Weight training post PM

There are some observed contradictions from my doc and his pacemaker staff about weight training post PM. My doc has always said that I could do 'pretty much anything I wanted to after 2 months. I am now at 12 weeks. The pacemaker nurses tell me not to do anything overhead like presses or pull downs. When I asked the doc he said it was OK but don't do anything real 'heavy'. He also told me that he had placed the PM taking into consideration my 'active' routine. He said the leads are under the collar bone and run between a couple of ribs. One of the pacemaker nurses told me that lat pull downs would cause the lead to fray (???) after many repetitions. The doc said to do more reps and less weight.

So all of this is confusing to me. I wish I had some guidance as to what exactly happens as the upper body moves during weight lifting that can impact the leads. I don't see why it has to necessarily be an overhead move that can be harmful. My interest is mainly to keep up some semblance of strength so I'm not doing anything real heavy (although that is relative). I usually use a weight that I can barely do 2 sets of 10 reps. I haven't gone back to doing anything overhead. I realize I can substitute exercises that don't involve stretching above your head (for instance doing rows for your lats instead of pull downs)

I know there's at least one member here who is a 'pedal to the metal' weight lifter but I'd like to hear from anyone who has worked out with weights over several years with a PM to assure me that they have had no problems with lead separation. Has any one seen any research on the impact of such activity on leads?



Saurabh.. specify

by axg9504 - 2008-03-27 02:03:20

what exercises do you avoid then, give some examples of what you do and don't. Thanks.

Me confused too!!!

by pacerpacer - 2008-03-27 11:03:04

In absense of any guidlines i am also facing diff docs having diff opinion about weight training.

I am doing weight training excercise for few years but avoiding weight motions which directly put pressure on chest.

Best Regards,

avoiding some

by Smooth - 2008-03-28 07:03:25

Prior to the PM being inserted, I too weight trained using pulldowns and lifts above the head. My doc told me not to lift above the head but indicated that "flys" on an incline bench or free weights while on my back, were ok. I'm not sure that pressure on the chest is so much the problem. It seems repitions above the head can dislodge the wires. My PM has been in for just 18 months and so far, none of the problems indicated on this site have I experienced. I do still feel some very minor discomfort at the PM site at times but the doc said it's a foreign body and that will happen. Other than that, very happy as I can again workout, power walk and play golf. Good luck to you all.

Some other exercises...

by turboz24 - 2008-03-28 08:03:15

Well, what about upright rows in that case?

For shoulder work, I usually perform overhead presses with dumbells, upright rows, and lateral raises.

My ICD actually bothers me the most when I perform bicep curls, weird right? Probably because I lift a good amount and it requires that I tense up my shoulders and chest to stabalize the weight, pressing on the edge of the ICD.

My feeling is if they are this worried about lead fracture/pulling it out, obviously they need to think of a better place to put the implant.

turbo.. how long have you had your PM

by axg9504 - 2008-03-28 10:03:40

Seems like you are the only one (currently active on this site) who has been weight training without restrictions.

I don't see how the amount of weight can be a factor if leads break due to bending back and forth and snapping. The PM is sutured in a pocket so that it has limited movement and there is, I understand a loop of wire around it to take up slack. So I don't see how movement can make the leads bend. During the first few weeks you are limited to extreme stretching to allow the lead tip in the heart to become permanently situated. I don't know what not allowing pressure on your chest has anything to do with this, they don't restrict you from sleeping on your stomach.

I have a tear in my right rotator cuff that restricts the range of motion a little bit on my right arm. It hurts if I do bench presses overhead or lateral raises (definitely) but not with lat pull downs or military type presses (on machine).

Anyway I wish there were some official explanations on what happens to the PM and leads with various movements. Maybe I'll call Medtronic. I should have pinned my doc down on this. As far as I know he has allowed me to do weights but it's the way it came about, with his pacemaker nurses telling me to avoid some exercises that gives me some concern

MY Question is....

by turboz24 - 2008-03-28 10:03:44

If they don't want you to do exercises that put pressure on your chest, how can you correectly weight train in that case?

From what I understand, they want you to stay away from military presses, and incline pec work. Well, the issue there is if you still need to work your shoulders if you weight train, as well as your upper pectoral muscles, so how can you effectively exercise those without those type exercises?

My current Doc...

by turboz24 - 2008-03-28 11:03:00

When my father was talking to my new EP after my ablation procedure, apparently he also expressed some concerns about me pulling out the lead on my ICD, but for me, it's one or the other.
When I usually present it this way "Ok, doc. You have 2 choices... You let me exercise without restrictions, I stay in excellent physical shape... or I go on a calorie restricted diet, no exercise at all, and I sit at 155 lbs and 6' tall.... Choose..." The doctor will ignore his slight concerns about lead damage and admit that it's more important for me to stay in good physical shape and keep my EF% as high as possible than it is to slightly reduce my risk of damaging the lead.

