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pellicle

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What are your thoughts and what have your experiences been with repetition ranges?
my style has always been pyramiding up with a warm up being the starter set. I start on 20 reps and do them slowly (also to not introduce rocking) and go up to what I can do to just before failure.

I also record what I do (or did, not now) and compare over the weeks. I used a basic school maths exersize book for that.

I was often as strong as guys a little larger than me but more bulked. Back then I also worked doing deliveries and pickups from the suppliers. So I'd (say) load 2 ton of paint (in 20L buckets) into the truck, drive it back to our place, unload it onto the storage, then load the truck up again (with less) to do the days deliveries).
 

tom in MO

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I have known two people who have had abdominal aneurysms. When they burst, you are dead. I would assume the same with an aortic aneurysm.

You are searching vainly for a doctor who will tell you that your type of lifting with an aneurysm is acceptable. Please don't take this the wrong way, but you seem to be addicted to weight lifting or something else that weight lifting provides. Maybe another type of doctor, trainer, coach etc. can help you understand your motivations and how to find a new path.
 

Meathead TV

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I know there is not a doctor in the world that would recommend I would do powerlifting in my current state and that is not what I am looking for (been there, done that). I am trying to find out what doctors would suggest is safe for me to do in my current state and dream that one day (post-op) I can safely practice powerlifting.

Uhm, yes I am definitely addicted (if that is what you want to call it) to lifting weights and everything that comes with it. I love everything about it. If I wasn't, I wouldn't be here asking these questions, I'd just give it up.

There are no other paths for me, if I can't lift weights and train to some degree, I'm not living my life the way I want to and might as well be dead.
 

TanMan

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I am 20 years old and was in the same boat as you, minus the aneurysm. I played sports throughout high school and lifted heavy. As time went on the condition progressed but kept going. I started to lift a little lighter in the gym. I would typically shoot or 12-15 reps with good breathing techniques. I also was trying to take up running as a safer alternative. I ran about 30 miles a week and actually loved it. This whole time the doctors suggested I do none of that based on my condition. I would always come to the conclusion of how I would rather put myself at risk working out than put myself at risk sitting on the couch and developing health issues from inactivity. I am not encouraging you to do any of those things, but a lot of doctors don't understand young people like us. We like to be active! I am now 3 months post operation with a mechanical valve and am excited to be able to start working out again. Bottom line, be safe. Aneurysms are no joke and your too young to put the rest of your life in jeopardy. Stay fit, but listen to your body. You know it better than anyone else.
 

AZ Don

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There are no other paths for me, if I can't lift weights and train to some degree, I'm not living my life the way I want to and might as well be dead.
As someone who was not able to live their life the way that they wanted to, due to physical limitations, I can tell you I am very glad that I was not dead this past almost 40 years. I injured my knee at 17 skiing and reinjured it at 21 playing tennis. Prior to this I ran regularly, including NYC Marathon, played competitive tennis and enjoyed skiing, especially moguls. After a year of no sports other than attempting rehab I underwent major reconstructive surgery. After a lengthy recovery I was able to resume skiing (no more moguls) and play doubles tennis as long as I didn't run too much, but running and singles tennis were done. I tried playing on a softball team a couple years later thinking that there was so little running I could get away with it, and that sent me back to surgery and made me face the reality that if I wanted to walk, I couldn't run. Ever. It was an extremely difficult adjustment, but you do what you have to do. I took up golf, bicycling, and swimming. I skiied easier trails. And I can still walk. I posted earlier the Pulitzer Prize winning articles by Kevin Helliker because many of his articles talked about the transition he went through, from competitive runner to casual runner after learning about his arotic aneurysm.

I think the consensus from the Dr's is that you can lift weights and train to some degree and it will certainly be less than you would like to. You previously suggested lifting a weight 5 times that you could lift 10. This sounds reasonable but there is so much better advice in the prior discussions and links I didn't comment on it. Higher reps and stopping before failure could probably work too. Once an aneurysm reaches 4.7cm (about what I think yours is), it generally tends to keep growing. Once you have it repaired it's a different world for you. Most Dr's will recommend minimal to no restrictions and many competitive athletes return to competition after this surgery.

In the meantime I hope you can sort out some reasonable limits and then find a way to live within those limits. For me, when I pushed my knee too far I had trouble walking. For you there may be no warnings.
 

Foxtail118

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I am 20 years old and was in the same boat as you, minus the aneurysm. I played sports throughout high school and lifted heavy. As time went on the condition progressed but kept going. I started to lift a little lighter in the gym. I would typically shoot or 12-15 reps with good breathing techniques. I also was trying to take up running as a safer alternative. I ran about 30 miles a week and actually loved it. This whole time the doctors suggested I do none of that based on my condition. I would always come to the conclusion of how I would rather put myself at risk working out than put myself at risk sitting on the couch and developing health issues from inactivity. I am not encouraging you to do any of those things, but a lot of doctors don't understand young people like us. We like to be active! I am now 3 months post operation with a mechanical valve and am excited to be able to start working out again. Bottom line, be safe. Aneurysms are no joke and your too young to put the rest of your life in jeopardy. Stay fit, but listen to your body. You know it better than anyone else.
 

