Don't Get Burned

Don't Get Burned
Is annoying heartburn derailing your workouts? These five tips will help remedy your reflux.

That burning sensation you feel in your muscles during a grueling high-rep set or HIIT cardio session is a good thing. But a burning in your esophagus due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)? Not good. Better known as heartburn, this uncomfortable occurrence can impede your performance in the gym and blunt training intensity. Not to mention, it's just downright annoying. Unfortunately, GERD is a common problem for those who hit the weights hard.

A study from the University of Oklahoma comparing reflux in runners, cyclists and weightlifters found that seven out of the 10 lifters tested had reflux that was considerably worse than the other athletes. The researchers explained that this high incidence of heartburn in weightlifters is due primarily to the high pressure that builds up in the abdominal cavity as you "push your guts out" on a set and perform a Valsalva maneuver, which entails holding your breath while exhaling against a closed glottis (the opening between the vocal chords in the throat).

While the Valsalva maneuver is beneficial when lifting to provide better spinal support and greater overall stability to help generate more strength and power, that increased abdominal pressure can literally push stomach acid into your...

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