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Susan Ivy
Susan Ivy, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 4058
Experience:  BSN, MSN, CNS
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Customer Question

Today I was doing rear delt shoulders on the pec dec machine in the gym, and for my last set I went pretty heavy for about 6 repetitions, a lot heavier then I usually do, but I was in the mood to go for it.

Anyways, usually on the negative part of the rep, I suck air through my mouth and blow it out on the positive (when I'm bringing each of the arms back). Anyways I think today I took a deep breath in and didn't really exhale on one of my hard reps. After that set the rest of my workout I was light headed, nauseous, and just kind of loopy. I finished a few more sets and then went home. I still feel a little light headed and a minor headache.

What happened? Will I be ok? Is this a TIA?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 7 years ago.



Thanks for writing JustAnswer Health, and I am sorry you waited so long for an answer, I am just logging on to the site, myself.


By not exahaling, you held your breath longer, didn't get another breath of fresh air in as soon as normal, and so you deprived your system of as much oxygen as normal (similar to holding one's breath for a long time) causing the light headedness and dizziness. The headache could indicate that there was muscle tension, and this is more likely if you are not taking in adequate oxygen. Make sure you are not "holding" your breath while working out or exercising (or at any other time).


You should be fine. It is important to take good regular breaths, especially when exerting oneself. Make sure you breath down to your belly, rather than just using your upper lungs, in other words, breath deeply.



Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hi Susan,

Thanks for your quick response. I hope I didn't cause any long-term damage, this occasionally happens when I go super hard.

I've noticed I've had a very stick neck ever since. What would cause that?
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 7 years ago.

I doubt that you have permanently damaged your muscle, but in order to help it heal, rest it, use a heating pack for 20 minutes up to 3 times daily (will increase circulation to the muscle) and make sure that you drink plenty of water after working out.

As far as what could have caused the pain in the muscle, it is helpful to know that there is actually some muscle "damage" done each time you work out, especially if working out intensely.


In your case, because you are saying that you have noticed this occasionally after working out, especially when going especially hard, it would be important for you to not only make sure that you are stretching before working out, in order to let all your muscle warm up; but also you should be sure to drink plenty of fluids, water would be the best, XXXXX XXXXX occasional electrolyte drink is okay, after working out. It is particularly important to drink plenty of fluids after working out intensely in order to prevent a rare condition (or a milder version) of a problem called rhabdomyolysis. Usually after using the muscles intensly, the damaged muscle cells are taken up by the circulatory system. If you are not drinking enough fluid, then they either do not get disposed of via the circulatory system, and may contribute to "aches & pains" or in severe cases can go to the kidney in too large of a number for the kidney to filter, and can cause kidney damage. This is more likely to occur if one is dehydrated, so there are more cases during the warm seasons.


Edited by Susan Ivy on 3/26/2010 at 4:49 PM EST