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Squats, Headache & Exhaustion


Have any of you had a ridiculous headache after squats followed by an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion. I've had it these past 2 weeks. I feel the exhaustion is starting to negatively affect my bench which I do after my squats.

I do try to rest 10 minutes before even starting to bench the bar. I'm sleeping 8-9 hours daily and I'm eating what I've been eating for the past 2 months.


Tried advil?


I have this problem when I don't get enough fats in my diet. I'll also add in some coconut oil or MCT oil in my pre training shake and no problem. Plus the MCT's give me a bit of energy for the session.


The headache and exhaustion occurs right after squats. Much rather not resort to advil to get rid of a 15-30 min headache.

I ate an avocado fueled meal before going in, that alone was 30g of fat. It felt a bit undigested though. But this isn't the first time it has happened. It usually clears up during/after I finish my bench sets. But because of it the benching becomes really hard. Maybe I should let the food sit a bit longer.


Not from squats, but I was frequently getting headaches from deadlifting a couple of months ago. I attributed them to exertion headaches, brought on by either my neck positioning or my breathing. Once I started pulling with a neutral neck position and getting air between reps, even on low-rep sets, they went away.


The only time I get headaches and extreme exhaustion from lifting is when I'm dehydrated. As soon as I started drinking more water I no longer got headaches or crazy exhausted. Not saying that you are getting dehydrated, but it could be a possibility.


Yes had the headache and exhaustion too.
It took 4 days to get rid of the headache and I could feel the pounding in my head when I squatted again.
And it took couple weeks of agony to find out what happend:
Wrong breathing pattern during heavy lifting.

I was holding my breath during the lift.
This is something I adopted from doing deadlifts. To keep my upper body strainght I hold my breath and as I can't just drop the weight on the floor I exhale at knee level.
Some how this way of breathing got carried over to heavy squats.

So my solution was to consciously learn a new breathing pattern.

The headache also appeared during bench press, so I learned to breath and keep tension where it's needed during the lift.

I really thought of quit lifting because after the first big headache it appeared all the time even with other lifts.

So my advice is to check if your holding breath during the lift!

Greets Andreas


Could be blood sugar, blood pressure, or oxygen. Or some combination. For me, most of the stuff like this went away just getting in better shape.


I have this problem, too, and also attribute it to not getting enough oxygen to the brain while squatting. Mostly, I've just learned to deal with it. It doesn't last long after finishing the set.

However, if I understand you right, you are recommending breathing during a squat rep. That sounds like a terrible idea. If I let out my air at the bottom of the squat, my squat goes down and my risk of injury goes way up. I definitely try to take a couple breaths at the top, but that has to be balanced with the fact that the faster I squat, the faster the set is over and the faster I can breath normally again.


I get this often enough just squatted heavy in gear tonight and 2 hours after i still have a headache it goes away eventually. Lots of pressure goes to the head when squatting heavy holding your breath even raw i get it when i Really strain as far as I know it's just the price to pay for getting stronger.


I don't get headaches, but after squatting I usually develop a small nose bleed later in the day from the exertion in my top set. I also feel lethargic like you after squatting, so I just do some calf raises whilst I 'regather' myself for the other lifts on the day.

So, you could try and restructure your program and put an accessory lift before your bench, so you can use that time effectively and let you get into the groove for benching


Maybe I didn't make the picture clear enough: I don't keep breathing throughout the set, I just learned to breath at different "landmarks".
I used take a big breath and keep the air in from squatting down and back up to lock-out. I would then take the needed breaths for the next rep.
And I don't thinks its an oxygen issue, I think its blood pressure. Not enough oxygen would cause you to pass out.

What I do now is this:
I fill my lungs, squat down and as I rise I exhale. Very controlled. This is about 2/3 of the up movement. To get out the hole you want to the tension in your upper body or else you would simply collapse on heavy weights.

Maybe you wanna try that with a light weight, as your warm up sets to get used to that new pattern. Do it very consciously and feel the point where to exhale. I know that sounds sloppy. Try to use the pain as a gauge.
When I felt it build up again I started to let the air out.

Thats what helped me.