T Nation

Serious Head Problem When DL'ing


I've been deadlifting for about a month now, after realizing how important this exercise is to include in my regime. However, everytime I deadlift I get a bad feeling in my head like my blood vessels are about to explode or something.

Today was the worst experience. I start off with deadlifts, doing 5x5, and i could not even finish the 4th set. I had to stop immediately and just walk away, i felt like i was about to just pass out. It was just a terrible pounding in the back of my head. I couldnt even finish the rest of the workout and i can still feel it pounding in the back of my head.

I'm not going to be able to make any progress at all if this continues. Does anybody have any suggestions as to why this happened??


Are you holding your breath during the set?


Sounds like your blood pressure is extremely high when lifting. Have you had it checked recently? Do you have the same problem with heavy squats?


Longer rests between sets because DLs are resource intensive and plenty of water because you may be becoming dehydrated.


Exercise induced headache. If you do a google search you'll be able to read about it. Try taking it a little easy and see if it still happens. Make sure you breathe when you lift. I would go see your doctor as well because this sort of thing can also be a symptom of cardiovascular diseases.


I never have this problem with any other exercise. It's just with this exercise when I use a shit load of weight( for my standards of course). Maybe I am holding my breath when I should be exhaling. It's like when you take in a deep breath and you force all the air in your body to the top of your head.

I run all the time and do other intense activity, so I don't think i have cardiovascular disease.


I know holding your breath isn't that great for you but just about all PL's do it. Generally you inhale deeply so that your stomach is tight against your belt which provides you more stability.

I get light headed after a Max single attempt and used to get those headaches but haven't for a long time now. I would suggest what Dave said and make sure you drink enough water, that usually caused mine.

But get your BP check to be on the safe side.


5 x 5 deadlifts with a near max weight is very hard and can be a complete workout in itself.


As other people posted, your breathe should be held to keep your stomach tight, not forced to your head.

Running a lot is no indicator or not having cardiovascular disease. That's why so many marathoners die of heart attacks. It's still their #1 killer. Your diet would be a better indicator. That aside, if you these persist even with the adjustments suggested in this thread, I would get checked out.


Perhaps you are doing the breathing incorrectly.

Are you starting from the top or the bottom. If you are from the bottom you must inhale when you are in the bottom position. Hold and exhale after you pass the sticking point slowly. If you hold your breath until you have done the entire movement of course your head will feel like it is gona explode.


Well it happened again today. I went to the gym to finish my workout from yesterday. I started with wide grip pullups, and on my fourth rep my head just felt like a bomb had exploded in the back of my head. This time it was even worse. This is killing me, i guess i have to go see a doctor.


See a doctor. Insist on getting an MRI. If that doesn't reveal anything abnormal, go to a good sports chiro and seek ART. Don't panic, but people have died from a problem that this type of headache can POSSIBLY be a symptom of. Don't take ANY stimulants before working out.

I had headaches whilst bench pressing last year. It turned out to be because a disc in my neck was subluxated from when my brother hit me in the neck with a golf iron years ago. I don't bench press anymore because it's still not 100%. Dips are fine though.


Yea the only thing is I dontt think I can afford all this. I just graduated high school and haven't even started college, not until the spring. Maybe I should just take a week off then see what happens.


I used to get headaches, light headedness, and stars when doing heavy sets of deadlifts or moderately heavy front squats for lots of reps...

I don't do that very often anymore.


Take 1-2 weeks off, cut back weights by 15%, then build back over 6-8 weeks. You should be fine.