Reverse Shoulder Replacement - Able to lift weights after shoulder replacement? (2023)



new member
Oct 8, 2022
Reverse Shoulder Replacement - Able to lift weights after shoulder replacement? (1) United States
  • Oct 8, 2022
  • #1

I've struggled with shoulder issues for decades after being active in sports and 30 years of Army (Special Forces) life (dislocations, heavy loads etc.). Two surgeries over the years seem to have stabilized one shoulder and I have semi-normal function and little to no pain. The other shoulder, however is my problem. There is now bone-on-bone and heavy arthritis has set in (no surgery on this one). Doc says routine surgery really isn't an option at this point so we opted for cortisone injections which worked to some degree for a couple of years (injections every 8-12 weeks). Now seeing diminishing returns so elected to try a series of 3 PET injections last month. So far, no relief, but Doc said it could be a couple of months and shoulders don't seem to benefit the same as knees.

Sleep has become a real issue while the shoulder is not mobile. It seems to tighten up and feels almost brittle when I start to get it mobile first thing in the morning. I'm certainly not medically inclined, but assume it's the arthritis doing its thing. I've tried over-the-counter NSAIDS with limited relief. I stay active and still lift moderate weights in the gym every other day or two, but always pay the price the next day. My biggest fear with shoulder replacement is that after recovering, I will be severely limited in my ability to lift weights (even moderately). My Doc is telling me if PET doesn't offer relief, replacement might be my only option other than living with the pain. I've heard some in here express being limited to 11 pounds after replacement! I hate the pain, but I just turned 55 and can still endure it for a while longer if that's what I'm looking at.

I would really appreciate any advice/feedback from anyone who has been in my situation or has knowledge of what reverse shoulder replacement limitations likely look like. Thanks.


Staff member since December 30, 2020

BoneSmart Staff

Sep 5, 2011
Reverse Shoulder Replacement - Able to lift weights after shoulder replacement? (3) United States
  • Oct 8, 2022
  • #2

@Wrangler89 Welcome to BoneSmart! Reverse Shoulder Replacement - Able to lift weights after shoulder replacement? (4) It is hard to say whether or not you would be able to return to lifting after having a shoulder replacement. There are too many variables involved to know for sure. Much depends on what kind of replacement you need - a standard replacement vs a reverse replacement. The reverse kind is often used when there is soft tissue damage (rotator cuff tear, or other) plus arthritis and has more restrictions as to range of motion and how much weight can be lifted. The standard kind is used when the problems are mostly arthritis without muscle or tendon damage. The thing about arthritis is that it does NOT get better! Cortisone shots have limited benefit when you are already bone-on-bone. And it will continue to get worse

With any shoulder replacement surgery you would need to take recovery slow -- heal completely before doing any training. And recuperation can take up to 9+ months. Everyone's journey through joint replacement is different - yours may be easier as you are in good physical shape. Me, I was (and still am) a LOL (little old lady) when I had my shoulder joints replaced and have never done any weight lifting. But I can heft loads up to about 25-30 lbs with no problems. Plus, for me, being able to sleep and live my life without pain is a blessing.

Do read through some of the threads here to see how others have managed. And do let us know how you are getting on and what you decide to do.


ADMINISTRATOR Staff member since February 2011


Jan 27, 2010
Reverse Shoulder Replacement - Able to lift weights after shoulder replacement? (6) United Kingdom
  • Oct 9, 2022
  • #3

@Wrangler89 Welcome to BoneSmart! I think you should have a good discussion with your surgeon about expectations post reverse shoulder replacement. Most surgeons impose weight restrictions after this procedure. Your surgeon will know your own medical situation and can advise.

Be warned, if you do decide to proceed with surgery you will need to abide by any limitations. If you can't stay within limits RTSR may not be right for you.

Have you thought about getting a second opinion?





new member
Oct 8, 2022
Reverse Shoulder Replacement - Able to lift weights after shoulder replacement? (7) United States
  • Oct 9, 2022
  • #4

Thank you djklaugh and Jaycey for your feedback. I think my situation falls into the standard replacement category. I've only consulted with my Sports Med. doc, so I need to meet with an actual surgeon to get his advice. djklaugh, it's great that you can sleep and no longer experience pain. That is certainly my goal, but I guess I have to decide at what price, but it sounds like you're getting along quite well. Regardless of what the surgeon says Jaycey, I think I'll seek a second opinion regardless, just to make sure they agree. This is a great forum and I look forward to reading the other postings.


