General Tips

Should I Workout If I’m Dizzy?

A few days ago I was heading to the gym feeling great, ready to workout. I got to the gym and got my workout gear on and headed for the chin up bar for my first exercise in my back/shoulder workout.

After my first set of chin ups I felt pretty light headed and a little dizzy. I am pretty sure I was breathing like I normally do when I do my chin ups, but if you ever done chin ups you probably have noticed it’s a little harder to concentrate on breathing while performing the chin ups (especially the last couple).

My guess is that maybe I held my breathe during a rep or two or maybe I just was pushing so hard to get up for that last rep. Either way I was suddenly dizzy, but thought I’d be fine for my last two sets.

My second set was alright, but I was still light headed afterwards. Going up for my third set I was still a little bit dizzy and I ended up getting about 3/4 the reps I normally do because I just couldn’t push it hard enough.

I headed over to the free weight area to do my shoulder presses, but from the walk over I knew I had to chill out for a minute before I could do anything else. I ended waiting like 3-4 minutes before doing my first set and kept it really light.

I was getting a little better but I was still a little dizzy and light headed. I kept the weights light and continued with the long 3-4 minute breaks between sets and it gradually got better.

I couldn’t complete my full workout because I wasn’t feeling the greatest overall, but I did manage to get two more exercises in (lighter weights again). Although I wasn’t happy with the workout at all, I guess I was pretty happy I could even continue after that first set of chin ups where I was really light headed.

So the question is – Should I workout if I’m dizzy?

Clearly I’m not a doctor, but the first thing I suggest is to try and figure out why you are dizzy.

Did you eat differently? Did you do anything different leading up to the workout? Did you take any different supplements that may have affected you? Did you hold your breathe during your set? Are you hydrated enough?

If you feel any real nausea I would probably call it quits on the workout and head home to get some rest and see if you start to feel better. If you aren’t better shortly it may be something a little more serious that will require a doctors visit.

If you aren’t really feeling sick and are just getting some dizziness/light headedness I would suggest that you get a few sips of water (carrying a water bottle around while you workout is handy) and take a seat. The longer you can sit and relax the better. After a few minutes try walking around and see if you feel any better. Fresh air would probably help too.

Getting back to your workout is a judgement call by you. If almost all your dizziness is gone you should be OK to get back to your workout, but you will need to GO LIGHT!

Even if you feel alright don’t put yourself in a situation where you can drop heavy weights on yourself and get injured. I’ve actually seen someone performing overhead barbell presses fall over and almost have the bar land on them because they got really light headed during the exercises. You don’t want that to happen to you!

Start off very light and see how you feel. I probably would keep it light the whole workout. If you don’t want to stick around and lift light weights then maybe it is best just to pack it in for the day and head home.

If you start getting dizzy again after lifting light weights you shouldn’t be working out. Re-hydrate and get a meal into your stomach and get some rest.

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  • I have inner ear issues and have had them all my life. I get dizzy and lightheaded all the time because of it. EVEN when I exercise. Should I be exercising ? I am gaining weight and need exercise to get the weight off. Please help. Thank you.