bench press alternatives?

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evaino
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Post by evaino » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:40 pm

I read the original post too quickly - maybe pullups are out too? Given that the original poster didn't say why there was a "no overhead lifting" rule (other than heart issues), it's pretty hard for any of us to make heads or tails of it.

Typically where overhead is not a good idea, I'd suggest inverted rows as a pull but not sure if the doc considers that "overhead" as well. Bench is not overhead lifting, so clearly the issue is not specifically overhead but something else - we just don't know what.

It would be much easier to suggest appropriate alternatives with more information.

Elsbeth


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ApolytonGP
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Post by ApolytonGP » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:48 pm

It's not overhead, in the frame of refernence of your body. But it is overhead in the sense of the frame of reference of the Earth's gravitation field. The weight has a literal elevation of 2 feet above the bench (and his head is on the bench.)

the whole thing is confusing though. Could he replace military press with handstand pushups?

owl
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Post by owl » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:27 pm

Sounds like I need to explain some more... The issue is that some of my heart tissue may be thinner than normal (they don't know for sure that it is, but to be safe they say I should be careful anyway). This means my heart may not be able to tolerate extremely high blood pressure.

This becomes a problem because of the rise in blood pressure when lifting weights. On its own, that is not enough to be dangerous (at least according to the doctor) but when the muscle you are using is above the heart it is dangerous because your heart also has to deal with the load of pumping blood up to that muscle. So, maybe a more accurate rule is that I can't do anything where the muscle being worked is above the heart. It seems like the bench press would be ok because it is mostly the chest muscles, but they warned me not to do it... I need to ask why next time I see the doctor.

I seem to remember that pushing exercises were worse (something to do with valsalva?... i don't remember the details). So pullups may be okay, but I need to talk to the doctor to find out for sure.

Dips and weighted pushups look like good options though.

Its all kind of confusing, even the doctor says there is no sure answer to what is and isnt okay. Hopefully this clears things up some though.

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Post by Jason Nunn » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:51 pm

I've been training a client with cardiomyopathy for about a year now and have stayed away from the valsalva and overhead presses. We've done bench press, pushups, pullups, and rows; and we've had great success in his fitness program thus far. I know it's just anecdotal, but that's pretty much all there is on the subject that I've found.

When he started, I tried to do all the research I could on the subject and came up empty handed. So, I just went with the basics, don't hold your breath and bodyweight exercises and progressed from there. Hope this helps. BTW, we've been at it for a year now and he's in better shape now than he's ever been!

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Post by evaino » Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:34 pm

owl wrote:Sounds like I need to explain some more... The issue is that some of my heart tissue may be thinner than normal (they don't know for sure that it is, but to be safe they say I should be careful anyway). This means my heart may not be able to tolerate extremely high blood pressure.

This becomes a problem because of the rise in blood pressure when lifting weights. On its own, that is not enough to be dangerous (at least according to the doctor) but when the muscle you are using is above the heart it is dangerous because your heart also has to deal with the load of pumping blood up to that muscle. So, maybe a more accurate rule is that I can't do anything where the muscle being worked is above the heart. It seems like the bench press would be ok because it is mostly the chest muscles, but they warned me not to do it... I need to ask why next time I see the doctor.

I seem to remember that pushing exercises were worse (something to do with valsalva?... i don't remember the details). So pullups may be okay, but I need to talk to the doctor to find out for sure.

Dips and weighted pushups look like good options though.

Its all kind of confusing, even the doctor says there is no sure answer to what is and isnt okay. Hopefully this clears things up some though.
If valsalva (intra-abdominal pressure) is an issue, then you should also be steering clear of squats and deadlifts.

I'd suggest doing some workouts with a heart rate monitor at relatively low intensities and get some numbers on what pushes your heart more. I'd also suggest that you probably want to workout with a trainer - even if it's just to help you keep tabs on HR, energy levels and perceived exertion with various lifts. Sounds like the data doesn't exist to be sure what exercises are in and what is out, so doing some of your own research may be your best bet.

Good luck!

Elsbeth


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Post by hoosegow » Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:47 am

Damn I'm glad you joined this board Elsbeth. I was thinking the same thing. I find my BP seems to go up considerably more on DL and squat, but I don't have the numbers to back it up.

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Post by Ironman » Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:21 pm

Yea, I would think this is going to rule out pretty much everything. I don't think we can advise you about what is and isn't safe for you. I am pretty sure you are going to get the biggest BP spike from lower body lifts because of how many muscles you work at the same time.

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Post by frogbyte » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:09 pm

Well, one thing that would help in general, without declaring anything "safe" would be unilateral work - it'll take longer, but certainly is less stressful on cardio.

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Post by owl » Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:09 pm

Well, it sounds like I really need to talk to my doctor.

Thanks for the help everyone!

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Post by Jungledoc » Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:32 am

I'm sorry, but the issue makes absolutely no sense to me. I can't think of anything having to do with the heart that would forbid lifting above the head, and particularly that would forbid bench press but allow pushups.

Some doctors do not understand weight training, and are afraid of it.

If the doctor has not explained this to you in terms that are clear enough for you to relate easily to others (like us), ask him or her to explain it again. What is the name of your disease or condition?

Many of doctors worries are about valsalva. But one gets a much stronger valsalva on DL or squat than on anything that involves lifting over the head. Maybe the doctor only associates weight training with upper body work. There are potential shoulder issues with lifting over head (though often unfounded), but I can't think of any heart issues like that. I'm mystified.

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Post by frankie123 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:58 pm

chest press is great... :green: :green:

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Post by robertscott » Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:52 am

a standing chest press on a cable crossover could work

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Post by Jungledoc » Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:23 am

Hey. I was confused, reading page 1, not noticing that there was a page 2. So the OP had more information posted than I knew.

Yeah, it sounds like you may have a ventricular aneurysm. Does that sound familiar? I googled it, trying to find an illustration, but I didn't find one. When you said that about the heart being thinner, it sounds like it. Have you had a heart attack?

I don't think monitoring heart rate would help much. It's the pressure that's at issue.

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Post by A. moss » Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:40 pm

Gantz wrote:When you BP aren't you lying on a bench? How does that count as lifting weight above the head? Isn't it the same as doing push-ups but instead of pushing the ground, you're pushing some other weight.
If he has some heart problems, then his heart would have to work harder to pump blood. extreme exercises could cause blood to rush to his head during BP (or any overhead exercise) and he could pass-out (due to holding his breath and pushing) and the doc may be concerned the weight mite collapse on to him while he is unconscious. (Just my thoughts).

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Post by owl » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:30 pm

Jungledoc wrote:Hey. I was confused, reading page 1, not noticing that there was a page 2. So the OP had more information posted than I knew.

Yeah, it sounds like you may have a ventricular aneurysm. Does that sound familiar? I googled it, trying to find an illustration, but I didn't find one. When you said that about the heart being thinner, it sounds like it. Have you had a heart attack?

I don't think monitoring heart rate would help much. It's the pressure that's at issue.
Honestly, I am confused too... the last time I saw my doctor was before I really started lifting, so I didn't ask them about it much. The specific condition is actually cardiomyopathy. I know that is somewhat general, but I am not really comfortable going into a ton of detail about my health history on a public forum.

At this point I think it is best that I talk to my doctor and get some more information before making any big changes. You guys have posted some really helpful information and I will take it all into consideration, but I need to make sure I understand the problem myself first.

Thanks


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