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Thos reponse is well past your posting. Anyways, I have been a lifelong weightlifter and competed in power lifting and bodybuilding in my 20's. I am 69. I had endocarditis in 2008 and had an aortic valve replacement and a redo the same year. I also had a stroke due to the blood bacteria and had brain surgery within 30 days of teh first aortic valve replacement. After 114 days impatient care(hospital and cognitive rehab), I returned home and did cardio rehab on my own, primarily walking but light weights. Used Hammer Strength machines to avoid sternum contact. I wasnt at the level you were, except in my 20's. I went back to heavy lifting with my doctors blessing 5 months after cardio rehab and post hospital discharge. I was benching 300 lbs, squatting 275lbs and deadlifting 325lbs. Nothing like your totals, but I wanted to maintain the bodybuilding appearance. Now that I'm 69, I no longer free bar squat, but use the power squat, the hips sled and hack machine. I also don't deadlift, except the Romanian deadlift for my hamstrings. Since the Pandemic ended, I'm benching 275lbs flat bench and incline press 275lbs and decline press 250lbs. I also hike between 5-15 miles on weekends and 4-5 on a weekday. I am finding it difficult to sustain the high intensity on uphill hikes. It is not uncommon to endure a sustained heart rate of over 100bpm for 2 hours. I wear an Apple Watch, so my tracking of heart rate is very detailed. Since I was an intense miler before I was ill, my heart rate can spike to 170-180 occasionally. I was previously running the mile at 6 minutes average at 190lbs. These are my stats:

Age: 69
WEIGHT: 185lbs
Biceps 17"
Chest 46"
Waist 33"
Hips 39"
Quads 24"
Height 5'9"
BF: 10-12%
Flat 275lbs
Incline 275lbs
Decline 250lbs

David Robbins
David, how about a picture or two. I need some goals for my late 60s. Your post was very helpful.
Since this post has some traction - even after 5 years, I'd like to share my experience. I love coming to this forum to hear all of the amazing success stories. But, it wouldn't be accurate to have only those :)

Let me start by saying that I am not, nor was I ever, a competitive power lifter.

I was most definitely a power liter in my 20's and 30's (I am now 50). I weighed 165 and would bench 325, squat and deadlift over 400. We would strap 2 45lb plates to ourselves and bust out 10 pullups. Same with dips. Although I stopped doing this in my 30's, I continued to lift routinely. I have a full gym - to this day - in my basement (half rack, etc).

Directly prior to surgery, I was, of course, working out and lifting hard. This was normal and nothing new. 3 times a week along with running. I wasn't lifting heavy anymore. Instead, I focused on form, extremely minor breaks between sets, and slow reps. I would easily benchpress my bodyweight with perfect form, super slow, feet off the ground, for 10 reps. Easy. My weight portion of my workout consisted of approximately 10 exercises, each with at least 10 reps. I would do all 10 exercises (superset) back to back ... and then take a 1 minute break and repeat for a total of 3 supersets. Ultimately, I would do about 300+ reps in about 25 minutes. Easy. Then I'd go for a run.

My goal after surgery was to focus on recovery and not push things. Within one month after surgery I was off of metoprolol. I went through cardiac rehab with flying colors. At the end of rehab I was running on the treadmill.

All of that said, I did have what I believed to be an achievable goal for 6 months post surgery: Benchpress 135lb for 10 reps ... super slow, feet off the ground, good form. I accomplished this goal. Everything seemed peachy.

However, a day or two after achieving my goal, everything changed.
  • My resting heart rate increased
  • My heart was thumping hard (like it did directly after surgery)
  • I get PVCs
  • I was exhausted and very tired
In about 2-3 weeks I felt ok again. So I went back to lifting. Same thing happened. So, I stopped working out, contacted my cardiologist and we did some bug hunting. X-Rays showed everything was fine. Echo showed everything was good. CT scan with contrast study showed no abnormalities. Bloodwork was fine. Grrrrrr.

I waited a month and then tried working out again. Same thing happened.

It has now been 20 months since my surgery and the end result is that if I do anything too strenuous, my body enters a weird mode with the bullet points mentioned above. This includes things from working on my vehicles, working on my house, etc. Key word here is strenuous activity. I can walk for miles upon miles with no issue. I can lift very light weights with no issue. But if things get strenuous ... EVEN THOUGH I MIGHT FEEL FANTASTIC ... I will pay for it that night and then it will take me 1-3 weeks to return to normal.

This is not the result of me "getting old". There is something going on in my body that causes this to happen and nobody has been able to figure it out. It wasn't there prior to surgery. I was a beast prior to surgery (even with severe stenosis).

I don't want anyone to think that this is me complaining - especially if you are leading up to surgery and you love to workout. Far to the contrary, I am incredibly thankful that I am alive and still here. I live a very full, active, and joyful life ... truly. I am very blessed: amazing wife, 3 wonderful dogs, a roof over my head, great job, amazing friends, good healthcare, etc. All of that said, it really would be nice not to have to monitor the level of "strenuousness" in my activities. II would be nice to workout according to the routine that I was accustomed to for the past 35 years. I wasn't expecting to have to change that part of my lifestyle. But, for me, I did have to change it. This is my new normal :).

So there you have it. Although there are plenty of success stories here of people getting 100% completely back to what they were doing previously, there are others (like me) that have not been able to return 100%. But, again, please recognize that there are many many many people that would give an arm and a leg for my non-100% because I really am doing very well.

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