Have you noticed a fluttering heartbeat or heart palpitations during your weight workouts or shortly after?

Should you be unnerved about this experience?

“Weightlifting due to the muscular exertion delivers an increased return of blood to the heart due to the pumping effect of skeletal muscle,” says Dr. Ronald Scheib, MD, cardiologist, past Medical Director at Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Miami.

“By abruptly increasing the volume of blood returning to the heart chambers, it will increase the pressure and produce dilatation of the chambers that are involved in controlling heart rhythm,” continues Dr. Scheib.

“As a consequence, abrupt lifting weight can produce transient arrhythmias.”

Don’t let the medical lingo frighten you; this occurrence is benign. If you’re having heart palpitations seemingly related to lifting weights, there’s yet another possible cause.

And that’s anxiety, which can be over anything, including your weightlifting regimen.

In between weightlifting sets you may find yourself worrying about something, such as a relationship or job situation, and as a result, you have palpitations.

The weightlifting didn’t cause the palpitation, but that just happens to be what you were doing shortly before you felt it.

The mix of increased blood volume and stress can bring on heart palpitations.

These benign possibilities don’t mean that you can’t have an actual pathology that needs treatment.

Pay attention to when your heart has palpitations and see if there’s a pattern.

See a cardiologist and ask about tests to make sure all is fine.

Dr. Scheib passed away in 2018. To the Pritikin Center he brought a career in cardiology spanning four decades, including Miami Heart Institute Chief of the Section of Cardiovascular Medicine, and President of the Medical Staff.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, health and security topics for many years, having written thousands of feature articles for a variety of print magazines and websites. She is also a former ACE-certified personal trainer. 
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