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PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 3:47 pm 
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As some of you may have read, I had surgery six weeks ago for removal of my prostate due to cancer. I'm now concerned about how to begin weightlifting exercise again and am wondering if any of you have any suggestions.

My surgery involved a 5-inch vertical cut thru the midline of the abdomen from the navel to the pelvic bone. It has healed with no signs of infection. I have never had a hernia and was advised not to lift anything over 10 lbs for the first six weeks.

After that, no one, including my urologist, seems to have clear instructions on how much I can safely lift. I am 57 and have regularly engaged in strength training for the past 8 years using free weights and a bench in my garage.

How should I begin with weights again. My idea was to start with a very, very light weight for each exercise I did in the past, including leg extensions and leg curls. Gradually, say every week, I would add a small amount of weight until I am back lifting what I was before, maybe in three months time.

I don't want to do too much, too soon, and I don't want to cause a hernia or other abdominal damage. But I do want to start doing something now that the six-week limitation on strenuous activity is over.

Thanks! I hope someone reading may have some experience with this or a suggestion on how to address weightlifting after abdominal surgery.Of course, the most important thing for me is that the cancer was confined to the prostate and I need no further treatment.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 8:11 pm 
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I would do exactly what you describe if I was in your situation. I would start light maybe as low as 50% of my 1RM. I would probably do more reps and more sets if I felt able. I would just slowly add weight over time and see how it feels. That's what I would do when recovering from anything.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 10:57 pm 
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I had surgery on my arm, it was VERY easy for me to tell when I was pushing things to far. I wanted to get back to weight trianing right away, unfortunately, in the beginning I couldn't even get a full range of motion. With weakness in the lower abdominals its probably even more dangerous to push yourself harder because almost every exercise uses the core muscles for stability. My friend got an ulcer removed in the same region of your surgery, and soon enough he was fine, he said he just started out with some light ab work (like non-weighted sit-ups), then moved on to heavy work, like bench pressing, and finally did the real heavy stuff like squatting and deadlifting.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:19 pm 
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Ever thought of asking you doctor?!?!?! people on discussion boards tend to go beyond their scope of practice. You never know what types of issues may rise from training after your surgery, always always always take the safe route and ask your doctor, the worst case senario is you'll be referred to a specialist.

I'm a certified personal trainer and S/C coach for a major university and i'd never give post-op clients or any of my athletes advice before first going to their doctor to find information on their file.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 9:43 pm 
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tpxking, I heartily agree with your advice to ask a doctor, but apparently, according to his post, he has asked several. I had a hernia operation, with an incision that sounds like it was about as long and in close proximity to his. I got through it just fine, but do NOT advise he did it like I did, I got lucky, so I'm not offering advice on that matter. However, TimG, if you go to a physician specializing in sports med and rehab, several of them, you should get a good clear picture on how to do it.
Tim


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 10:03 pm 
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I'm 56 and have always included free weight training in my lifestyle. Last year, I could still keep up with the young college guys at the gym. After a bad RC tear this year, I had to back off entirely for an extended period of time. When I could resume weight training, I worked around the repaired area, never involving it directly. Patience and very strict form are essential for the road to recovery after surgery. I can remember the day I could finally bench press...with an empty bar...and how exciting that was. I do whole-body workouts three-days-a week and stay in the 12 to 15 rep range for three sets. I'm adding weight every week in very small increments, sometimes using 2.5 plates. In the fall, I will drop the reps down, add more exercises and weight, then go back to a split routine. One benefit of my present workout is being able to see some separation and definition. That brings up another point: nutrition. Buy some high-quality whey protein and a juicer. Injuries mend faster when your nutitional intake is junk-free. Good luck and remember: old lifters sqeeze more out of life; so, keep squeezing those reps out!

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Bio: Age 56; former NPC Masters Champion (1990); teacher; married with kids; heroes: John Grimak and Frank Zane; favorite sport: Steelers Football (worked in TV with R. Blier); hobbies: canoeing, cycling, free weight exercise.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 10:34 pm 
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tpxking wrote:
Ever thought of asking you doctor?!?!?! people on discussion boards tend to go beyond their scope of practice. You never know what types of issues may rise from training after your surgery, always always always take the safe route and ask your doctor, the worst case senario is you'll be referred to a specialist.

I'm a certified personal trainer and S/C coach for a major university and i'd never give post-op clients or any of my athletes advice before first going to their doctor to find information on their file.


You make a good point. I did ask my physician, who said simply that I could resume normal activities at six weeks. I had told him that I do aerobics, weights, and stretching. He said I should be ok to exercise again at six weeks. Considering the age at which the average man has prostate cancer surgery, I doubt that he encounters many who regularly lift weights.

I guess my real question is how to begin again after not lifting weights for two months. One of the earlier responses was helpful in saying to start at half the weight of my one repetition maximum. I'll probably start even a little lighter than that.

Thanks to everyone for your responses.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:07 am 
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TimG,

I just spoke to a coworker here who is going through the same thing you are. He is 59 years young and is an avid lifter. He had his prostate removed approximately 8-9 months ago.

His program, pre-surgery, was a daily (morning) complex with dumbells or barbell at reps totalling 100 reps divided among "as many sets/cycles as [he] needs to get the 100 reps". He did this 7 days a week using "light dumbells or barbell" - light for him is 65lb db's or a 135lb barbell.

Additionally he did 3 body-split strength sessions in the evenings each week - split between squats or deads, rows or cleans, bench- or overhead-presses.

Post surgery (8 weeks after) he started back up with his morning complexes with an empty bar or empty db handles, 30 reps max and half the frequency (3 days instead of 7 / week). As he felt more and more comfortable, he increased the frequency until back to 7 days. Then when he felt comfortable, he increased the reps a little at a time until back up to his usual 100. Once comfortable with that, he starting adding weight to the bar. After about 6 months of this, he is back to his previous numbers for the morning complex and is now weening himself back into his 3days/week strength sessions.

Now, i don't know anything about your level of fitness or anything like that, so i should mention that despite his 59 years, i don't know many 30- 0r 20-somethings that can keep up with him in the gym. That is to say, this guy is of exceptional strength and conditioning - or "a real mofo". So keep that in mind.

But, according to him, he has not had any set backs once he started out to get back to his previous bests. He has had very steady progress.

Just some info for you to consider. Best of Luck,
Hoister


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:32 am 
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I found that when starting up weight lifting after my surgery, good form was easy to maintain on isolation exercises. Machines were a big help.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:18 pm 
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Hey TimG! Glad you are back on the road to recovery. Keep us posted on your lessons learned.


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