Squats with high blood pressure

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    May 10, 2010 11:44 AM GMT
    Okay, here is the deal, I'd like advice and opinions from everyone if possible and especially perhaps from Chucky if he can weigh in on this subject too.

    Okay, summerised post here, rest of the story belong (it was a little long)
    I've high blood pressure when working out, I am on bp meds, they work perfectly except I can't do squats because they make me dizzy, tried a few different things, none work, any advice?


    Sooo, about 3 months ago (maybe a little longer) I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, while day to day I sit only moderately high (ie, I am about 2 points above what would be within a good range) during a workout my blood pressure can sky rocket to 155/100 and have short peaks of 168/110 (my distolic pressure tends to fluctuate a bit depending on what I'm doing) we've found a fabulous blood pressure medication that really works for me, I don't get dizzy during the day and through most of my workout is perfect.

    Before starting the bp meds I used to experience shaking legs and hands that would begin in my right foot and the harder I pushed it would start happening in my left foot and eventually move into my hands (mostly during power cleans of 6 sets of 8 with 100 kilos (220 pounds) I'm not 100% sure if that's it's proper name of what I'm doing but they where intense and the hardest part of the workout, I also happened to love them.. but anyway.

    I've developed a problem, I can't squat, I get really bad dizzy spells, doesn't matter how much weight, it can just be the olympic bar hell it could be a freakin feather, that up down motion just makes my head spin like you wouldn't believe, I've tried a few different times of squats, including a front one in hopes of keeping my self and my head my upright, but alas no luck, even dumbbell squats.. However I can use machines just fine unfortunately (I freakin HATE machines, well most machines anyway I admit some have a use in certain things)

    is there anything I can do? anything that will let me squat? I almost fell over with the bar on my back tonight at the gym, I can do deadlifts perfectly (hell my weight is progressing upways practically every time I do them) I can do lungs till cows come home, I can do pretty much everything else but I can't squat..

    oooers long post heh
  • UFJocknerd

    Posts: 392

    May 11, 2010 12:38 AM GMT
    Ruleout question: You sure you're breathing while you do squats?
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    May 11, 2010 1:01 AM GMT
    UFJocknerd saidRuleout question: You sure you're breathing while you do squats?

    Oh yeah, I breath, a lot, I never hold my breath unless it's chest presses and then I've a small problem that I am dealing with slowly, but during squats never have a problem.
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    May 11, 2010 1:04 AM GMT
    UFJocknerd saidRuleout question: You sure you're breathing while you do squats?


    I had the same thing. Dizzy thought I would pass out. A trainer asked me if I was breathing correctly during the excersise. I didn't know. I practiced breathing out when lifting and in on the down stroke. After a few sessions, the dizziness disappeared and I can do it all fine now. Just my experience...
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    May 11, 2010 1:07 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidThat is odd that you can do dead lifts yet you can't do squats, even squats with dumbbells. I was going to suggest that it might be the bar on your back that may be affecting you on some way. But since dumbbell squats are creating a similar experience like regular barbell squats I am at a loss as to what to suggest for you.

    This is why I'm at such a loss and coming to you guys, deadlifts I am setting new weights for my self almost every week at this point, but squats for some reason are just not working.

    I might try dumbbell squats again and see if there might be anything I can adjust but I'm not confident.

    oh and I do full range squats too.. don't know if that helps, I feel stupid doing partials but I've tried them and it's a little better but still not great.
  • ncaahockey

    Posts: 59

    May 11, 2010 1:10 AM GMT
    Have you tried taking Fish Oil and Cinnamon?

    My Mom and Dad have tried this and have almost completely eliminated their high blood pressure medication!

    Just a thought!

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    May 11, 2010 1:13 AM GMT
    ncaahockey saidHave you tried taking Fish Oil and Cinnamon?

    My Mom and Dad have tried this and have almost completely eliminated their high blood pressure medication!

    Just a thought!


    fish oil and cinnamon? is this together type of thing or separate? how much did they take? how long did it take for the effects to kick in? are they still on blood pressure medication? do you happen to know what the dosage of the medication they were on before and after? are your parents high blood pressure caused my excess weight? old age? poor diet? other external factors?

    Hope you don't mind me asking those questions you just peaked my curiosity
  • UFJocknerd

    Posts: 392

    May 11, 2010 1:32 AM GMT
    What bp med are you on? Dizziness is a possible side effect if the med is resulting in decreased blood flow to the brain for a second while you move upward. Do you get dizzy if you lie down and stand up quickly a few times?
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    May 11, 2010 1:40 AM GMT
    have you looked into L-Arginine ?

    i've had a little experience of pre high blood pressure condition a few years ago.
    I controlled it through diet, no salt, almost no coffee , grapefruit , lots of fruits,
    no licorice ever.

    i never experienced any dizziness though, except when i lie down flat because i have an inner ear condition ( benign paroxysmal positional vertigo they call it ),coming and going as it pleases , very annoying.




