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  1. #1
    Registered User simwi's Avatar
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    heavy weights and the valsalva maneuver

    was talking to a few mates about when performing heavy weight shoulder presses they explained to me that holding your breathe in when performing a heavy weight is very dangerous as it can causes herniation and that the weight is therefore too heavy if you are holding your breath when trying to lift it up.

    my point was that 1) surely you won't be able to lift a heavy weight unless you perform the valsalva maneuver (holding your breath while tyring to breathe out) or you have a spotter with you anyway and 2) that you need to create a block when performing heavy weights so that you are more stabilised (hence weight belts or whatever they're called)

    what do you guys think, and how do you perform heavy weight exercises?
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  2. #2
    Doesn't Eat Enough Tillday's Avatar
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    Mark Rippetoe suggests holding it, I suppose it can't be -that- dangerous if him and people he teaches do it and haven't died.

    That doesn't mean it's necessarily the best route.

    Someone posted under a youtube video (thus take this for what its worth, hearsay and nothing more) that there was a study comparing valsalva with inhale / exhale and it determined valsalva increases the chance of a stroke, exhaling on the upward motion increases the chance of a blackout.
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  3. #3
    Registered User simwi's Avatar
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    yeah, the fact that somebody such as mark rippetoe and others that have mentioned it suggests to me that it isn't necessarily dangerous but, just like anything, can cause minor problems if not correctly used. i tend to read up on ex-bb's or strength trainers etc. if i want to research something.

    they both make sense tbh, i have used the valsalva maneuver ever since i started lifting weights and have had nothing done to me yet, it just irritates me when my mates tell me that it's dangerous to do so etc.

    i think next time i will ask them to provide proof as to why holding one's breathe is dangerous and if they can't......well.............

    but cheers for the post, will keep the info in mind
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    Registered User Baadboy11's Avatar
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    Most folks are ok but those with high blood pressure should not do the valsalva because it can cause bp to skyrocket...more so then just lifting the weights and breathing.
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    Heavy ass weight Gnadenlos's Avatar
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    Been doing it all my life, no hernias, no blackouts. Do it every time I lift. So who knows. Maybe I'm ****ing Superman.
    "What is happiness? The feeling that power is increasing--that resistance is being overcome."
    - Nietzsche
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  6. #6
    Registered User brudman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Gnadenlos View Post
    I'm ****ing Superman.
    I've always wondered how Superman is in bed. Keep us posted. Thx.
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

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  7. #7
    Seoul-Brotha Bostongeorge617's Avatar
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    I gave myself a minor case of pneumothorax on a 1RM deadlift. The breath I took in and held right before the lift was a little too large. Imagine squeezing a balloon in both hands and having a small bubble pop out between your fingers; thats what it felt like. Again, it wasn't serious and caused only mild discomfort for a few days. So I'd caution not against blocking, but how deeply you take your final breath before the lift portion.
    Use the tools of the trade to help you. I use devices such as chalk for grip strength, gloves, wrist straps, lifting belts - if it helps you lift more, it's all good. - Ronnie Coleman, Hardcore, 2007 Triumph Books

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    Originally Posted by brudman View Post
    I've always wondered how Superman is in bed. Keep us posted. Thx.
    Ive always wondered how the Hulk is in bed.... superman pff
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  9. #9
    community gym PT KyleAaron's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by simwi View Post
    was talking to a few mates about when performing heavy weight shoulder presses they explained to me that holding your breathe in when performing a heavy weight is very dangerous as it can causes herniation and that the weight is therefore too heavy if you are holding your breath when trying to lift it up.
    "Heavy" is relative. That said, nobody ever squatted 3 plates a side or deadlifted 4 without holding their breath while doing so. Most people instinctively hold their breath during extreme efforts, such as pushing their broken-down car out of an intersection, or lifting a refrigerator up some stairs.

    If you want to lift truly heavy weights, you must hold your breath.

