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The impact Arnold Schwarzenegger's heart surgery could have on his gym routine

by 
author image Leah Groth
Leah Groth is a writer and editor currently based in Philadelphia. She has covered topics such as entertainment, parenting, health & wellness for xoJane, Babble, Radar, Fit Pregnancy, Mommy Nearest, Living Healthy and PopDust.
The impact Arnold Schwarzenegger's heart surgery could have on his gym routine
Arnold Schwarzenegger is back at the gym for the first time since having heart surgery. Photo Credit: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images Entertainment/GettyImages

Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in the gym after his March heart surgery — but there are some workouts he will never be able to do again.

Video of the Day

The bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-governor is back at his favorite pastime in truly inspirational form. He shared a workout video on social media letting his fans know he is an unstoppable force. “The comeback continues,” he tweeted along with the video. “Training every day, doing my reps, reps, reps. Your support has really pumped me up, so I remain grateful to each and every one of you.”

In it, the “Terminator” star is pumping iron in a public gym (likely his home gym, Gold’s Gym, in Venice, California). After several impressive reps with his form totally on point, he addresses the camera: “The workout is coming back really great,” he says. “The comeback is great. Everything is fantastic.” Such good news, right?

While Schwarzenegger’s recovery seems to be going well, he’s likely limited on what he can and can’t do in the gym. “After cardiac surgery, especially after any type of valve repair or replacement, he shouldn’t be doing any sort bench pressing or weights directly across his chest,” Kelly Hanretta, D.O., cardiologist at White Plains Hospital in New York, explains to LIVESTRONG.COM. Why? Because he’s at risk of having a dissection (or tear) of the aorta, which is fatal in most cases.

And, while it’s likely Schwarzenegger will be fully functional once again, he won’t be able to turn back time. “It’s another surgery, which means he will likely not be able to get back to where he was before he had this last surgery,” Dr. Hanretta adds.

While it appears as though he rested for an entire month (in May he revealed to fans via social media that he had left the house for the first time), should the action star be back in the gym so soon? Dr. Hanretta explains that patients are usually advised to wait at least three months before their doctor clears them to start lifting weights, and they usually begin cardiac rehab in a supervised environment rather than going back to the gym themselves.

However, if Schwarzenegger’s doctor has cleared him to work out again, the exercise he was doing, the curling machine, was probably fine — “though you can’t see how much weight he was lifting,” she points out. “You always start out slow after recovering from a surgery, using low weights and high repetition.”

Back in March the 70-year-old underwent a planned procedure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to replace a pulmonic valve. In 1997, at the age of 49, he first had the valve replaced for a heart defect (an abnormality he was born with). As expected, the initial valve had outlived its life expectancy, so “he chose to replace it” through “a less-invasive catheter valve replacement,” his spokesman, Daniel Ketchell, told the Washington Post. Like a scene out of the “Terminator,” his first words after the surgery were — get this — “I’m back,” according to Ketchell.

Arnold, you have been inspiring us for decades! And even if you can’t bench press like you did in your prime, you will always be Mr. Olympia.

What Do YOU Think?

Are you surprised Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in the gym so soon after heart surgery? Are you familiar with the procedure he had? Do you find his comeback inspiring?

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