T Nation

Passing Out While Squatting


For the last year or so, whenever I work up to a max or near max squat I get dizzy beyond belief. I've passed out cold a few times (the first time I hit 775 in the gym, going after 817 in a meet, and last night with 903), the first and third time I passed out at the top (thankfully got it in the rack first w/ 775... not so much last night). Even if I don't wind up unconscious, I still wind up with blurry vision for a minute or two after the lift is done? Anyone else ever had this? What the hell is happening, and how do I fix it? My resting BP is about 130/75, HR between 65-75 depending on time of day, so I don't think its a general health problem. I'm not "on" anything, so that couldn't be the issue either. My training partners and I are a little worried, since this is a recurring issue. I sustained a number of concussions playing football in highschool and college; could this have anything to do with it too?


Go find a sports medicine Doc and talk to them about it.

I can think of a variety of reasons but honestly this is potentially very dangerous and taking medical advice on the internet is just a bad idea.

I say sports medicine because I'm sure most GP's would just say "don't lift so heavy" and we know that's not an option.


I'm looking into seeing a sports med doc. My GP has been on my ass about lifting heavy since I started this and, you're right, its not an option.


Google this - Valsalva maneuver


i think if he can squat that much, he knows the valsalva


Dont know about your problem, but at your level I doubt your gonna get any info you dont know from these forums. I suggest sending your question to the elitefts.com Q&A. Good luck!


Just trying to help. I'm not a mindreader and I don't usually assume what another person knows or doesn't know. He asked for help and I offered what little I know.


Hey Chris, maybe in addition to asking a Sports Med, you could see what Ross thinks about this issue. He might have some insight seeing how he has been working with big squatters for quite some time.
I saw the vid LOL, pretty scary.


If Lee Moran were still alive, I'm sure he'd be able to tell you all about it. Except the bar rolled over on his head and knocked him out.



Get Chuck Norris as a spotter. He'll just roundhousekick the weight away from you in case you should faint. On a serious not, could it be that your gear is building up so much pressure in your body that this is the result from it? If it's single ply lifting you do, that squat is world class, no matter the weight class. I've never tried multiply and never will, but I can imagine the pressure building up to insane levels. Since I quit lifting with a squat suit, pressure will still be immense on the heaviest lifts, but not to the degree that I've ever fainted. I haven't seen many lifters faint from ordinary squats. The only time I've seen it I think was from a multiply guy. It's more common to faint in the front squat, or after a heavy clean, just before the jerk.

If you have the same problem when doing raw heavy squats, then you definately should see some doctor about it. If it just happens with the equipment on, then it could be caused by the pressure building up inside the suit, and basically enormous blood pressure to your skull.

But as others have said, the internet is a poor source to seek medical advice. You'd better see an expert. And preferably someone that understand the sport. Most doctors would probably tell you not to lift anymore. :\


This has happened to me before too...

My first time in an ACE suit with the straps up, working on technique.

Also has happened after deadlifts.

Also nose bleeds, busted blood vessels, ect.

All that before I took anything.

Now that I am on, oddly enough it doesn't happen. Mostly because I tried to get in a little better shape and get my blood pressure under control.

I still turn purple, and vision is always blurry a few minutes after heavy squats, and I still have places on my face (I still have acne) pop and bleed, but no passing out.

Last week I did some reps with 600 raw, and thought I was going to pass out. Especially walking it back in. As soon as I racked it I just laid down on the floor because I was halfway expecting to pass and didn't want to fall into something haha

IMO, it comes with the territory usually, although it could be a problem, so get it checked out if you are concerned.

I never have (nor do I plan to) worry about mine.


I appreciate the help, from all of you. I'm gonna get it checked out by a sports med doc just to be on the safe side. I mean, I'm only 21. If theres an issue now, I'd rather nip it in the bud and get it taken care of.


Sounds like what you did was induce vasovagal constriction.

Typically this is caused by hyperventillation (lots of quick breaths) followed by a valsalva (attempt to exhale through heavy exertion without allowing any air out).

If that's the case it can usually be avoided through either skipping the hyperventiallation or the valsalva. The first is easy, just don't take all the quick little breaths before you lift, the second can be harder but try exhaling toward the top of teh lift. NOt everything but let a little breath whistle out.

Again though I still recommend the sports medicine doc as it could be something more serious.


I'm not at weights that can make me pass out (at least not yet), but I've used a little hyperventilation to get amped up. Is that wrong and is there a better way to it?


Try just skipping the hyperventilation, just take one deep breath instead. If it fixes teh problem that was easy, if not then we try something else.


It could be vasovagal syncope which in general is not a serious medical condition. There may be ways to manage it to better support your training goals.



I'd say your concussions might be a big source of this. I can't say much, since I know the least of anybody here, but a single concussion might have effects many years down the line. Definitely get an expert to check you out. And most definitely not a regular doc.

Also, holy hell that's a big squat.