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    May 11, 2010 1:43 AM GMT
    UFJocknerd saidWhat bp med are you on? Dizziness is a possible side effect if the med is resulting in decreased blood flow to the brain for a second while you move upward. Do you get dizzy if you lie down and stand up quickly a few times?

    it's called Atacand (candesartan cilexetil) it's 8mg and I take one in the morning.
    I rarely get dizzy, it doesn't happen ya know, once every few weeks last one outside of the gym was maybe 4 days ago and it was incredibly mild and brief lasting only a second and mostly again happens when I am getting up and down while say cleaning (again, squating down, standing up, squating down)

    I haven't checked to see if I get dizzy laying down and getting up a few times, I can check though if you'd like to know, but I can jump outta bed and not have a problem
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    May 11, 2010 1:54 AM GMT
    xassantex saidhave you looked into L-Arginine ?

    i've had a little experience of pre high blood pressure condition a few years ago.
    I controlled it through diet, no salt, almost no coffee , grapefruit , lots of fruits,
    no licorice ever.

    i never experienced any dizziness though, except when i lie down flat because i have an inner ear condition ( benign paroxysmal positional vertigo they call it ),coming and going as it pleases , very annoying.

    Interesting, I'll need to talk to my doctor about it though, the prescription specifically stats I can't take a potassium supplement so I don't know how that'd work but I'll check into it.

    I've stopped drinking coffee for the time being, my sodium levels used to be to low so I've had to increase my salt intake.

    Why no grapefruit though?
  • UFJocknerd

    Posts: 392

    May 11, 2010 1:54 AM GMT
    lilTanker said
    it's called Atacand (candesartan cilexetil) it's 8mg and I take one in the morning.
    I rarely get dizzy, it doesn't happen ya know, once every few weeks last one outside of the gym was maybe 4 days ago and it was incredibly mild and brief lasting only a second and mostly again happens when I am getting up and down while say cleaning (again, squating down, standing up, squating down)

    I haven't checked to see if I get dizzy laying down and getting up a few times, I can check though if you'd like to know, but I can jump outta bed and not have a problem


    Atacand can cause dizziness: http://www.drugs.com/sfx/atacand-side-effects.html. You might not experience it all the time but maybe the combination of quick vertical movement, muscular constriction, and exertion exacerbates it.

    Try lying down and getting up a dozen times quick and see if you get dizzy.

    Maybe you can just slow the squats down to stop it if it's a problem of blood not getting to your brain as quick during the up-down movement (insert RJ double entendre). Can't really slow down a clean though.
  • ncaahockey

    Posts: 59

    May 11, 2010 2:48 AM GMT
    lilTanker said
    ncaahockey saidHave you tried taking Fish Oil and Cinnamon?

    My Mom and Dad have tried this and have almost completely eliminated their high blood pressure medication!

    Just a thought!


    fish oil and cinnamon? is this together type of thing or separate? how much did they take? how long did it take for the effects to kick in? are they still on blood pressure medication? do you happen to know what the dosage of the medication they were on before and after? are your parents high blood pressure caused my excess weight? old age? poor diet? other external factors?

    Hope you don't mind me asking those questions you just peaked my curiosity


    Personally I take 500mg of Cinnamon twice a day and a fish oil capsule twice a day that has Omega 3-6-9 in it (not for sure how many total mg of fish oil is in it but it's a horse pill!)

    I have notice a decent amount of drop in my bp by taking it. Before I took it my bp was around 138/80 not that bad but after I started taking it it dropped down into the upper 120's /80.

    My parents bp is much higher and more related to older age, they eat good meals, but are not able to exercise like they once could. My Dad was the one who found an article about the fish oil and cinnamon. He use to take bp medicine but is now on his 3rd month of NO medication and is still taking the fish oil and cinnamon. His doctor is testing him on a monthly basis keeping track of his status.

    Another thing that prompted him to try something else was that the side effects from his bp meds were causing SEVERE muscle pain in his whole body that required him to take another med to counter act that. After he stopped taking the bp med he has felt the best he has felt in over a year and a half!

    I really hope this can help you! It has helped my Dad!

    There is a LOT of info on the internet regarding fish oil and cinnamon! and it's VERY cheap compared to medications!
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    May 11, 2010 2:57 AM GMT
    I'm curious how you are measuring your BP during your workout.
  • twentyfourhou...

    Posts: 243

    May 11, 2010 3:02 AM GMT
    Don't really have an answer but will share with you my experience. For many years i had HTN and to some extent still do. I was on a combination of diuretic and ACE inhibitor. I had the same problem you described - with squats. Like you i really had to focus on my breathing during the movement and take it slowly immediately afterward. Reactive orthostatic hypotension is a side effect of many BP meds. In the end, i started loosing wt but stayed on the same dose - needless to say my symptoms became worse. In the end (as a result of the wt. loss) my high BP had largely resolved - so i stopped the medications and of course the symptoms resolved.

