Working out post pm

I was never much of a weightlifter, but 4/2022 I started and trained for a fitness (bikini) competition which I completed in 8/2023. I became obsessed with weights/working out. Fast forward to 12/2023 and I was found to have complete heart block and now have a pacemaker. I was first told that after 6 weeks I could do "everything" I could before, including working out. But at my 2 week checkup I was told that there would be some exercises I couldn't do, such as some shoulder and chest exercises. It is because they said the wires could get affected due to repetitive stress on them. 
Any thoughts? My pacemaker is over the muscle, if that helps. 
Thank you!!!!!


weight lifting

by new to pace.... - 2024-01-21 08:50:59

I have a friend who is a weightlifter and goes worldwide competing and because of her shoulder replacements .  Is not allowed to do certain positons.  But still competes.

new to pace 

Welcome aboard!

by Lavender - 2024-01-21 09:11:38

Welcome to our corner of the world! We have a lot of athletes here who can give you more information. Here is a post about it, but if you do a search on here, you'll find others.  Have to copy and paste the link:


by Tracey_E - 2024-01-21 10:29:19

Did the same person tell you not to do weights because of something they saw at the follow up, or was it a different person? Some are much more conservative than others about what we can do. 

If your leads or device are placed so that the bar would put direct pressure on them, esp in front rack, then you will need to be careful. Mine is lower and deeper than that, so it's not an issue for me and I do what I want. 

We have had one or two members with broken leads from repetitive stress, however there are a lot more of us that have never had a problem. They are thin and flexible and intended to move with us. I had one lead go at 15 years, which is average lead life. My other original lead is just now starting to show signs of wear. In May I will have had it 30 years. 

Go by your doctor's advice. If they have a solid reason to hold back, then you probably want to listen. If it's just being cautious, then it's up to you how much risk you are comfortable with.

My doctor wants me to be fit, that's his first priority. If I like it and will stick with it, then he wants me to do it, whatever it is. I asked what would happen if I broke a lead. He shrugged and said we'd fix it. That was good enough for me, and so far so good. 

Leads and exercise.

by Selwyn - 2024-01-21 13:44:46

" the wires could get affected due to repetitive stress on them. "


Here I am swimming miles per week - PM for 14+ years. Same leads. I am moving my arms, probably every second for 45 minutes three times + per week, not to mention on top of that table tennis, competitive league player, at least 3 times per week for a few hours.

My cardiologist says I should continue swimming. 

There is quite a lot on the search ( upper right) concerning the subject of weight lifting with a PM. 

During 22 years of data collection, 138,225 leads were implanted with a first pacemaker generator.  In total, 8,849 leads (6.4%) were replaced or extracted. 

( Ref: . Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 2018 Jul;41(7):820-827.  doi: 10.1111/pace.13371.  )

Lead techology and design is improving year on year. 

With regards to exercise. The longer your leads have been in place the safer they get. Provided that there is sufficient slack in the leads ( and there should be!), it is virtually impossible to pull out leads with exercise.  There is a failure rate of all leads.  By about 6 weeks most leads are well embedded into the heart muscle. Lead fracture is very uncommon ( 0.1-4%  per year. Such a wide variation in range!!- ref: . Alt E, Volker R, Blomer H. Lead fracture in pacemaker patients. Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1987;35:101–4. ) and seems to be related to squeezing between the collar bone and first rib. It may be worth thinking about the type of exercise undertaken, though this has not put me off from swimming front crawl with the arm fully extended. Fractures in pacemaker leads during weightlifting have been reported. ( ref: Deering JA, Pederson DN. Pacemaker lead fracture associated with weightlifting: a report of two cases. Mil Med. 1993;158:833–4.) Two cases in how many weight lifters! Both cases were crush injuries as described above. There is very little else in the medical literature - perhaps one other  case of lifting a 50kg bag of flour onto the shoulders in a worker.

Weight lifting itself has recognised injuries (ref: Sometimes the benefit and risks needs to be taken into account. ( see .   I am pleased that the death rate from swimming is 1 in a million. I think I will accept that risk!

Repetitive arm movements are not a problem..... otherwise we would all be in straight-jackets.




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