More than any of the other exercises that I do, whenever I complete a set (10 reps) of deadlifts (appx 175 pounds not as much as I see other people do), I feel the need to hold on to something or sit down. Why is that? I've even seen videos of people passing out after doing deadlifts.

Can this be avoided / effect minimised?

  • Valsalva - basically like trying to exhale against closed airways. Always breathe when lifting.
    – JohnP
    Commented Feb 16, 2019 at 20:52

1 Answer 1


If you're doing the Valsalva maneuver during deadlifts, then it is possible to get light headed during. Overcoming it will come with experience. Though, it's common for people to hold their breath during the entire set which is not what you want to do. This is especially true for those that "bounce" the bar (disengage and immediately pull).

To make sure you have enough oxygen throughout the set:

  1. Perform a few really deep breaths before grabbing the bar.
  2. Grab the bar
  3. Deep breath in to the stomach and hold
  4. Pull the lift
  5. Disengage
  6. Exhale

Repeat 3 - 6 until set is complete.

Do not rush the set. Do not bounce. It's not a race. Take as many breaths between reps as you need. Reset each rep if you have to.

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