actually, pull ups are one body weight exercise that I'm pretty sure I should not do. Even though I've built up a great deal of scar tissue to hold them in place, I still need to watch exercises that could dislodge the leads. So, good catch, I bet the doctor really wasn't thinking of how intense body weight exercises can be. I'm leaning more and more to the idea of seeing a personal trainer that has a background in physical therapy/rehab. I know there's one fairly close to my job.
If you're absolutely sure that ALL bodyweight exercises are approved for you to do, then stop worrying. Bodyweight exercises can be far more intense than weighted exercises. For example, can you do a pull up? If so, can you do a muscle up? If so, can you do a one-arm pull up? There is literally no limit to the level of difficulty on bodyweight exercises and you don't need one ounce of added weight. Likewise with pushups. Can you do a push up? If so, can you do a one-arm push up? If so can, can you do a planche?
However given how difficult bodyweight exercises truly are, I'd go back and double check before starting an advanced bodyweight program, because the doctor likely has no idea how intense bodyweight exercises can get and may be imagining air squats and bench dips. Make extra sure that you can do this sort of thing. If you can... you have no limitations.
Thanks for the replies! I should have explained that I've had the heart condition (I'm pacemaker dependent because of a cardiac arrest) for about seven years, and my health insurance wouldn't pay for a physical therapist at this point, especially as I'm not a beginning exerciser. But booking a session with a personal trainer with a background in physical therapy is a very good idea, and I will look into it. As is resistance bands; I've gone ahead and joined SERGEANTMAJOR's group. Again, thanks for the ideas!
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While it's true that people should lift a heavy weight that challenges their muscles, you don't have to lift per se to get a good strength training workout.
You'd be surprized how effective body weight exercises as well as a resistance band workout can be. So, if your doctor has put a limit on the amount of weight you use, then use a combination of body weight exercises, resistance bands AND the weights you can use.
If you're not sure how to use resistance bands, I highly recommend joining SERGEANTMAJORs body weight and resistance band team. he's got a bunch of beginner to advanced workouts posted.
One of the best exercises you can do for your body doesn't even use weights and that's plank. Plank is a full body exercise that will work just about every muscle you have.
So, if you don't have any resistance bands, go buy a set. You can find them for cheap at any Walmart, Target, Sears or even TJ Maxx. I use resistance bands are part of my workouts. I know several body builders who use them too.
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I think because you have specific and ongoing limitations, you should have your doctor refer you to a physical therapist. They can show you exercises appropriate for you, possibly including resistance bands, exercise balls, smaller dumbbells and body weight exercises.
But again, this is really a question for a professional. Always better to err on the side of caution!!
I know that it's important to lift heavier weights to effectively strength train. But--I have restrictions on how much weight I can lift. As this is due to a heart condition, they're permanent and unlikely to change. So, how can I effectively strength train without heavy weights? (exercise using body weight are approved by my doctor.) I can handle up to 30 lbs total.
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