Sep 4, 2017
Reverse Shoulder Replacement - Able to lift weights after shoulder replacement? (9) United States
  • Oct 11, 2022
  • #5

Suggest you look into the Ream and Run. Not sure where you are located. Dr. Matsen is the pioneer of this procedure out of the UW Medical Center in Seattle. Dr. Carofino comes highly recommended on the East coast and studied under Dr. Matsen. Either one will look at your xray if you can email it to them. Dr. Matsen has an excellent blog on arthritis and shoulders with a wealth of information. I'd post the link but they won't allow it here. I was told to tell people to Google it :(. Good luck with your decision. PM direct with any questions.


Staff member since Feb, 2009

Senior Administrator

Mar 24, 2008
Reverse Shoulder Replacement - Able to lift weights after shoulder replacement? (11) United States
Reverse Shoulder Replacement - Able to lift weights after shoulder replacement? (12)
  • Oct 21, 2022
  • #6

@Wrangler89 ... the key to whether or not you can have a standard shoulder replacement will be the condition of your rotator cuff muscles. The reverse replacement is primarily for those patients who have significant rotator cuff damage.

It is true there are more restrictions with a reverse replacement, so hopefully you'll be able to get a standard shoulder done. Talk with several surgeons in your area and opt to go with the one you are most comfortable with. There are differences in their expertise and approach to helping patients get back to as normal a life as possible. Let us know how things go.

Just as a reference, I had a standard replacement in 2018 and even with a torn bicep tendon that has healed over and was not repaired, I'm able to lift things. For a while I was packing and loading boxes to travel to my lake house. I've sold it now but do lots of things around the house like hauling bags of mulch and dirt or moving furniture around the house. I am not a weight lifter by any means, but use weights in some of my exercise routines with my trainer. Your surgeon is going to be the best person to advise you, so be sure and have this discussion with all the doctors you consult with.


May 27, 2018
Reverse Shoulder Replacement - Able to lift weights after shoulder replacement? (14) United States
  • Nov 9, 2022
  • #7

I just saw your post. Haven't been in this forum for a while.
First, thank you for your service. My son was a recon Marine. 2 visits to Iraq (second assault on Fallujah) He's out now. We have a special place in our hearts for special forces!
I had my left shoulder replaced 4/2022. I can lift light weights. And I'm sure I could work up to heavier ones. I just haven't bothered. And I'm 69 yrs young LOL
I was bone on bone with a "significant" bone spur. Pain woke me up and was bad. Sleeping on my left side became almost impossible. So I get it. I had no idea I needed a replacement. Was expecting cortisone.
I would highly recommend a shoulder replacement. It was an easy recovery with minimal pain. You will have to be patient with PT and working up to bigger weights. But, its worth not having the pain..
Good luck and wishing you a blessed Veterans Day.

You must log in or register to reply here.


Reverse Shoulder Replacement - Able to lift weights after shoulder replacement? ›

CAN I LIFT WEIGHTS AFTER TOTAL SHOULDER REPLACEMENT SURGERY? The artificial replacement parts of your new shoulder are susceptible to wear. Therefore, it is generally advised that anyone who has undergone total shoulder replacement surgery not lift anything that weighs more than about 40-50 pounds.

Can you lift weights with a reverse shoulder replacement? ›

Returning to sports and other activities

To protect your new shoulder avoid: Activities that require doing the same movement over and over again with your shoulder, such as weight lifting. Jamming or pounding activities, such as hammering.

How much weight can I lift after reverse shoulder surgery? ›

Reverse total shoulder replacements are mechanical devices susceptible to wear. Lifting heavy objects creates high force at the glenoid (socket) and is associated with loosening and early failure. For this reason, NO LIFTING greater than 50lbs floor to waist is allowed.

Can you workout after reverse shoulder replacement? ›

The progression through recovery after shoulder surgery may vary. However, a typical timeframe one can begin increasing their activity intensity, specifically with overhead weightlifting after shoulder surgery, can range between three to six months.

Can you bench press after shoulder replacement? ›

If bench pressing, your grip should be no wider than the width of your shoulders. Avoid any exercises using grips wider or narrower than shoulder width (use light weights and dumbbells while lying on the floor initially to avoid hands from going below the level of the chest). be done with reasonable weights.

What are permanent limitations after reverse shoulder replacement? ›

A total replacement offers excellent pain relief and can restore range of motion. However, there are permanent restrictions after shoulder replacement surgery. “We recommend that patients not lift more than 25 pounds after total replacement surgery,” Dr. Dillon said.

What is the longevity of a reverse shoulder replacement? ›

Shoulder replacement surgeries are more common in the United States as a treatment for end-stage degenerative conditions. Researchers writing in the current issue of The Lancet Rheumatology, find that most shoulder replacements last longer than 10 years.

What are the restrictions after reverse total shoulder? ›

Avoid shoulder AROM (Active Range of Motion). No lifting of objects until 6 weeks post op • No excessive shoulder motion behind back, especially into internal rotation (IR). No excessive stretching or sudden movements (particularly external rotation(ER). No supporting of body weight by hand on involved side.

