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Migraines During Upper Body Workouts


I suppose this forum is the most apt for this problem. Here's the situation, for the past couple weeks I've been getting pretty bad migraines during upper body workouts. That's twice a week, I don't get migraines when I'm squating or doing deads, just upper body. I'm getting about 9 hours of sleep a night, drinking plenty of water, around 6 litres a day, and I make an attempt to breathe properly during all my exercises. Looking for any suggestions before I head to a doctor,
Thanks guys


What's Your caffeine intake like? Any weight loss supplements? Energy drink? HOT-ROX type stuff?

I had something similar. I went through around $10k in medical tests only to find out it was some darn supplement all along.


What have you been doing for your upper body workouts that have caused the migraines? What specific exercises cause the most symptoms?


I used to get these headaches as well. Mine used to get triggered mostly with bench press, and it used to totaly ruin the rest of my work out as there would be a constant pain in my head going along with my heartbeat...it's the most annoying shit ever. If you smoke try reducing/stopping that for me that helped alot as well as eat healthier, try to do some cardio once/twice a week.

I know how annoyin this moigraines can be but don't worry it will go away over time. you just need to work around it for the time being.



I used to get headaches after upperbody workouts when I first started lifting. I realized over time, it was due to two things.

  1. I wasn't drinking enough water during the day BEFORE my workout.

  2. I was carrying a lot of tension in my upper traps and neck.

Number 1. was obviously an easy fix. I thought I was drinking enough water, but I wasn't. Number 2. took a little longer, but I did so with soft tissue work like foam rolling my upper back and massaging my neck.

Just a few things to consider. Best of luck.


Thanks for the responses guys,

Um, I'd estimate my caffeine intake at around 300mgs(1 cup of coffee in the morning and 1 tablet before my workout). I'm not on any fat burners or energy drinks and I rarely do cardio. I might try getting a couple cardio sessions a week in...I start my upper body workout with a flat bench, pull up superset. I find the pull ups really get the migraines going. I have a couple pre workout sups that I cycle: SuperPump and Jack3d, I'm not sure if they could be causing this to happen. I also take whey protein, fish oils, and ZMA along with a multi, but I can't see how those sups would cause this.

Thanks again for the feedback


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BBB, you're way too smart for these threads...lol.


x 2! My thoughts exactly.

To the OP, do you do any kind of warmup besides the actual lifts themselves? And I can't say whether those pre-workout supplements are for sure causing it, but I don't think they would be helping the situation or your workouts in general (read: those pre-workout supps are crap).

EDIT: BBB, don't forget about possible SCM involvement too.


BBB, thanks for the response but what is a mobility wod. All i got was some ridiculous cross fit stuff to pop up.
To levelheaded I do some light chest and lat stretches prior to an upper body workout.


"Light chest and lat stretches prior to an upper body workout" do not make a proper warmup.

I'm pretty sure this site is what BBB was referring to: http://mobilitywod.blogspot.com/
It is a good, straight forward and easy to apply approach to beginning and addressing mobility deficits. As long as you don't have any capsular laxity or other gross pathology, the mobility drills should be great for you.


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Now I have! New information everyday.


Hey guys, I've actually found out exactly which exercise is causing the migraines. Turns out its Wide grip pull-ups...No wonder my work-outs were really sucking, I would start with a flat bench, widegrip pull up superset. I've since stopped the pull-ups but I kinda like doing them.


Maybe so, but think about it...wide-grip pullups do not INHERENTLY cause migraines. It's simply a trigger when you have a condition of tight/short/immobilized muscles. The guys are still right. Fix the cause.

I was tempted to ask BBB what is a mobility wod. But I have a rule:

Always Google First.


One of the best rules to have!


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