Upper Body Exercise and Pacemakers

Okay. So I had my pacemaker implanted when I was 3. It was put in my stomach, and I was not allowed to do sit ups. I'm 20 now and I've had it replaced once when I was 13. It's in my shoulder now. 

I've been told since I was 13 that I wasn't allowed to do push ups, or lift weights. And now I'm looking on this page and that isn't true? Can I do push ups safely? I was to be in law enforcement, and doing upper body exercises will help me achieve that goal. 

Can anyone help me figure out what upper body exercises I can do? Thank you!


Upper body exercises

by AgentX86 - 2020-06-16 00:02:59

After the four to six week period for the leads to settle in, the only thing I was told to avoid was pressing free weights (machines are fine).  The risk, as stated, was the weight getting away from me and crushing the leads against the collarbone.   I thought that if the weight got away from me, it wouldn't be a fun day all around but...

Evidently I'm the only one here who has been warned of this, though.  Other than that, there aren't any exercise restrictions because of the pacemaker.  There may be other reasons so be sure to ask.  Always ask.  This is the Internet, after all.


by Theknotguy - 2020-06-16 08:38:56

I volunteered at a 1300 bed hospital.  Same one that implanted my pacemaker.  On the same floor I where I was and with some of the same nursing staff.  

They had a guy on the security staff with a pacemaker.  We used to talk and compare notes.  They were also considering changing the security staff to a police force but that was before covid-19.  Anyway....  He had done all the same exercise regimen as the other security people on the staff and was qualified for being on the police force.  He was doing weight lifting and had worked up to doing 300 pound bench presses.  Went after lifting aggressively and broke one of his leads.  Conversation with him was that he knew he was pushing the limits and deserved what he got.  Told the doctor he thought he'd broken one of the leads but was getting along OK.  Could they hold off replacing the lead?  Nope! - was the answer and he got a new lead the next day.  

He said the only thing they wouldn't do in the training was to hit him with a taser.  He was willing to try it but department and people in management weren't willing to take a chance. With the training and everything he was in the above average fitness category.  

As always, I'd suggest a conversation with your cardiologist and EP before starting training.  So unless there is some other problem of which we or you aren't aware.  Go for it.  


by Tracey_E - 2020-06-16 10:07:22

Always check with your doctor but most of us do not have restrictions. I have been doing Crossfit for 9 years, so I lift, do pull ups, push ups, etc. I've been paced 26, have never held back, have never had a problem. 


by Cybork - 2020-06-17 20:37:21

I've been a ski instructor/guide for years, only worked one winter since my implant joined me last year though. For me i've always had more lower than upper body mass, but as COVID struck I saw the opportunity to change that with some easy 5min/day routines and took up surfing.

A month down the line, my left arm started to swell, which I initially mistook for rapid 'gains'. But it turns out that I developed a massive blood clot in my subclavian vein. So far the haemotologist has implied it is unlikely to be due to PM since it occured a year after insertion. However, I find the coincidence to be uncanny due to the proximity of the vein to my device. Especially since I only recently began using/develping muscle mass in the area. 

Your situation sounds unique, so maybe double check with your physician regarding the exact places and any inherit risks it may have. I have never been advised to avoid any sort of exersice, aside from anything that may result in high-impact trauma around PM/leads.  But if you are all clear, I'd still advice to take things slow and build up to it.

Stomach placement, I lift.

by asully - 2020-06-19 22:44:15

I do all the upper body exercises, with weights.  Really the only thing you need to worry about is pulling atrial lead if you have one.  I found that the stomach placement makes it interfere with upper body exercise far less, it does however get sore at the insertion site when I do a lot of core exercise like crunches etc.  this is just because the pacer tends to get squished between my ribs and abs lol, it's never bad though just a little tender for a day or two after a heavy session.

You know you're wired when...

You participate in the Pacer Olympics.

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