Foxtail118

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Hey - to suggest you are better off dead is a very sad way to feel. Look for an alternative activity or activities. Change your mindset - try biking for an adrenaline rush.
 

spartangator

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I think the consensus from the Dr's is that you can lift weights and train to some degree and it will certainly be less than you would like to. You previously suggested lifting a weight 5 times that you could lift 10. This sounds reasonable but there is so much better advice in the prior discussions and links I didn't comment on it. Higher reps and stopping before failure could probably work too. Once an aneurysm reaches 4.7cm (about what I think yours is), it generally tends to keep growing. Once you have it repaired it's a different world for you. Most Dr's will recommend minimal to no restrictions and many competitive athletes return to competition after this surgery.
I've been following a bit the story of this American football player recently diagnosed with a valvular issue (don't know details) and how his treatment is progressing, apparently including a return to play as he expects to be cleared for unrestricted physical activity: Vikings' Smith 'in good shape' after heart surgery

To me, it follows the pattern of basketball player Jeff Green, who had an aneurysm repaired and went back the the NBA: From death's door to the NBA Finals

I'm not advocating for anything here, just pondering what is possible for people post-surgery and how varied the medical advice is.
 

Meathead TV

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Just an update. In August I gave up bench pressing and the other heavy lifting I had done for the past 6 months. Now, for the past months I've been lifting more frequently (5x a week) than before, but lighter. I don't go to failures and I work in rep ranges from 10-15, sometimes even 20-50 depending on the exercise. I've tried to build/maintain muscle mass with this kind of training routine, but I'm again struggling mentally with this. I think the big issue is that I don't know have any clear goals or can't really challenge myself with the training I'm doing. When I was lifting heavy weights, each workout was clearly structured, I had goals with the weights I was moving and so on. Now I just "go to the gym" and mentally it seems to do more harm than good.

I'm thinking about picking up running again (ran half marathons in 2018 and 2019) and train in the gym less frequently (maybe 3x a week). With running I can still set clear goals on each workout and train for a half marathon again. I can even push myself till I'm actually tired. I've never really asked my doctors about running, but as they generally have always recommended aerobic exercise forms I'd assume running qualifies as safe (obviously cutting out any ultramarathons and such).

I'm not really ecstatic about either option, but I guess I just have to suck it up.
 

Rapidman

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Just to let you know my experience. After my modified Bentall with mechanical valve surgery in 2016 my surgeon did not put any restrictions on my activities including weight lifting, running and biking. My cardiologist recommended not doing “powerlifting” and felt as long as I wasn’t holding my breath and valsalvaing through the lift it was ok. I currently lift 5 days a week and run 30 to 40 miles a week and do half marathons. My follow up CT scans and echos have all been good. Physicians tend to be pretty conservative and the recommendations seem vary greatly.
 

spartangator

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I'm thinking about picking up running again (ran half marathons in 2018 and 2019) and train in the gym less frequently (maybe 3x a week). With running I can still set clear goals on each workout and train for a half marathon again. I can even push myself till I'm actually tired. I've never really asked my doctors about running, but as they generally have always recommended aerobic exercise forms I'd assume running qualifies as safe (obviously cutting out any ultramarathons and such).

I'm not really ecstatic about either option, but I guess I just have to suck it up.
Obviously, check with your care team about your personal circumstance, please.

I did talk to my cardiologist after surgery about running, and he put no restrictions on it. I was surprised, but he was enthusiastic about me running a marathon and some other distance events.

As I mentioned earlier, I do wonder how much the recommendations from providers are evidence-based vs. tradition (or fear or conservatism), but I want to compliment how much you're engaging with this and minding your overall well-being in the process.
 

TheGymGuy

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From one meathead to another, do find other hobbies for the the time being. PL was my life, but there is certainly more to it than that. Yes, If I could not DL anymore, I would rather be dead. This was my way of thinking too, but until my surgery was done and everything was fixed I had to reduce the PL training load and change my goals just a tad.

FWIW, My best comp totals were after my surgery at 198 I totaled 1411lbs RAW. I also picked up Crossfit of all things after a PL injury (way after OHS surgery) to make time pass while I healed and that only had benefits.

For the time being - running/sprinting/biking could be a fun activity, what about hiking, what about rep goals? Like, how many times can you bench your 50% of 1RM, for example, same goes for SQ. What about DB Shoulder presses or inclide DBs. There are so many fun goals you can set to hit without risk of overtraining that you can max on without keeling over and dying, right?

If you need to chat or anything I'd be happy to reach out. Just keep in mind that I am not a medical professional, none of us are, and any advice I share is what worked for me or what makes/made sense to me.
 

spartangator

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For the time being - running/sprinting/biking could be a fun activity, what about hiking, what about rep goals? Like, how many times can you bench your 50% of 1RM, for example, same goes for SQ. What about DB Shoulder presses or inclide DBs. There are so many fun goals you can set to hit without risk of overtraining that you can max on without keeling over and dying, right?
As always, adore your perspective, @TheGymGuy! Great ideas for re-framing goals and pursuing different metrics of progress. It's all ways of going forward, just different paths for different moments.
 

