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  1. #1
    Registered User Zephyr10's Avatar
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    How do I get stronger when I can't lift over 20 pounds for medical reasons?

    I'm 18 years old.

    I have Pulmonary Hypertension, so I can't lift more than 20 pounds or I'm putting too much pressure on my chest.
    This means I can't really do anything with barbells too since the bar itself usually weighs over 20.

    My limit is 20 pounds, and I cannot exceed that limit, ever. Even when doing 20's starts to feel like nothing.
    I'm very skinny because I was discouraged from exercise for a long time from my condition.

    If it's relevant, my height is 6,4. How can I get stronger and build muscle under these circumstances?
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    Registered User Oxxxx's Avatar
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    I would really consult a doctor about this one. I would get medication to allow you to be able to lift more weights and start off from their in a normal program/routine and start bulking. I am not educated on this disease so contact a doctor before anything.
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    Here is as simple as it gets. In natural lifters the only way you will get stronger or bigger is by lifting heavier weights over time. Since you can’t lift more then 20 pounds, I really don’t know how you are going to grow or get stronger. I mean for almost all lifters the bar itself isn’t enough to get any growth stimulation
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    This is a question for your doctor. Any advice we give might be counter to medical advice.

    If you have something that requires medical care - deal with that first. The last thing you want to do is something that may make it worse.
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    Originally Posted by Zephyr10 View Post
    I'm 18 years old.

    I have Pulmonary Hypertension, so I can't lift more than 20 pounds or I'm putting too much pressure on my chest.
    This means I can't really do anything with barbells too since the bar itself usually weighs over 20.

    My limit is 20 pounds, and I cannot exceed that limit, ever. Even when doing 20's starts to feel like nothing.
    I'm very skinny because I was discouraged from exercise for a long time from my condition.

    If it's relevant, my height is 6,4. How can I get stronger and build muscle under these circumstances?
    Great idea not consulting a physician on this topic. Much better to ask a teen forum.
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    Registered User BlueSpades's Avatar
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    Consult a doctor... odds are, you may not be able to risk lifting with a condition such as that.
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  7. #7
    Registered User Zephyr10's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rhadam View Post
    Great idea not consulting a physician on this topic. Much better to ask a teen forum.
    I didn't see the replies on this until now, when I came back to ask the same question more or less.
    I should've specified then, but it's not like I am not getting any medical help for my condition. I have regular check ups with my cardiologist, and I'm on some medications. I have asked my doctors about this, and I should have clarified that I did then. I was encouraged to workout by my doctors, however like I said they gave me a limit of 20lbs. With such exceptionally light weights as my limit, I figured that I'd ask some other people if it's even possible for me to get bigger. I'm not looking to get shredded or anything, god knows that it would be physically impossible for me. I'm so damn skeletal and self conscious about that, that I'd be satisfied with just getting lean and even a LITTLE BIT of muscle.

    Judging by the replies I got though, looks like it really is hopeless.
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    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Go back to your doctor for clarification.

    For example, if you are sitting in a chair and stand up, you just lifted more than 20lbs. But are you really limited to doing (say) a 20lb leg press? That makes no sense.

    If you asked about doing pressups, they would probably say its fine... again that's more than 20lbs - but are you not allowed to do more than a 20lb bench press?

    I suspect it's just a simple blunt rule they give to people to make sure they don't do too much. If you explain what you are trying to do then maybe they'll give you more detailed advice.

    A doctor who doesn't lift probably thinks that everyone who "lifts weights" is mostly doing bicep curls... that seems to be the perception of people who've never trained seriously with weights.

    We certainly cannot give any such advice.
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    Registered User Zephyr10's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    Go back to your doctor for clarification.

    For example, if you are sitting in a chair and stand up, you just lifted more than 20lbs. But are you really limited to doing (say) a 20lb leg press? That makes no sense.

    If you asked about doing pressups, they would probably say its fine... again that's more than 20lbs - but are you not allowed to do more than a 20lb bench press?

    I suspect it's just a simple blunt rule they give to people to make sure they don't do too much. If you explain what you are trying to do then maybe they'll give you more detailed advice.

    A doctor who doesn't lift probably thinks that everyone who "lifts weights" is mostly doing bicep curls... that seems to be the perception of people who've never trained seriously with weights.

    We certainly cannot give any such advice.
    Yeah, I'll certainly get back to my doctor about this, and go more in-depth about it. Thanks. And again, I'm really not looking to 'bodybuild' per-say, I just want to get my body to a healthy, semi muscular state that I can be happy with. That should be possible by just training with light weights, and doing body-weight exercises, should it not?
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  10. #10
    Kanye West 2020 🇺🇸 alec935's Avatar
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    Does a 20lb weighted chin count as 20 pounds? What about 20lb weighted ab roll out? You can do some really tough exercises by abusing bodyweight because there's fundamentally no difference between loading up a barbell with weight and using your own. 20lb rule makes absolutely no sense
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  11. #11
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Zephyr10 View Post
    Yeah, I'll certainly get back to my doctor about this, and go more in-depth about it. Thanks. And again, I'm really not looking to 'bodybuild' per-say, I just want to get my body to a healthy, semi muscular state that I can be happy with. That should be possible by just training with light weights, and doing body-weight exercises, should it not?
    We hear this a lot - it's probably what most of our goals are too.

    The methods are still the same though - just not taken to the same level as a stage ready bodybuilder. It's not a case of fiddling around with light weights - that will simply result in no results at all. Even modest results still take a lot of effort and persistence.

    It is possible (in principle) to train with lighter weights but they still need to be above a certain threshold. This depends on the size of the muscle being trained. 20lbs is not going to cut it for legs, back and probably not even chest.

    And before you ask (we've heard every conceivable reply before), yes you need to train legs and back - train your entire body, no picking and choosing.
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  12. #12
    Registered User cljolley's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    We hear this a lot - it's probably what most of our goals are too.

    The methods are still the same though - just not taken to the same level as a stage ready bodybuilder. It's not a case of fiddling around with light weights - that will simply result in no results at all. Even modest results still take a lot of effort and persistence.

    It is possible (in principle) to train with lighter weights but they still need to be above a certain threshold. This depends on the size of the muscle being trained. 20lbs is not going to cut it for legs, back and probably not even chest.

    And before you ask (we've heard every conceivable reply before), yes you need to train legs and back - train your entire body, no picking and choosing.
    Very well said!
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