    I am no doc but i would say that what you are experiencing is a drug side effect (orthostatic hypotension). Other than trying a different medication, i would say (don't get offended but if you are like me) perhaps with some additional weight loss your BP might normalize to the point where you no longer need the medication.
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    May 11, 2010 4:43 AM GMT
    lilTanker said

    Why no grapefruit though?


    oh, i just expressed myself wrong.
    i do eat grapefruit, one a day , 1/2 in morning and the rest later on in the day.
    but grapefruit is weird. It 's often 'verboten' to take it if you're under certain medication. It affects the way your liver processes medication or something like that.
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    May 11, 2010 4:59 AM GMT
    xassantex said
    lilTanker said

    Why no grapefruit though?


    oh, i just expressed myself wrong.
    i do eat grapefruit, one a day , 1/2 in morning and the rest later on in the day.
    but grapefruit is weird. It 's often 'verboten' to take it if you're under certain medication. It affects the way your liver processes medication or something like that.



    Grapefruit has narnegin which extends the half-life of certain meds. You should check with the warning label to see if it interferes with your meds.


    I have moderately high blood pressure. I take maitake, arginine, hawthorne, small amounts of aspirin, etc. Maitake mushroom seems to really help my blood pressure levels.


    Give up the squats. Of course it's because you're standing up with the squats, and with the machines you're either on your back or at an incline. The guys that make the most of their workouts are the guys that know how to work around their limitations. Everyone has limitations at the gym, this is just yours. Some have bad elbows, tendons, rotator cuffs, etc. No biggie. Once you get your high blood pressure in order with meds, diet, supplements, etc...you can go back to doing squats and ruining your knees and shoulders.
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    May 11, 2010 5:03 AM GMT
    Your blood pressure will rise with weights. If you're not getting enough oxygen, you're going to feel funny. Here's a tell tale sign if it's your BP...you'll feel it in your eyes; that's not good, and means you need to change something (get your BP down). If you smoke, or hold your breath, you're going to get light-headed doing heavy work because you won't get enough oxygen. You may be experiencing the latter.

    155 read isn't super high in terms of immediate damage, but, left that high, over time, it's not going to do your renal function any good.

    Usually, you'll feel real hip BP in your eyes....that's a sign you need to change something. You don't want to end up with an optic nerve problem.

    Some folks are over-medicated. Watch your sodium, make sure you get plenty of water, don't use tobacco, use alcohol in moderation, and watch the caffeine. Some of the BP meds have some horrible effects, and are hard to deal with. For an athlete, diruetics, and ACE inhihs, and ARBs are probably best (I'm not a doctor.). CCBs and beta blockers slow you down, and can make working out a drag, along with day to day life.

    Make sure you breathe when lifting. Don't use tobacco. Watch your sodium, drink plenty of water.

    Using alcohol gets your DH and ADH all bouncing around and it'll wreak havoc with your BP.

    Tobacco is a constrictor. Caffeine speeds you up, and sometimes too much so.

    In my 20's, I'd get light-headed doing squats to failure. I quit smoking and that fixed it.

    BP meds can cause all kinds of problems, making things worse, if the dose isn't where it needs to be.
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    May 11, 2010 5:08 AM GMT
    twentyfourhourslater saidDon't really have an answer but will share with you my experience. For many years i had HTN and to some extent still do. I was on a combination of diuretic and ACE inhibitor. I had the same problem you described - with squats. Like you i really had to focus on my breathing during the movement and take it slowly immediately afterward. Reactive orthostatic hypotension is a side effect of many BP meds. In the end, i started loosing wt but stayed on the same dose - needless to say my symptoms became worse. In the end (as a result of the wt. loss) my high BP had largely resolved - so i stopped the medications and of course the symptoms resolved.

    I am no doc but i would say that what you are experiencing is a drug side effect (orthostatic hypotension). Other than trying a different medication, i would say (don't get offended but if you are like me) perhaps with some additional weight loss your BP might normalize to the point where you no longer need the medication.


    If I get too dry, or get my bp up a bit, I get the same thing. I found that by doing more cardio, watching the sodium, drinking lots of water, I do a LOT better.

    When I tore my bicep off a few months back, I kept running into high bp..post surgical and so on. We tried ARBs, which made me super puffy (angio edema). We tried ACE inhibs, which do the same thing. Beta blockers, and alpha agonists SUCK. Good old HCTZ is cheap and will bring it down, but, if I get too much...it's a night mare. I'm not taking anything, and it's fine.
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    May 11, 2010 5:20 AM GMT
    ncaahockey saidPersonally I take 500mg of Cinnamon twice a day and a fish oil capsule twice a day that has Omega 3-6-9 in it (not for sure how many total mg of fish oil is in it but it's a horse pill!)

