When I'm working out and have to lift some heavy weight, I find that I can do it much better if I close my eyes, like focusing on the movement, but I notice that no one is closing their eyes while exercising.

Also if I don't close them my vision blurs a little, but it usually gets fine again during the minute rest between series. Should I be concerned about this?

  • You should definitely get checked out. Blurry vision can be the start of anything from severe migraines (not cool) to epilepsy-like problems, stroke, and more. Hit the doctor's this week!
    – Fattie
    Commented Jul 9, 2011 at 12:23

2 Answers 2


I have to ask if you are using the Valsalva Maneuver while lifting the heavy weights. According to the article I linked to, blurry vision is a side effect of taking the Valsalva Maneuver too far. Every lifter is different, and that phenomenon only happens when you are pushing your limits.

The bad news is that as the weight gets heavier, the risk of passing out due to the Valsalva maneuver increases. For bench presses, the safest bet is to press in a power rack with the safety bars above your neck. If you do pass out you won't get injured.

However, it is a useful tool to get those heavy weights up. In some cases its the only way to get those heavy weights up.

You may be able to lessen the impact if you incorporate aerobic exercise after your weight lifting. Aerobic exercise like jogging will help your heart become larger and pump more volume of blood per beat--somewhat easing the circumstances that cause Valsalva retinopathy.

  • Hmmm.. it may be possible that I may sometimes hold my breath during lifting. I do it without noticing. When I notice I start breathing normally again.
    – Luciano
    Commented Jul 8, 2011 at 20:37
  • Also, is aerobic exercise better after weight lifting or before? Right now I'm doing something before, in order to get warm.
    – Luciano
    Commented Jul 8, 2011 at 20:37
  • To warm up for weight lifting, you need to move the muscles you intend to use. It's better to do light reps (even starting with just the bar) to get warm. I do my cardio afterwards so I'm fresher for the weights. Once the weight gets heavy enough, you can't breath during the lift if you wanted to. I'm there in almost all my lifts right now. I'm trying to train myself to breath at the top/bottom so I can handle the set better. Commented Jul 9, 2011 at 20:27

This is the type of symptom worth checking with your doctor for advice. Blurred vision can be a symptom of high blood pressure and/or stroke. The article that @Berin notes that blood pressure can spike if you hold your breath as you exert. So, it is worth asking your doctor about your symptoms and a trainer about your technique.

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