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Tom Rawls 07-16-2007 11:34 AM

Sometimes when lifting heavy (for me) weights, I'll get a bit dizzy at the conclusion of the lift. This usually happens in the later sets and the final reps, especially w/ squats. For example, doing 5x5 squats, in sets 4 and 5 I'll get a bit dizzy at the top on reps 4 and 5. The buzz goes away w/in a few seconds.

What's that all about?

Is it anything to worry about, other than the possibility I'll topple and the weights will crunch me? I'm old (61), but in excellent health.

Rich Stackon 07-16-2007 12:45 PM

I have the same issue, especially when doing deadlifts. I have noticed that breathing heavy and not holding your breath during these exercises greatly reduces that buzz you get....which you should be doing to begin with.
Unless the diziness is accompanied by chest discomfort or tingling in the arms, I would say you are OK. If it lasts longer, or you have other issues, go get the ticker checked out. My dad had some issues, and had to get a quadruple bypass. The doc said if he didn't work out, he wouldn't have noticed, and would have been dead in a week.

Matt DeMinico 07-16-2007 02:10 PM

I'm no doctor, but I'd probably attribute it to a somewhat rapid lowering in blood pressure after a set.

Basically think of it this way: You're working out hard, so your blood vessels relax slightly to allow more blood flow (lowering blood pressure if all other things remain constant), but counteracting that, two things happen, your heart rate goes up (raising blood pressure), and your muscles are contracting (raising blood pressure). Especially doing heavy things like deadlifts, you're contracting a LOT of muscles, your heart starts pounding, and your blood pressure goes up. I believe your body then has some sort of sensors that compensate for increase blood pressure, and bring it back down to a not-quite-as-high level.

So when you finish your set, put down the barbell at the end of your deadlift, and stand up straight, all of a sudden you're not contracting all your muscles, AND your heart rate is going down quickly. All this happens faster than your body has time to react, and the blood doesn't get to your brain quite as well as it had been two seconds ago. Within a few seconds of this, your body has compensated and you start to feel normal again.

Connie Morreale 07-16-2007 02:24 PM

check your breathing. some people advocate breath holding to increase intra-abdominal pressure. if you are doing this, make sure you aren't "forgetting" to resume as close to normal breathing as you can after you pass the sticking point.

Tom Rawls 07-16-2007 07:21 PM

thanx, folks. I got thinking about the valsalva maneuver (holding breath), and that appears to cause fluctuations in blood pressure (as Matt said). I guess the blood pressure roller coaster accounts for the dizziness. Some experimentation w/ breathing, as Rich and Connie suggest, seems to be in order.

Matt DeMinico 07-16-2007 08:46 PM

Remember too, if it gets serious (like you're close to losing your balance or consciousness), get it checked out. Otherwise, a little lightheadedness is probably close to normal, and should go away eventually (I think) after you've been doing it for a while and your body learns how to adjust better.

Ken Mindoro 07-17-2007 11:14 AM

Valsalva causing a reflex mediated syncope sounds like what is going on. If it persists or gets worse, speaking to your doctor is always a good decision.

Personally, I've seen a couple patients have similar symptoms with activities that increase intra-abdominal pressure, usually because they were constipated. A similar problem related to heavy lifting is new to me, but sounds likely.

Arden Cogar Jr. 07-17-2007 12:54 PM

I've got to be a bit of a rube here, but, coming from a powerlifting background, me and my fellow ironheads called these symptoms "the swirleys." It meant you were doing something and taxing your CNS. As long as it doesn't persist, you should be fine. By persist, I'm saying more than a few seconds upon completion of the final rep.

It's actually one of my favorite experiences about weight/resistence training. It's a wicked endorphin rush. The love of that rush kept me away from parties as a youth and I'm very thankful for it. I didn't need anything other than a barbell to get a buzz. Sounds sorta sad now that I reflect upon it, but I'm happier and wiser as a result.

All the best,

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