Maximum weight to lift

Does anyone know if there is a maximum weight we are allowed to lift if we have lymphodema/at risk of it.


Funny one this - I can’t find anything to state a maximum weight - but this research suggests that actually, gradually increasing weight lifting with the ‘bad’ arm is beneficial - this study followed women weight lifting in a gym - but I can see it applying to every day life. It makes sense to me that if we avoid lifting with the ‘bad’ arm, then we weaken it - so I am going with not straining, but certainly not avoiding lifting. Example: I picked up a sack of dog food today, 15 kilos, something I have always done. Today I let my right arm carry the majority of the weight, but didn’t avoid using my ‘bad’ left arm. I plan to gradually increase what I lift, until I’m back to where I was pre-surgery. (I had my op in November).

This research certainly seems to show that careful weights can help protect against lymphedema, compared with the control group.

Sophie xx

well…have been tested to see if any lymphodema and none found…and I lift…sheep, feed sacks, wool sacks, logs, stuff!, I use my strimmer, use a hammer, bash in posts,…and have no probems at all…I will not let this stop me from anything…but I am careful :wink:

Doesn’t the number of nodes removed/affected have something to do with it as well?

Well all mine we whipped out…more problems with me teeth than arms atm!

HI there - the Haven leaflet is good on this - there is basically no maximum wieght, it says just work slowly back up to whatever strength your arm can take without at any point putting it under strain, but yes use it and get it moving again…
I swim and do allotment and carry stuff about - I am one year post op and its definitely stronger but I’ve been really clear to avoid strain…check out the Haven leaflet, its the best I’ve seen,
bw Nicola

I think you can re-introduce tasks/activities that you have always done with your arm prior to surgery. So if you played tennis then you can take it up again (re-introduce slowly). If you never played, then don’t start now!
I had my surgery in Nov and since mid Jan have slowly started to introduce everyday activities. I ensure I don’t overdo it (never strain it, not just the once), the light shopping bag gets carried on the right etc. I move my garden pots around, but for the heavy ones OH has to come out to assist.
Interested to read about the gym and slowly building strength up. I had heard this from a physio therapist who treats ANC ladies with lymphodema (she also advised me as per above)… I use one pound weights to exercise the arm, just because I want to keep the muscle active. BTW - I exercise the arm most days. Sorry, but no direct reply about weight, because it’ll be different for each of us.
Nikki x


What is the Haven leaflet you mention?


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I had a few sleeve free arms this weekend too, and the swelling stayed down, my arm is still painfull but swelling not increased There is a lot of info from the states that says its important to keep usung your ld arm and that stopping using it only ends up with it swelling more when it is used. Though i was really into my weights before DX and was told to stay off them but i do try and use my arm as much as poss. But as Norberte says its the silly little things that sometimes trigger a swelling, driving causes me probs. There was a fab lady on here who was amazing re lymphodema and i still have some of the documents she sent me i am happy to send on to those who want them if you PM me. Also i have a Haven CD that is really good and gives info and excersises, I am sure Haven ( mine from Hereford one) would send out more , but i will give a go at copying mine.

r x

HI Dawn, and everyone, here is the link to the Haven leaflet - I searched and searched and this is definitely the best I could find,
bw Nicola

Thanks Nicola - I’ve been quite down at my loss of upper body strength and I’m trying to work out how quickly I can start working on building it up.


Thank you ladies for all your replies. I think as you say it is an individual thing so I won’t overly worry and just be sensible.

Also thank you for the link that was posted.
Viv xx