Crossfit exercises

I am new to this excellent and very informative forum and would apprciate any help that is available. I am 60 years old and received my pacemaker roughly 8 weeks ago after having an ablation which went south and caused me to have bradycardia. Prior to that I was extremely active on a daily basis, doing a wide variety of sports and exercises such as crossfit. While I'm certain I will have more issues to deal with in the future, presently I would like to know if there are exercises which I should definetly stay away from as they pose a strong risk of dislodging the PM and does the internal pressure generated from the lifting of heavy weights cause any problems.

 In additon when exercising strenuously on a treadmill or bike I find it difficult to get my heart rate above 130 BPM and feel nauseous about an hour after I complete the workout.  Would any one be able to explain this phenomenon.

Again any help would be much appreciated




Rate Response?

by Swangirl - 2019-05-16 13:50:01

You may be capped at 130 BPM.  I am.  My settings are 60 and 130.  Many cardiologists won't cap you higher than 130.  You should find out what your settings are.  Does your PM have Rate Response?  Based on foot strikes and upper body movement with Rate Response your PM will match the rate when you are exercising.  Is it just Bradycardia you have or do you have an AV block?  I hope you are able to get some additional information from your EP.

rate response

by Belkin - 2019-05-16 14:32:25

Thanks for your response. I "only" have Bradycardia. I will speak to my EP and find out about my settings. I do not have rate response.



by Tracey_E - 2019-05-16 15:00:52

As Swangirl said, talk to them about your settings. It sounds like they have you capped at 130, which is fairly standard to start. As long as your heart can handle it, they should be able to turn it up higher. 

As for Crossfit, many of us here do it, some with more modifications than others. Ask ten doctors, get ten different answers. I've been paced 25 years and doing CF for the last 8. My doctor knows and encourages it. Some doctors restrict chest movements and overhead, sometimes they have a problem with the pull up bar. Others, like mine, say don't worry about it, do what I want.   

My doctor told me to wait 3 months before going all out. When you start back, ease into it. If something doesn't feel right, back off and try again in a week. Expect soreness as you start using the muscles around fresh scar tissue again. Ice helps. It was about 4 months after my last replacement before I was back to my old weights and not being extra careful. 

Once the leads are in place and healed, nothing is going to dislodge them. After a year, they are in so tightly that it takes a special laser to get them out. However, depending on your build and/or where it's placed, it may be possible to crush them. You don't want the bar to sit directly on the leads or box. If your box is right under the collarbone, you don't want excessive pressure on the collarbone. Mine is lower and under the pectoral, nowhere near the bar when I hold it in front rack. The only thing I hold back on is ring rows. They get deeper in the chest muscles (where my scar tissue is) than other exercises. I still do them, but if it's a lot of reps I'll switch to push ups so I don't end up sore.


by Tracey_E - 2019-05-16 15:03:30

Don't push it until you figure out what's up with the settings. Try to do what feels comfortable with your rate under 130.

Bradycardia is a low heart rate, more of a symptom than a diagnosis. Swangirl was asking the cause of your bardycardia. If you have sinus node dysfunction, you will be pacing atrial. If you have av block, the sinus node works normally but the signal doesn't make it to the ventricles. Both are fixed with the pacer, but fixed in very different ways. 

Crossfit exercises

by Belkin - 2019-05-16 20:15:15

Thank you so much for your response. It really helps by putting my mind at ease when I'll

be working out.



by Shana - 2019-05-19 01:24:37


My heart rate quickly climbs when working out. 

We set the ceiling at 160 on my Abbott HIS bundle pacer. 

I was still dropping 100 beats (160 to 60 bpm) mid stream workout and it felt awful. The pacemaker was intentionally dropping beats when I hit the ceiling. It was like hitting a brick wall.

My team was able to interrogate me while running stairs to confirm watch my Apple Watch was communicating. We bumped the ceiling to 170 on Friday and are doing additional testing next week as recommended by the Abbot rep. 

The science in the settings continue to amaze me. 

Good luck! Hope you get answers too. 



by Tracey_E - 2019-05-20 10:01:33

There is a feature that watches for afib then puts us in a 2:1 block, pacing every other beat instead of every beat. It's great if we are in afib, but like hitting a wall if you are just working out and got your rate too high. If you don't have a history of afib, they should be able to turn that off. 

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Life does not stop with a pacemaker, even though it caught me off guard.