Avatar universal

Fast palpitations halfway through lifting - worried!

I started working out a month ago but recently took a two-week break from lifting due to traveling and a minor cold. And by lifting, I only use free weights and work out in my garage.

Yesterday, I finally got back to lifting. I started off with the same weights I left off two weeks ago (it was a bit difficult to lift). Halfway through my work out, my heart started RACING out of control. I believe my heart was at around 180 beats/minute and kept going for the next TWENTY minutes. I was panicking since I was home alone and was considering calling 911. I could think and walk around fine, but still, I was very concerned. It wasn't until 20 minutes or so passed that my heart started to calm down very SLOWLY.

I think the reason why this happened is because I did not warm up sufficiently before jumping into my work out, especially considering that I did not do any cardio/weights for two weeks.

Also, now that I look back, I think I practice improper breathing techniques. I don't inhale and exhale deeply enough when doing an exercise... I have been lifting on-and-off so this is not my first time lifting but definitely my first time I've experience this worrisome case.

Am I right?

So my questions...

1. Should I start warming up before lifting weights? Perhaps a light 5-10 minute cardio session?

2. What concerns me is the length of the heart palpitations. I would not be too concerned it if lasted 2 or 3 minutes, but in my case, it lasted for 20 minutes. Should I visit the cardiologist?

3. Should I stay away from doing weights for the time being and focus on light-medium intensity cardio to get my heart in a state that is ready to handle the stress that comes with weight lifting?

I would really appreciate any insightful comments and/or advice regarding this situation.
Thanks in advance,

Best Answer
612551 tn?1450022175
I understand pumping iron can put a lot of strain on the heart... that said (I am not a weight lifter beyond just light weights with reps) it is best you look up the best way to begin lifting on the web, or if you have access to a gym or someone who has "professional" advice on lifting, get some general guidelines from them.

As for the heart, a HR of 180 for 20 minutes should not be a problem if you are a younger person, say under 35.  

Emotions can drive a high HR, so your alarm and tracking of the high HR may have helped keep it up.

It is always best to warm up before subjecting a human body to strenuous physical activity. The warm up should include stretching the muscles as well as giving them some light exercise to "warm up".

Thats how I see it.
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1423357 tn?1511085442
Most SVT's are benign, but they really mess with your life. There are two common types of SVT; atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia (AVRT), and AV nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT). Within each type, there different forms of each.  SVT is typically not life threatening, but it may cause worsening heart function if prolonged.  One type of AVRT is call Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. This is one type of SVT that can be detected on occasions on an EKGstrip chart. WPW can be a life threatening condition.  Yours seems to convert itself fairly rapidly, but there are texhniqhea you can do to convert it to normal sinus rhythm.  I used something called Valsalva.  Other have dome head stands, even placing their face in ice water to covert it.  The idea here is that you can control your SVT if it happens.  Ihope I've given you enough information to google and read up on.  A lot of info exists out there.
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Avatar universal
Thanks Tom for the information. Is this something that I should be concerned about?

It's definitely unpleasant to experience SVT, though it doesn't feel like I am short of breath or anything. I do enter into a panic mode which most likely keeps the heart rate at elevated levels, if not, faster than it should be. What I did on both occasions was to close my eyes and think about something nice to divorce my mind from the state of panic. It did take a while on both cases but it was worthwhile. It's just such a bizarre phenomenon!

As far as weight training goes, I am keeping it realistic and allowing plenty and reasonable timing to keep my work outs effective yet easy on the heart.
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1423357 tn?1511085442
It sounds like you COULD have supraventricular tachycardia.  SVT come on abruptly and ends abruptly.  By that I mean one beat you go from 70 to 180 and way up.  As an adult, mine hovered near 220 at reast, and 240 to 250 if my respiration was elevated when it started.  Termination is abrupt, but if you're amped up at all, your pulse could be elevated above normal and slowly settle back to normal.  I think accepted logic says that if it lasted for 25 minutes, and you didn't black out, faint, than there's a pretty good chance that it is SVT.  While in SVT, your heart is pumping reasonably normal, albeit very fast.  For some people, the lower chambers can't fill with blood fast enough before it's ejected, so their BP drops, and they begin to feel faint.

Often, I could set mine off by twisting my torso like getting out of a car, stepping down hard off a step of a curb so it jarred my body, bending over into a crunch position, even rolling over in bed could cause it to start up.  You never knew.  I got episodes about 3-5 times per month nearly all my life until I decided to get it fixed three years ago.  I haven't had one since.

SVT episodes tend to become more frequent (as mine did) as you age.  At 6 years old, they would occur a couple times a year and slowly increased until in my 40's they occured with the frequency noted above.

The best way to capture an event is with a 30 day monitor that you wear constantly except for bathing.  24hr. Holters are usually no good as it's not enough time.

What you're most likely experiencing is NOT anxiety, although adrenaline released during a panic attack could cause an SVT event.  It's often used during an electrophysiology procedure to stimulate the heart to go into SVT.  Good luck!
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Avatar universal
Interesting input about the Valsalva. I'll do more research about it; it sounds fascinating and intriguing.

Weird thing happened again. I was driving on the road this one Saturday with my friends. I drove for quite a while, around 3.5 hours that night, going through heavy traffic and going through new roads. Mentally, it was mildly stressful.

Then, I felt a familiar sensation in my heart. I had the fast palpitations again! I couldn't believe it. We crashed at my friend's place and it kept going. It lasted around 25 minutes or so this time (a bit longer than last time).

I think it has to do with the fact that ALSO when I drive, I happen to not breathe properly. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the stress that comes with driving. This happened back in August.

Now I breathe properly when I workout and fast palpitations haven't occurred since the last time it happened in the car...
Helpful - 0
1423357 tn?1511085442
Lifting causes abrupt pressure change within.  Some people are sensitive to these changes and it can affect your heart.  Many of us are able to use this to our advantage to control a racing heart condition known as SVT.  We create a sudden pressure change known as a Valsalva maneuver which can make the racing heart immediately return to a normal pulse.  It can also have a negative effect by causing the heart to skip or even commence racing.  When you lft you may inadvertently doing  a Valsalva if you accidentally hold your your breath or delay exhaling as you load your body.
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Avatar universal
have similar problem with intense weightlifting when bench pressing using upright weight machine, how long are you resting in between sets, i think i was not resting enough between sets,and not letting my heart rate recover, higher your heart rate longer it takes to rcover heavier the weight the more your heart rate will spike.
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Avatar universal
Thanks so much for your insightful comment! I'll make sure to warm up and build my way up...
Helpful - 0
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