I've been following Mark Rippetoe's program and training exclusively with heavy compound lifts. In his book, he advocates application of Valsalva manoeuvre during heavy lifts. But I was not able to find a step by step guide how to properly perform it (except just "Take a deep breath and hold it").

Hence the question, what is the proper of way of performing Valsalva manoeuvre?

Here is the way I do it:

  1. Inhale and exhale deeply 3-4 times.
  2. Take a deep belly breath
  3. Continue inhaling filling up the lungs now
  4. Close the glotis
  5. Perform the lift
  6. Exhale
  7. Repeat steps 1 through 6

I don't know if there is really anything else to it, but maybe I'm still missing something. For example, I'm not sure if I'm locking the pressure correctly, because during the heaviest lifts I get a feeling that the pressure from the abdominal cavity "leaks" into my head and I get a feeling as if a balloon is being inflated in my head.

1 Answer 1


The feeling of pressure in your head, especially during a heavy lift, is normal. That feeling is accurate, as the increase in intra-thoracic pressure extends into the cranium via increased blood pressure and increase cerebra-spinal fluid (CSF) pressure. This means you're doing the maneuver at least partly correctly.

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