Upper body exercises

Hi all

Im wondering if anyone can tell me what upper body exercises to avoid in the gym.

I was paced about 3 weeks ago and am eager to get back to the free weights as well as the machines. BUT im very nervous about ripping out or off my leads or splitting the wires. Pre surgery I was a big gym enthusiast and would do all different types of bench presses shoulder presses peck deck machine  lat pull down machine dumbell flies etc etc.  All these exercises put strain on the upper deltoid where the Pm and leads are located. I am very nervous as one can expect.

Any insight would be appreciated.



Give it time.....

by ar_vin - 2021-01-29 13:42:57

You'll eventually be able to do most of what you used to do....it's early days yet!

Rather than being "nervous", I'd suggest being thoughtful and listen carefully to your body *and* give it time.

I'll be harsh...."nervous" (in this context) is simply another way of saying" "I've no idea what I'm doing but want to do it anyway".

Doing too much too soon never ends well......


by SteveV - 2021-01-29 18:46:09

I appreciate you being harsh and direct

its ok im.not sensitive. Buy as far as working out in gym I actually do know what im doing but now with my new device along with wires Inside my body I am actually concerned about dojng something wrong that I will regret  

I am.hoping to hear from another gym enthusiasts that has had experiences with having a pm installed and using free weights. Im still learning and this forum.has been very helpful

Ty for your comments 


by AgentX86 - 2021-01-29 20:55:38

Your EP should have given you a list of don't dos for the first few weeks/months. After the times given BY YOUR EP, have at it.

Upper Body Post-Pacemaker Workouts

by 21PMrunner - 2021-01-30 13:37:55

Hi there! I received my PM in fall of 2017. At the time, I was a junior in college and an athlete on the Varsity XC and track teams. I got my PM implanted immediately following cross country season, and I was able to compete normally by indoor track season about 2 months later. The first 5 days after surgery I didn’t exercise at all. Days 5-10 were spent doing very light exercise bike work so I didn’t need to move my upper body much. After about one month, I slowly started to work in weights. It sounds like you are interested in much heavier weights, but what I’ve found works best is to re-introduce one upper body exercise at a time to help isolate which exercise may cause a problem. If a type of exercise bothers me, I’ll either feel some light pain / throbbing / strain near the implant site at the time of exercising or within 48 hours after. I’ve found I can still target every muscle group, but I need to be selective in what exercise I do - this applies to the amount of weight also, so starting small and working your way back up is a good idea. 

Of course, every person is different so trust your doctor and your body’s response. The advice my doc gave me is to backoff anything that irritates it and proceed with any exercises that feel fine to do. 

Exercises that don’t work for me (you may be different): French press, sitting bench press, and most exercises that involve holding weights above my head from a standing position. Also, high planks with shoulder taps and push ups have not gone well.

Exercises that work well for me: all non-upper body stuff has been totally fine for me. Regular elbow planks, side planks, and back planks work great. Dumbbell curls, ITY’s / dumbbell fly’s, triceps curls, rope pulls, rows, dumbbell bench press up to 20lb (I’m a distance runner so wouldn’t really lift much more anyways, 25lb tends to bother my site but you may be different if your natural weight tolerance is higher). 

Examples are compeltely based based off of my experience, but hopefully this gives you an idea. I don’t do a lot of Olympic lifts or heavier weights, but I would imagine hang cleans might actually be a good one to get more weight in if my “over the head = bad” rule follows. I hope this helps! 


by SteveV - 2021-01-30 21:22:00

Ty 21PMrunner.

The information you provided was very helpful. 

Stay healthy my friend!!!!


by Tracey_E - 2021-01-31 10:22:49

Once you have fully healed, you should be able to slowly ease back into whatever you were doing before. If something doesn't feel right, back off and try it in another week. Once the leads heal, scar tissue is holding them in and they should stand up to whatever you want to do. They are thin and flexible, intended to move with us.

One thing to watch out for, direct pressure on the box or leads, or if your box is placed so that pressure on the clavicle puts pressure on it, then be careful about a lot of weight in front rack. Otherwise, go for it. I do Olympic lifting as part of crossfit and haven't had any problems. I've been paced 26 years, doing CF for the last 10, with my doctor's approval. 

You will probably experience some soreness as you get back to it. That's normal with fresh scar tissue, ice helps. 

More reps careful with close to max weight

by Navigare - 2021-02-04 07:12:16


I had mine on Monday, Feb 1st. I had similar questions beforehand.

Fysiotherapist recommended to go for more reps, and to avoid heavy weight. She mentioned that don't ever drop the bar on your pacemaker while doing bench presses.

I haven't tried - it is just a few days, and the wound is still healing. Sounded like good advice.

I'm 57yrs, male, so not improving my records anymore, maintenance and slowing the muscle mass reduction.





by BlueCookie - 2021-03-26 20:39:23

Hello SteveV.  I am guessing  by now you are back at the gym doing everything you did before.  I had a PM implanted October 12, 2020.  I waiting until I was cleared to lift my arm above my head before I started back at the gym.  I used very light weights, 5lbs, to start with.  My focus was on ROM.  I was suprised to find the PM didn't affect any of my upper body exercises.  So far the only thing I found I needed to change is how I held the kettle bell for goblet squats.  It didn't hurt just felt weird when it rested against the PM.  

I read Navigare's comment about not dropping the bar on your pacemaker.  Very good advice!  


You know you're wired when...

You have rhythm.

Member Quotes

Focus on the good and not the bad.