Are these folks taught in school (or as part of their licensing process) that valsalva is unsafe?

Do they advise against it for liability reasons? (e.g., they're more likely to face a lawsuit from a client/patient who performed valsalva and ended up experiencing a rare blood-pressure related issue vs. a client/patient who didn't perform valsalva and ended up hurting their back?)

Am curious why there is such a big disconnect between advice from professionals vs. advice from the vast majority of serious lifters?

1 Answer 1


This article from 2009 discusses using the valsalva maneuver while weightlifting. The big caveat I can find after a quick scan is that the maneuver has cardiovascular risks when used while lifting weights, especially if the weightlifter has higher blood pressure already. The big risks are increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, and a risk of cerebral hemorrhaging. It also seems that the maneuver is only really beneficial (and somewhat natural) for certain exercises and when attempting a maximum rep. However, the paper recommends a forced exhalation should be used to mitigate the above risks.

Thanks to @sagnick das in the comments for prompting the following: Another article (Behind a paywall but relevant info summarized on this NSFW page under "Pelvic Pain in the Athlete") states that the maneuver can cause/exacerbate inguinal hernias, a condition that can also happen due to weightlifting (also stated in the article). Disclaimer: I did not dig deep into this article due to the NSFW content and paywall.

There seems to be some benefits to using the maneuver, but outside of strength training. Most notably, and the only time I've purposefully used it, is attempting to treat supraventricular tachycardia.

  • Doesn't it also increase the risk of inguinal hernias?
    – S.D
    May 3, 2019 at 18:25
  • @sagnikdas I haven't read anything that would suggest such within the linked article; the word "hernia" doesn't even appear in it. I did find another article that suggest the maneuver can help identify abdominal hernias: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15728607 and this post on Science Direct states that the maneuver can cause/exacerbate hernias, though I couldn't really dig into it due to NSFW photos/drawings (don't want a conversation with HR): sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/inguinal-hernia May 3, 2019 at 18:41
  • We'll I am not an expert but I am just linking the fact that inguinal hernias occurred or aggravated usually by intra abdominal pressure,with,the fact that valsalva's main aim is to stabilize the core..by increasing the intra abdominal pressure.
    – S.D
    May 3, 2019 at 18:49
  • @sagnikdas The logic follows. I edited my answer to include the relevant information. Thanks for the prompt! May 3, 2019 at 18:53

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