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Pulmonary Rehab: Strength Training

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Welcome to the second installment of Pulmonary Rehab/Training for this season’s adventures. If you missed the first one, check it here. It’s informative.

Strength training is important for everyone, not just those of us with lung conditions. However, getting and keeping ourselves stronger will improve out functioning, can help our progression, and can help get those endorphins moving…to quote Elle Woods

Elle Woods from Legally Blonde saying Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't. Photo from POPSUGAR

My experience

Like I mentioned in the other Pulmonary Rehab post, I have chronic pain issues along with mu lung stuff, so my strength training focuses mostly on exercises that will help with those. However, what I do works well for hiking training as it helps with all of the leg muscles, glutes, back, shoulders, arms, chest, and core. Basically the whole damn body.

That being said, a body making those movements is able to keep making those movements with decreased chance of injury. Those who know, the chance is never zero, but I’ll take less likely any day.

That’s cool and all, but get to the exercises…

Can do! But first…as always, I am not a professional, I just spend a lot of time with them. It’s probably in your best interest to work with professionals at the beginning of your program so they can monitor you and help if needed. It isn’t abnormal for oxygen saturations to drop while working out and no one needs to get dizzy and fall. That would cause other problems…

Okay, but remember to warm up

Before I even think about jumping on a machine, I make sure to do the stretches, range of motion exercises, etc. This is tailored to my needs, but they won’t hurt anyone unless you have restrictions. If you do, you probably have an idea on how to work with them from the person on your care team who put you on them.

Since I do a short 10 minute jaunt on the treadmill before I lift, I do the same type of warm up as I do on cardio days. Plus, I never do them enough outside of the gym so it does my body good.

  • Hip circles, tilts, and side-to-sides on the exercise ball to get the pelvis ready for movement. I also do standing range of motion for my hips because having your ball and socket joints moving properly is good for doing everything.
  • Some stretching for each set of leg muscles. I do calf, quadriceps, inner and outer thighs, hip flexors. I heard somewhere that dynamic (moving) stretching is better for pre-workout and static (not moving) is better post-workout, which makes sense, but I do a mixture of both.
  • Stretch my arms, shoulders, and neck with the exercises I have picked up from PT and my chiropractor over the years. These include range of motion as well.
  • I even do some of my TMJ exercises because I am standing in front of a mirror.

I will share all of these in more detail if you’d like, just shot it out in the comments and they’ll be yours.


I’ve attached my strength training log for your perusing. Keep in mind, I worked with PT to some up with these. I did not create this program on my own.

I have been on the same weight and reps for years and while it’s frustrating AF for me. When I get too down on myself, my therapist (along with a friend of mine) remind me that the overall goal is to maintain (not get worse). While I’d love to increase all of those numbers, I have to grant myself grace and remember that I am doing the best I can with my current level of functioning.

The same goes for you! Do your best and forget the rest. Your best will look different every day, so just do what you can. Overdoing it does nothing but set you back.

Tips and Tricks

The tips and tricks from part one fit here too, so look at those if you haven’t. I’ve added some more.

  • Form is important. If you’ve exercised in the past, you’ve likely had your ears talked off about form. If you do the exercises without proper form, you can injure yourself (speaking from someone who has…..). Watch yourself in the mirror or use the machines (like I do). You kind of have to be in proper form when your on the leg curl machine.
  • Rest between exercises if you need to. There is no shame in going slower if that is what your body needs.
  • Ask for help if you are unsure. The gym staff/Physical Therapist/Person running Pulmonary Rehab are there to help and should be able to tell you how to use the machines in the correct way.

And as always…Be safe out there! Seeyalaterbye <3

Also, if you feel called to help a sista out with her travels, check this out!

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