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Heavy Lifting and Stroke


Hey guys, this is probably going to sound like a stupid question, but i have high blood pressure, and a family history of having it, and the doctor told me not to lift real heavy weight (which I do, ramping). Can this lead to me having a stroke or something?


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I'm not a doctor, and i'm not YOUR doctor so this is pure speculation but:

As I understand, a stroke is when your brain is starved of oxygen? So maybe holding your breath/valsava technique would be best avoided?

You should find a doctor who also likes to train seriously, and ask his/her opinion.


That's the thing, nost people in my fam, usually die from strokes. So its kinda scaring me now. So iono if I should just lift in the 8-12 rep range for now. Even squats, deads and bench can raise my pressure high ughhh. The thing is though, my fam doctor said the reason why my prssure is high is because I have big arms. But I still don't wanna take a chance, because 85% of the ppl in my fam have high BP



First, how high is too high?

How big are your arms?

These are important questions.


Then measure it using a bigger cuff.

For the third time, how high is your blood pressure? Systolic and diastolic please.
Were you born in 1989?
Who in your family has gotten a stroke? At what age?

Holding your breath for a few seconds =/= a stroke
But there's the off chance it might increase the risk of a plaque rupturing and causing a stroke.


I think he is confusing doctor with nurse. If his arm was too big, then why would they tell him he has high blood pressure?

They have to use an extra large cuff on me or the leg cuff.

But then, the chances of the op being "a thinner Greg Kovaks" may be slim.


Basically, its usually around 140/90. My arms are 17 1/2 inches. And I'm only 22 years old. Sorry about the confusion, but I had a concussion in march, feelign dizzy and whatnot. And recently ive been having neck and paain behind my head constantly, went to a neurologist, and he said its most likely from high blood pressure or stress (because lifitng was a big art of my life, and I had to stop it completely after getting he concussion). My famiy doctor, is the one who said my arms were too big, when he measures my blood pressure. And i didnt really pay attention whether or not the neurologist put on a bigger cuff


140/90 is the limit for hypertension. I'd have it measured again. No coffee or other stims, no stress, lie down for 5 minutes before taking it, make sure they use the big cuff (most top out at around 14-15" and will show false high values if your arm is bigger) and that the cuff is level with your heart. And it's usually higher when measured by a doctor. ("White coat hypertension") Relax.

If measured properly, I wouldn't be surprised if it's normal.

How much do you exercise now? As BBB said, don't push it to the extreme and lifting will probably lower your resting blood pressure and make you live longer.

@BBB: Do you know why people sometimes feel dizzy, like they're gonna pass out, during overhead presses?


I use to go to the gym 4-5 times a week. I havent been doing anything for 4-5 months now. Because im having neck pain and pain in my occipital protuberance area (due to tightness apparently), the physiotherapist told me, not to lift anything for a a couple of months more ,and just swim or do some light jogging. I honeslty just cant wait to start lifting again!!!! lol


I'd feel like shit if I didn't lift for 5 months. I think you should slowly and carefully start lifting again, but then again he's met you and I haven't.


Many people notice elevated blood pressure simply from being nervous about being at a doctor's office. You don't diagnose someone as having high blood pressure from one reading alone.

Checking to see if the right sized cuff was used is also an issue. I know many nurses who rarely see someone with arms more muscular than average to they have to be told to use a bigger cuff.

The cuffs have measurement lines in them to see if it fits you.


Also, if you haven't been exercising much for several months, getting into shape alone could help a blood pressure reading. I am also assuming that arm measurement isn't from someone with less than 16% body fat.

How tall are you and how much do you weigh?


5ft11, 178 right now. used to be 185. My bf index is not below 16, dont know exaclty what it is.


178lbs with near 18" arms and a high body fat percentage?

The numbers do not add up.

Try again.


I just have big arms. They grow better than other parts of my body. and theyre not lanky



Take your phone and take a picture.

I am about your height. There is no way in hell you have near 18" arms at that weight unless you are ripped to shreds and have genetics for muscle bellies that make Flex Wheeler look bad.


so maybe 16.5 then lol. I'll msg you a pic


This made me chuckle.

Ischemia is caused by something, usually a embolism. Holding your breath won't give you a stroke.


I got the pic. You didn't need to manipulate the image, I wasn't going to clown you based on how you looked anyway. I just know guys lie. You don't have arms near 18" but I think we both knew that. Despite the image "manipulation" you don't seem that out of shape considering a lay off like you mentioned.

As far as what your doctor told you, no one with your best interests in mind would tell you to go against what your doc told you without any further knowledge about you. I will say staying active, watching your diet and keeping some level of cardio or conditioning work on board sounds like a good idea.

Bodybuilding isn't an activity for people who always like to play it safe. You're the only one who can determine how important that is.