Classtime Sailer

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Good thinking Meathead. Keep lifting to maintain connective tissues and such but challenge yourself with an endurance sport. I wouldn't think there is any downside to marathons done in moderation. (not moderate speed but moderate frequency.) Maybe shift some of your gym work to support your running. Keep lifting safely and if/when you do have surgery, you can adjust to a new lifting norm.
 

Thomas

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The only downside to marathon running for me was knee damage. 3 knee operations later I'm regretting my younger marathon days. Some people are built for distance running & have no issues but for running, it's HIIT training & lots of ice for me now.
 

cooperman

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I enjoyed lifting after my Ross procedure for many years. Moderate weights, no power lifting, no single lifts. After 18 years of no issues and no leakage in either my aortic or pulmonary valve, I pressed my cardiologist on the subject, and he said lift how I wanted, and that I was doing fine.

I started power lifting, regularly training for one rep maxes and becoming stronger than I ever had been. I did this for about 5 months. One day, I messed up on a bench press and really struggled to finish the lift. I pulled a muscle in my ribs, so I stopped lifting to let it heal. I went in for my yearly checkup about 2 months after that injury. The echo revealed my aortic valve had developed moderate leakage and aneurysm and my pulonary valve was in moderate stenosis. No more lifting. The valves degraded pretty quickly after that.

I cannot say whether the lifting was the sole cause of the degradation of my valves, but I am sure that it did not help. I wish had not done the heavy lifting. Maybe I could have gotten another 5 years out of my Ross procedure. As it is, I had both my aortic and pulmonary valves replaced 3 months ago. I went with a mechanical aortic valve (On-X), and a homograft for the pulmonary valve. Hopefully that was my last operation. The On-X should last my life, and if the pulmonary needs replaced in 20 years, TAVR will handle that. But the added risks of bleeding or stroke and the complication of taking warfarin, a beta blocker, and another drug to protect my stomach lining is a hassle and limits my aspirations in life (no more extensive travel and doing volunteer work in undeveloped countries, for example). Thinking I might ought to have gone with the Inspiris Resilia if possible. Oh well, what's done is done.

TLDR: Don't lift heavy. Not worth the risk.
 
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Meathead TV

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TLDR: Don't lift heavy. Not worth the risk.
The only thing that helps me cope with the situation, is the thought that I'll one day (after the surgery) be able to return to heavy lifting.

I don't when in how many years the surgery will be or what my life might look like then, maybe I'll have different aspirations by then. Currently it is an everyday battle mentally, to not just throw out all restrictions and go Jon Pall Sigmarsson.

(and yes, I know I should just be happy with being able to exercise and live to mostly a normal degree.)

---

I appreciate all the comments and your own experiences in dealing with similar situations, it really helps. Many of you have mentioned exercise restrictions that you have/or don't have, post-surgery, but what about pre-surgery? As I'm still in that phase, I'd be really interested to know.
 

Rapidman

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I was placed on a beta blocker to keep my blood
The only thing that helps me cope with the situation, is the thought that I'll one day (after the surgery) be able to return to heavy lifting.

I don't when in how many years the surgery will be or what my life might look like then, maybe I'll have different aspirations by then. Currently it is an everyday battle mentally, to not just throw out all restrictions and go Jon Pall Sigmarsson.

(and yes, I know I should just be happy with being able to exercise and live to mostly a normal degree.)

---

I appreciate all the comments and your own experiences in dealing with similar situations, it really helps. Many of you have mentioned exercise restrictions that you have/or don't have, post-surgery, but what about pre-surgery? As I'm still in that phase, I'd be really interested to know.
 

Rapidman

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I was placed on beta blocker to keep my blood pressure down, and because of my aneurysm was told to limit my exercise and lifting. Recommended lighter weights and higher reps, was told if I couldn’t do 15 reps it was too heavy. Didn’t want my blood pressure to spike and wanted to keep my heart rate at max 160.
As has been said before on here everybody has different situation and to talk it over with your cardiologist. Unfortunately recommendations are all over the place and there are not clear scientific basis for some of them.
My aneurysm was 5 cm and I had a bicuspid valve and even though the surgeon said I could go ahead with surgery at any time the cardiologist wanted to wait until it was 5.5cm. I opted for the surgery because I didn’t like the restrictions and especially didn’t like how the meds made me feel.
 

cooperman

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I appreciate all the comments and your own experiences in dealing with similar situations, it really helps. Many of you have mentioned exercise restrictions that you have/or don't have, post-surgery, but what about pre-surgery? As I'm still in that phase, I'd be really interested to know.
Listen to your body. I did try moderately lifting before my surgery for a few months, but found anytime my heart rate was up over 140 for any length of time or I did HIIT I would feel nauceous and get chest pain after the workout. That was when I called it quits other than riding a bike and keeping my heart rate under 130. I was fine with that.
 

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