    As well, the breath-holding keeps the spine steady. If we watched your non-breath-holding friends doing overhead presses with a barbell, I think we would find that they bend their lower back and sway around quite a lot. They risk injury to their backs.

    I suspect that your mates are not squatting 1.5 times their bodyweight, deadlifting 2 or more, or putting their bodyweight overhead. That's okay, nobody has a duty to lift heavy. Just understand that you're limiting yourself, and be happy with those limits.
    Originally Posted by Tillday
    Someone posted under a youtube video (thus take this for what its worth, hearsay and nothing more) that there was a study comparing valsalva with inhale / exhale and it determined valsalva increases the chance of a stroke
    This is logically so. Valsalva or rather breath-holding momentarily cuts off the blood flow through the brain. That's why your face turns purple and veins pop out as you do the deadlift. It looks like this,

    reach down to grasp the bar
    chest up
    breath in
    hold it - pressure now builds up
    brace
    stand up - pressure increases with exertion
    lock out
    back down, arse back
    weight goes clunk, let breath out - pressure in brain drops suddenly as blood flows out
    feel lightheaded
    wait a moment to catch a breath, head clears, repeat

    When you exhale after dropping the weight, for a moment you get tunnel vision and think you might black out - when you release your breath, the blood flows back out of the head, for a moment there's not enough blood in your head to keep everything working. But if you catch your breath it soon returns. How quickly it returns depends on your cardiovascular fitness - which is literally your body's ability to pump oygenated blood around the body. Unfit people will take longer to get the blood back into their heads, fit people will recover more quickly and be ready for another rep.

    Anyway, for the moment of the breath-holding, the blood pressure inside the head rises hugely. A stroke occurs when local blood flood flow to the brain stops. This happens in two ways, either a clot blocks a vessel (same as in a heart attack), or the pressure exceeds the strength of the blood vessel inside the brain, and bursts it.

    Ruptures are most commonly caused by trauma, such as gunshot wounds or car accidents. The blood vessels themselves are typically strong and built to withstand high pressures. The extra from some breath-holding isn't going to do anything.

    Clots are caused by eating too many burgers and pop tarts and smoking, while having a family history of cardiovascular disease. "Genetics loads the gun, your behaviour pulls the trigger." In general, someone with cardiovascular disease ought not the lift fcking heavy weights.

    If you already have a risk of heart attack or stroke, lifting heavy weights increases it. If you have no risk factors for it, it doesn't.

    Thus, 71 year old obese guys with high blood pressure who've been smoking a pack a day since they were 12 and who have high blood cholesterol ought not to lift heavy weights. But 30 year olds of a healthy weight and blood pressure who have never smoked and have ordinary blood cholesterol should be okay.

    I do know of cases when older obese people with high blood pressure, diabetes and so on have lifted heavy weights and died in the weightroom. I know of no cases where younger people without those risk factors have died in the weightroom. As this article relates,
    No significant cardiovascular events were reported with 1-RM strength testing (bench press, leg press, and knee extension) in 6653 healthy subjects 20 to 69 years of age who had undergone a preliminary medical examination and maximal treadmill testing, and all of whom had resting BP <160/90 mm Hg]
    It's common sense, really: if you are at serious risk of dropping dead because of cardiovascular issues, then take it easy in the gym, don't go balls-to-the-wall from day one. If you have no such risk factors, go for it.
    Last edited by KyleAaron; 01-27-2011 at 04:33 PM.
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  10. #10
    Heavy ass weight Gnadenlos's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by brudman View Post
    I've always wondered how Superman is in bed. Keep us posted. Thx.
    Very giving and loving. You've never known true safety until you've been held in the strong, sweaty arms of the Last Son of Krypton.











































































    You have to be careful though, cause super-strength also applies to the sphincter and if he gets too excited it can hurt quite a bit.
    "What is happiness? The feeling that power is increasing--that resistance is being overcome."
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