    I have notice a decent amount of drop in my bp by taking it. Before I took it my bp was around 138/80 not that bad but after I started taking it it dropped down into the upper 120's /80.

    My parents bp is much higher and more related to older age, they eat good meals, but are not able to exercise like they once could. My Dad was the one who found an article about the fish oil and cinnamon. He use to take bp medicine but is now on his 3rd month of NO medication and is still taking the fish oil and cinnamon. His doctor is testing him on a monthly basis keeping track of his status.

    Another thing that prompted him to try something else was that the side effects from his bp meds were causing SEVERE muscle pain in his whole body that required him to take another med to counter act that. After he stopped taking the bp med he has felt the best he has felt in over a year and a half!

    I really hope this can help you! It has helped my Dad!

    There is a LOT of info on the internet regarding fish oil and cinnamon! and it's VERY cheap compared to medications!

    Thank you for your reply mate, it's certainly food for thought and I'm going to go check out this fish oil, you can get cinnamon in tablet form? I'd no idea hahaha

    I'm pretty lucky, I've minimal side effects caused by the meds, I'm on such a low dose, 8mg once a day is just to really adjust my blood pressure for long term safety rather then immediate danger type of thing.
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    May 11, 2010 5:22 AM GMT
    ObsceneWish saidI'm curious how you are measuring your BP during your workout.

    I've had to do a 24 hour blood pressure monitor, it's a box with a cuff, does the exact same thing the doctor does except its automated, my blood pressure remained elevated even while sleeping so my doctor doesn't believe it's stress induced, I've done it three times now, both on the meds, off the meds and the original one. on the meds was good especially while lifting weights and that's where my doctor found the best reduction.
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    May 11, 2010 5:23 AM GMT
    twentyfourhourslater saidDon't really have an answer but will share with you my experience. For many years i had HTN and to some extent still do. I was on a combination of diuretic and ACE inhibitor. I had the same problem you described - with squats. Like you i really had to focus on my breathing during the movement and take it slowly immediately afterward. Reactive orthostatic hypotension is a side effect of many BP meds. In the end, i started loosing wt but stayed on the same dose - needless to say my symptoms became worse. In the end (as a result of the wt. loss) my high BP had largely resolved - so i stopped the medications and of course the symptoms resolved.

    I am no doc but i would say that what you are experiencing is a drug side effect (orthostatic hypotension). Other than trying a different medication, i would say (don't get offended but if you are like me) perhaps with some additional weight loss your BP might normalize to the point where you no longer need the medication.

    I think I"m going to really check out my breathing now, I thought I was good at it but I'll pay more attention to it in my next leg workout, I might just not be breathing right.

    And I am losing weight, I did put on quite a few pounds over the course of the last 9 months due to other things, I'm losing it fast though and will be hitting my original weight in a couple of weeks... I have been thinking that the slight increase in weight might be the problem, but, I dun know, will have to wait and see I suppose icon_smile.gif
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    May 11, 2010 5:23 AM GMT
    xassantex saidoh, i just expressed myself wrong.
    i do eat grapefruit, one a day , 1/2 in morning and the rest later on in the day.
    but grapefruit is weird. It 's often 'verboten' to take it if you're under certain medication. It affects the way your liver processes medication or something like that.

    oh good to know heh I'll have to check into that!
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    May 11, 2010 5:24 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidIt is normal for blood pressure to go up during exercise. That's considered acceptable. The dizziness needs to be addressed. Hope you come to a conclusion soon.

    I love doing my squats. I do full squats three times a week and would hate to give them up.

    I would hate to give up my squats, I love the things dearly, the amount of progress I made on them just makes me the happiest... I can't give them up!
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    May 11, 2010 5:26 AM GMT
    Celticmusl saidGrapefruit has narnegin which extends the half-life of certain meds. You should check with the warning label to see if it interferes with your meds.


    I have moderately high blood pressure. I take maitake, arginine, hawthorne, small amounts of aspirin, etc. Maitake mushroom seems to really help my blood pressure levels.


    Give up the squats. Of course it's because you're standing up with the squats, and with the machines you're either on your back or at an incline. The guys that make the most of their workouts are the guys that know how to work around their limitations. Everyone has limitations at the gym, this is just yours. Some have bad elbows, tendons, rotator cuffs, etc. No biggie. Once you get your high blood pressure in order with meds, diet, supplements, etc...you can go back to doing squats and ruining your knees and shoulders.

    as I said to my doctor, I will say to you now, I will not give up my workout, I will not give up my gym, I will not give up my squats, I would prefer to die happy tomorrow then miserable in 80 years.