I also wonder how they think that the addition of weight is going to affect the movement anymore than just the movement itself. If you are going to pull or fracture the lead, I would assume it's from the action, not the level of weight used.

lead rupture

by pacerpacer - 2008-03-28 12:03:22

After 1 year post implant, i am not concerned about lead dislodgement, but worried about lead rupture due to repetitive motion of chest/to and fro motion of chest exercises. U can see my postings, and in one of my postings i have asked question about 'Rejoining of Gym' . You can see the comments on that, they are usefull

avoiding some...

by pacerpacer - 2008-03-28 12:03:49

Yes I am avoiding military presses, and incline pec work. I understand that i am not doing what is required for a complete weight training program, still i am happy to do atleast 5-6 motions involving biceps, overhead shoulders, triceps etc.

Can someone pls suggest if it is military presses, and incline pec work and at what weights?

turboz24 are u doing weighttraining? if so u can help me and axg9504 with your exp.

Way to go Turbo!

by axg9504 - 2008-03-29 04:03:28

I do remember your 2 week rest period which I thought was unusual. Sometimes I think there is a large measure of slack in what docs prescribe, just to be sure. These are times when patients will sue in a heartbeat so I sometimes wonder how much of the caution is to forestall that. I'm in the wimp league, I doubt I could press a 100. I used to be able to do 2 /50 dumbell press (1 set of 10) and was working my way up to 55's when I tore my right rotator cuff.

My doc told me my leads run under the collar bone and between a couple of ribs. My doc did not go over any of the PM implant routine or discuss any of the details of recovery. I think it's partly my fault because I had done some reading over the 5 years during which I had put up without a PM and he probably didn't think he needed to explain anything because I seemed (to him) to be well informed.

I've started doing some work on the shoulder (pec) machine and it seems that my PM area (at 12 weeks) is now a little more sore. I definitely feel it's there. It itches and stings at times and for some reason my left shoulder is a little more sore than my right. I'm taking care to set the machine at the lowest extension, dropped 20 lbs below what I usually do and I grab the left arm grip with my right hand so that it doesn't flex back at the end of my movement.

Collar bone

by pacerpacer - 2008-03-29 12:03:26

One EP told me that lead goes in between bones (not sure which bones, may be the place where it enters under vein)and certain motion can make bones to squeeze themselves and space between them is reduced. So the leed may get squeezed between 2 bones.

If someone has info of the lead path and the likely pressure it may get from our body parts, we can get to know how we can weight train ourselfs.


turbo.. how long have you had your PM

by turboz24 - 2008-03-29 12:03:57

I've had my ICD since Sept 14th, and resumed weight lifting 2 weeks after my implantation. I went back to my normal routine. For example, I currently do.

Bench press - 3x8 at 260 lbs
Seated Row - 3x8 at 280 lbs
Pullups - me (195 lbs) + 20 lbs
Close grip pullups - me (195 lbs) + 35 lbs
Shoulder presses - 60 lb dumbells

Etc. I don't think I use a lot of weights, but not light weights.

Be Careful

by lahbigbro6 - 2008-04-10 08:04:10

I do very light weight training and sometimes it hurts under the pacemaker. I am very thin and the pacemaker is raised up. Everytime I do lat pull down or chest press I am careful. I know what the doctors said to me, continue weight training. But no details .... One time I up my weights and was sorry because I was very sore. Just be careful, I also would love to do more, but its better for pacemaker health, so we both don't have problems with that.

Weights and Cardio

by kmstam - 2008-04-14 09:04:19

New to the site, had first PM implanted in 2003 (at 35 years old) and nearly 3 weeks ago a new one implanted. I am lifting weights again, albeit much more restricted. I am still really fatigued but work out to feel better.

Prior to this new PM I was lifting 2-4 days a week for the past 5 years. I would do Lat Pull Downs and Shoulder Presses without difficulty. In fact I was even doing pull-ups and flexed arm hangs. My only limitation (perhaps self imposed) seemed to be in "fly's I will not lift more than 10-12 pounds doing the fly. I benched up to 70lbs with the old PM. I do about 25-45 minutes of cardio a day too. I will be happy when the swelling from the new PM is gone so that I am less aware of it.

So while I still have a lot of symptoms even with the PM, I have been able to stay active, fit and toned without risk to my PM. Of course everyone is different but I believe we know our bodies best--listen to yours.

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