Weightlifting after a heart attack
Any pointers to research, personal experience or other information would be greatly appreciated....
I suffered a heart attack last weekend, treated with a drug-eluting stent in my right coronary artery and am now on anticoagulants, an ACE inhibitor and statin - the usual cocktail.
My Doctors have advised me I will never be able to lift again, mainly as a result of the valsalva manoeuvre causing dramatic pressure peaks and swings during the lifts, which would significantly increase the risk of a second heart attack. It may simply be that I have to accept this, but in the meantime I am looking to collect any information I can on weightlifters returning to training after a heart attack, or on medical studies of postoperative lifters etc.
Any information would be greatly appreciated so I can make a fully-informed choice.
I have only been lifting for around 15 years, self taught in my home gym, and at almost 55 years of age my lifts are not massively impressive (SN 55kg, C&J 65, F. SQ 80, B.Sq. 100, DL 130), but I am totally addicted to the lifts (especially the Snatch) and would miss them terribly, not to mention the way they leave you physically prepared to cope with anything life may throw at you (including a heart attack!).
Many thanks in advance
I'm certainly not qualified to give advice on this one, unfortunately. I'm not aware of any information out there specifically about this, but my vague, probably unhelpful suggestion would be to really dial in your nutrition, sleep and stress-management practices to ensure the healthiest lifestyle possible prior to considering any actual weightlifting training. In the meantime, some low level bodybuilding type work (with no breath-holding or real straining, of course), as long as it's within the recommendations of your doctor, will at least keep you somewhat active and not going crazy.
Thanks, Greg, that seems to be the general consensus and I will certainly have to take it a step at a time.
Brooks Kubik pointed me to a Carl Miller book that uses light weights in some of the Olympic movements that I can run past the rehab team in a few weeks. I'll let you know if anything useful comes out if this for future reference.
As a current medical student I would STRONGLY ADVISE that you listen to your doctors. What is more important, a 5kg gain in your snatch, or being alive. I know that sounds cheeky but I'm being genuinely serious. After any significant cardiac event it would be terribly ill-advised to do any strenuous exercise. After a heart attack there has been cell tissue death which is permanent. Cardiac muscle does not regenerate. There has been irreversible damage to your heart and by extension its function. Your doctors would tell you the same exact thing. As someone who has been personally affected by heart disease, please do not take this lightly, and you should count your blessings that you were able to survive even one MI. As fun as weightlifting may be, it is almost certainly not worth the risks that you are thinking about taking.
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