same thing.

I thought I was alone with that one… had the somewhat similar problems while doing squats on a machine - headaches where really mean, but disappeared after 30 minutes of training.

Did normal HST, had no problem during the sets of 15, it started with the 10s. And disappeared with the 5s.

What I changed from 10s to 5s was: I did the movements slower. That forced me to breathe more properly and allowed me to keep good form, which included keeping my head back (a lot). I also took extra care to position myself exactly in the middle of the machine and keep my back perfectly straight (against the back of the machine - that’s what I like about machines for beginners like me).

I am pretty sure the breathing was not the problem since I started to watch this during the 10s.

Headaches are gone with those changes I made. Maybe give it a try.