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Headache when I squat?

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  • Headache when I squat?

    I started a LHT routine around 6-7 weeks ago, and all was going fine until recently. In my last few workouts I've got a headache as soon as I start doing squats. It's quite an intense headache at the back of the head on the left side, and increases with intensity with every rep. It's happened the last 3 times I've tried to squat, having previously had no issues with this. I haven't jumped up a huge amount in weight on the bar, only adding about 5lb each week, and currently only squat a very modest 60lb. I don't get the headache with any other exercise. Today I've done deadlifts, bench, chin ups and shoulder press with no issues. Has anyone else experienced this, or know what might be causing it? I've now removed squats from my routine, but don't want to do this permanently as they're such a great movement.
    My Journal: Englishman In Oz, Skinny to Muscle in a Primal Way

  • #2
    get the squats back and live with the headache.

    this is just weakness leaving your brain.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by dado View Post
      get the squats back and live with the headache.

      this is just weakness leaving your brain.
      Haha! Were you ever in the French Foreign Legion by any chance? I hear what you're saying but I think there's more to it than that. I'm no stranger to training with intensity, and I'm currently squatting well within my comfort zone. It's hard to describe but the pain is like nothing I've experienced before. Some of my more medically trained friends have mentioned trapped nerves and the like, but I dunno. Just wanted to see if any regular lifters have had the same.
      My Journal: Englishman In Oz, Skinny to Muscle in a Primal Way

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      • #4
        Probably just pulled it from straining your neck too much on the way up. I had a similar issue back in the fall and just had to lay off the squats for a while. Give it time.

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        • #5
          Do some heavy shrugs and see if you experience the same discomfort.
          I expect if you do shrugs for about the same length of time, you will have the same sensation, albeit far less severe.

          If this is the case, the problem is coming from the additional strain placed on your cervical spine.

          Or, simply do front squats (holding the weight in front) and see if you experience the same problem. I expect you will not. If you still experience the same discomfort even with the front squats, I would advise you to get checked by your MD right away, because at that point it may be the increased pressure in your head causing the pain, which needs to be checked for and ruled out right away.

          But, I'm pretty sure you will find it is coming from your neck.
          "Your actions speak to me so loud, I can not hear a single word you are saying."

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          • #6
            I had the exact same thing happen to me. I had to b-r-e-a-t-h-e and relax. I was tensing up and powering through it. Evaluate yourself at the top, are you breathing, relaxing your neck and shoulder muscles. That's all it took for mine to disappear.

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            • #7
              I got nauseous when I first started doing them -- headachey might relate. I thought it was the wheat belly getting squished:-):-):-) Figured I'd live through it and did them anyway. Annoying side effects gone now and just feeling the muscles getting tighter.

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              • #8
                a similar thing happened to me with all heavy movements in which i had to hold my breath. dips, chins or squats. i was eating very low carb. you know what worked? eating more carbs. it was a tough thing for me to admit to myself, i had been all about that ketogenic thing, felt great for months. and then the exact types of headaches you mention started. scared the shit out of me too, so sharp and intense...

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                • #9
                  I started randomly getting hammered by similar headaches on heavy overhead squats. This was helpful:

                  Episode 228/365: Slaying the Exertional-Headache Beast | Mobility WOD

                  If you google around, you will find lots of information related to making sure you're properly hydrated and fed well (in line with Jakey's comment about carbs).

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by deepglades View Post
                    I started randomly getting hammered by similar headaches on heavy overhead squats. This was helpful:

                    Episode 228/365: Slaying the Exertional-Headache Beast | Mobility WOD
                    thank you for that link!!

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                    • #11
                      That happened to me a couple months back, I have a thread on here about it as well. My head just about exploded every time I exerted myself lifting heavy things, doing squats, pullups, etc. It scared the heck out of me and I quit the heavy lifting for about a month, worked more on sprinting and stuff like that. Then started lifting again making sure I warmed up very well, drank lots of water, worked on breathing right, and started with lower weights. Thankfully it never reoccurred and I'm lifting heavier than ever.

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                      • #12
                        Where are you resting the bar? You might be sitting it too high, more in your neck region than your shoulders. If this is the case, try pulling your shoulders and elbows back so your traps create a "meat shelf" ( ) so the bar can sit on them.

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                        • #13
                          If you are brave you could take a video and post it on the starting strength forum and have Rip take a look at it.
                          "The problem with quoting someone on the Internet is, you never know if it's legit" - Abraham Lincoln

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by deepglades View Post
                            I started randomly getting hammered by similar headaches on heavy overhead squats. This was helpful:

                            Episode 228/365: Slaying the Exertional-Headache Beast | Mobility WOD

                            If you google around, you will find lots of information related to making sure you're properly hydrated and fed well (in line with Jakey's comment about carbs).
                            Awesome, thanks for that. And thanks everyone else, I'm gonna give it another go tomorrow with good head and neck positioning and well watered and fed. Cheers!
                            My Journal: Englishman In Oz, Skinny to Muscle in a Primal Way

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                            • #15
                              So I brought back the squats, focussing on the following:
                              deep breathing, well hydrated, a few more carbs (sweet potato), and I think most importantly, keeping the bar lower on my shoulders and totally relaxing the shoulder and neck muscles.
                              The result? Not the slightest hint of a headache and felt much stronger during the sets. Thanks folks!
                              My Journal: Englishman In Oz, Skinny to Muscle in a Primal Way

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