Mended Hearts Open Forum

Expand all | Collapse all

Weight lifting after OHS

  • 1.  Weight lifting after OHS

    Posted 02-24-2020 12:26
    I was a weight lifter before surgery. I'm 11 months post CABG x5. I've been lifting a few months now. My bench press is up to 325! (365 before surgery) are there any other weight lifters in this group?

    Michael McNeely
    Versailles KY

  • 2.  RE: Weight lifting after OHS

    Posted 02-25-2020 06:55

    I'm your huckleberry.  I'm about to turn 70, had CABGX5 two years ago, been strength training for 58 years straight (except for the three months post - CABG), mostly bodyweight workouts for gymnastics, began lifting about 53 years ago, and been doing a combination of weightlifting and bodyweight workouts ever since.  My lifting heroes in no particular order include Paul Anderson, Norb Schmansky, Tommy Kono, Gather Bernard Lange, and the little guys like me-Joseph Greenstein (The Mighty Atom), Jack LaLanne, and my age contemporary, Dr. Ken Leistner.  Being from Kentucky, did you ever run across Brooks Kubik?  I read his book Dinosaur Training around 15 years ago, started following his internet blog and from time to time correspond with him.

    I'm off to the gym right now for some push presses and pullups.


    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ

  • 3.  RE: Weight lifting after OHS

    Posted 02-25-2020 08:18
    Hi Michael,

    I am 6 months post OHS. I had a David procedure(aortic valve and aneurysm repair). I began lifting again about 3 months after. I started using a beginner strength template(squat, bench, deadlift, press) and literally started with extremely light dumbbells. I moved on to an empty barbell and have slowly been adding weight but being extremely cautious. My surgeon gave me the green light at 3 months and I am in no rush to get back to pre surgery weights. I am still at the point where if I do too much of any activity my chest can start getting sore again. I'm really afraid to push it on bench! Right now the most I've benched is 95#x10.
    Everything feels pretty good for the most part, i'm just taking it super slow and glad to be lifting again.
    When did you feel good enough to start putting some weight on the bench?

    Cole Morrison
    Saint Simons Island, GA

  • 4.  RE: Weight lifting after OHS

    Posted 02-25-2020 10:50

    I did the exact same thing you did starting out. Stupid light weights, only the three big lifts. My shoulder got jacked up during surgery so the press was off limits for a while. I tried going back at 5 months but I'd go one day and then sleep for 3 days. Finally, at 8 months I felt more like myself. On the bench, I also started out with 95 pounds but lifting it only a few times made me look like a deer walking across a frozen pond. After some of my stabilizer muscles came back, muscle memory took over. I jumped up to 315 in about 8 weeks. Surprisingly, my sternum hasn't hurt once. Keep in touch. I'd like to hear about your progress.




  • 5.  RE: Weight lifting after OHS

    Posted 02-25-2020 09:42
    Hi, Michael,

    I suffered a near fatal heart attack 12 years ago, and last year won a bodybuilding competition in the over-50 Masters Men's Physique division. I train with weights 5 days a week, along with cardio 6 days a week, and follow the advice of 8X Mr. Olympia Lee Haney who said when training your muscles you should "Stimulate, don't annihilate!" I never attempt a one rep max on any exercise, and stay within an 8 to 15 rep range for every set. I fatigue my muscles with higher repetitions and believe this is best for my heart and overall physical health.

    Michael Anthony
    Film / Television
    River Edge NJ
    (917) 447-7710

  • 6.  RE: Weight lifting after OHS

    Posted 02-25-2020 10:24

    That's great advice!  My education says what you are doing is the best for longevity, but my ego still thinks I'm 16. I still want to see how strong I can get. I'm not able to grow up like I know I should. I do want to know about your diet. I know competitive bodybuilders need to cut carbs before a show, but do you stay away from carbs regularly?  I'm trying keto but my sugar addiction is worse than a heroin addiction. With cardio, I think running is boring. Do you do other types a cardio?


    Thanks for your story. I appreciate you reaching out.




  • 7.  RE: Weight lifting after OHS

    Posted 02-25-2020 10:42

    Hi, Mick,

    I've been following a vegan diet for 11 years now, and try to eat 1 to 1.5 grams of protein / 1 gram of carbs per pound of bodyweight each day - I weigh 165 right now. I was 152 pounds at the contests. About 4 weeks prior to contests yes the carbs got low, but I never felt unhealthy - a sweet potato, some rice, and the small amount in broccoli / spinach each day were all the carbs I would have. Sugar's tough I know; I have a cheat meal on Sunday's. Sugar, salt, saturated fat - life's been better without them. For cardio I use a heart rate monitor to make sure I stay in the 65% to 70% fat burn zone. 45 minutes jogging outside, on the treadmill, or Stairmaster listening to music, a podcast, or tv.

    Michael Anthony
    Film / Television
    River Edge NJ
    (917) 447-7710

  • 8.  RE: Weight lifting after OHS

    Posted 02-25-2020 10:03
    I Lifted 10 years ago, and one of the first videos I watched before my Heart Surgery was of a man who was a weight lifter and how after his surgery he has resumed his lifting successfully

    I was very impressed with this video and even though my Sternum is fractured and am on a 5 or 7 pound weight limit, I love the thought of being able to lift again along with running and skiing and climbing.  

    Keep up the Great work...I am impressed by your recovery

  • 9.  RE: Weight lifting after OHS

    Posted 02-25-2020 10:30

    Thanks for reaching out Mary! I remember those 5-7 pound restrictions after the surgery and it really sucked. I went stupid light and very slow when I felt like it was time. I'm sure you will do the same.


    I've never been on snow skis. It didn't make the bucket list after surgery. I will go deep sea fishing this spring, sleep under the stars in Colorado this summer, and walk my daughter down the aisle this fall. Skiing just scares the shit out of me!!!