T Nation

Heart Issues - Still Safe to Lift?

Have always lurked around these forums and enjoyed them. Weird way to start posting, but here goes:

About a year ago I was referred to a Cardiologist after complaining of heart palpitations and dizziness while swallowing food or drink. These symptoms never lasted more than a few seconds. Normal EKG and echo, but 24-hr Holter Moniter did reveal what he referred to as “runs of atrial fibrillation”. Was basically told to carry on with my life as normal with no restrictions as I was an otherwise healthy, 6ft 165lb 28 yr old dude (i.e. low risk factor for afib induced stroke). In fact, only thing he recommended was an 81mg daily aspirin.

Fast forward a year. I have been lifting (sporadically I’ll admit), using compound lifts in the lower rep range (sets of 3-5) with moderately heavy weights for a weakling such as myself (deadlifting 225 for sets of 5). Not once have I felt the common symptoms of afib (palps, skipped beats, racing heart rate, etc.) during these lifting sessions. The only thing close to a symptom I’ve felt during exercise are during my pathetic attempts at cardio. I ran 0.25mi on the treadmill yesterday at 7/7 speed/incline and it felt like it took 5 minutes for my heart to stop beating out of my chest (self-checked bpm in the low 90’s during this time). Part of me thinks that may have more to do with the fact that I do cardio about 3 times a year total and have yet to quit smoking cigarettes (dumb). However, I do continue to have palpitations and slight light-headedness associated with swallowing food and wake up in the morning with mild palpitations a couple times a week. Should note that I’ve never experienced the crazy, 180bpm, prolonged racing heart rate horror stories I’ve heard of for people with afib. Sounds awful.

Am going to see the Cardiologist again in 13 days for a check-up and some questions but in the meantime… my question is… do any of you have any experience with A-Fib? If you’ve been diagnosed… did you continue to lift in a meaningful and productive way? Should I be concerned about using progressively heavier weights on exercise’s that require a great deal of strain and abdominal pressure (DL’s, Front Squats, OHP, Weighted Chins, etc.)? The search function did yield a couple results regarding afib… but I’d really appreciate it if someone would share their personal experience if they have one.

I’m concerned about the prospect of not being able to lift heavy for the rest of my life… especially now that I’m actually ready to make the decision to get healthier, quit smoking, and quit being a skinny twig of a dude.

Still waiting to see cardiologist myself. I’ve had cardioversion and the efects wer great for 4-5days, the AF cameback.
Was origially told not to do anything strenuous, then told I could go back to heavy lifting (depite being back in AF) I dont squat or dead at the moment (wife worries too much) like you cardio is diffcult; its also the reason I went to the doc, very light warm up for 3-5 mins had my rateup to 200 (not good at 52years old).
Anyway my guess is I’ll end up with ablation, if it works 'll be back squatting and deading as soon as I can. Then Ill add in the cario.

Edited so it can be read!

I had bouts of palpitations so I went in and had an EKG done. The doctor noticed some abnormalities and I was actually sent to the ER where I was told that my EKG was different, but fine. I then went to see a cardiologist who had me to a nuclear stress test, of which the results were normal.

I still get palpitations, usually after a night of drinking. They tend to go away after a few hours. I have also found that taking some magnesium, or a few multivitamin pills helps prevent or correct the palpitations. However, that could just be in my mind or be anecdotal.

The cardiologist knew all this, and after my nuclear stress test results came back as normal, he gave me the green light to lift heavy. He originally wanted me to lift lighter weights for more reps and focus on cardio, but that was due to my blood pressure being slightly elevated. I now lift heavy all the time with his permission and I have had no problems.

I would say that only your doctor can tell you if it is safe to lift, but my doctor told me that palpitations are actually pretty normal, and that many people get them, they just don’t notice. Good luck,