What you Cannot do after shoulder replacement? ›

Activities and movements you should try to avoid are:
  • Reaching or using your shoulder a lot.
  • Lifting objects heavier than a cup of coffee.
  • Supporting your body weight with your hand on the side you had surgery.
  • Making sudden jerking movements.
Dec 12, 2022

What can you never do after shoulder replacement? ›

Don't use your operative arm to push yourself up from a bed or chair. Don't do any repetitive heavy lifting. Don't play contact sports. Avoid placing your arm in any “extreme position” for the first six weeks after surgery.

What are the best exercises for a reverse shoulder replacement? ›

The following exercises may be recommended by your doctor and should be performed as instructed.
  • Elbow Range of Motion. Before starting this exercise, remove your sling. ...
  • Grip Strengthening. Begin this exercise by making a tight fist or by gripping a rubber ball. ...
  • Scapula Retraction. ...
  • Supported Arm Pendulum. ...
  • External Rotation.

Are muscles cut during shoulder replacement surgery? ›

The surgeon separates the deltoid and pectoral muscles to access the shoulder in a largely nerve-free area (to minimize nerve damage). The shoulder is opened by cutting one of the front muscles of the rotator cuff, which covers the shoulder.

Can you do pushups after a total shoulder replacement? ›

After 12 weeks of PT, most minimally invasive surgery patients can perform upper-body exercises like push-ups, shoulder flies, and presses with light weights.

When can I squat after shoulder surgery? ›

While this is NOT considered medical advice, I do clear many of the athletes I work with to return to back squats after isolated SLAP repairs and rotator cuff repairs around the 12-week mark. But only if they have appropriate mobility and aren't experiencing negative symptoms when doing so.

How long after surgery can you lift weights? ›

Weight training can usually be resumed six weeks after your surgical procedure if you were already a weightlifter and your muscles are conditioned to the practice. Heavy lifting, even at six weeks, may not be appropriate if your idea of weight lifting is carrying groceries into the house or picking up a small child.

Can you throw a ball after reverse shoulder replacement? ›

Throwing is possible within certain ranges. You're not going to be a professional player, but you can throw a baseball or a football. Most of my patients are golfers or tennis players and they do well after shoulder replacements and reverse shoulder replacements for those sports.

What percentage of reverse shoulder replacements are successful? ›

Some recent studies on reverse shoulder arthroplasty revealed that the success rate is around 85%. The success rate is defined as the percentage of patients who could return to their daily activities and play some sports within the first five months post-surgery.

What causes a reverse shoulder replacement to fail? ›

The most common complications warranting revision consideration in reverse shoulder arthroplasty (RSA) include instability and its associated causes: infection, periprosthetic fracture, and glenoid baseplate loosening.

Is reverse shoulder surgery worth it? ›

Before surgery, reverse-candidate patients often have poor shoulder function, pain during everyday activities and are often up at night from shoulder pain. Reverse shoulder replacements have a high success rate, and most patients can resume a normal lifestyle with full function within months afterward.

Can a shoulder replacement last 20 years? ›

Survival of shoulder replacements has often been reported in small case series, with some follow-up extending beyond 20 years; however, individual case series are prone to bias and reporting has been highly heterogeneous.

Do you still have a rotator cuff after reverse shoulder replacement? ›

The reverse total shoulder replacement relies on the deltoid muscle, instead of the rotator cuff, to power and position the arm. It essentially re-creates the function of the torn rotator cuff. This surgery was originally designed in the 1980s in Europe.

Can you lift with opposite arm after shoulder surgery? ›

You may also be told not to use your arm or hand on the side that had surgery. For example, do not: Lift anything with this arm or hand. Lean on the arm or put any weight on it.

What happens if you lift too much after shoulder replacement? ›

After your surgery, you'll be asked not to lift your arm or reach too frequently for the first few weeks. This could stress your new joint. You will want to gradually build up strength and in your shoulder, and your medical team and therapy team will explain how to do so safely.

How long does it take for a shoulder replacement to fully heal? ›

It takes at least 6 months to return to full activity. In the future, make sure to let all health professionals know about your artificial shoulder so they will know how to care for you. This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover.

How long does it take for muscles to heal after shoulder replacement? ›

The recovery from a total shoulder replacement varies from person to person, but it generally takes eight weeks or more for patients to regain shoulder strength. Keep in mind though, that it may take several months for patients to return to strenuous exercise levels or heavy labor.

Is shoulder ever the same after surgery? ›

In time, your shoulder will likely be stronger, less painful, and more flexible than it was before the surgery. This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace.

What are the symptoms of reverse shoulder replacement failure? ›

Component loosening or failure. Bone fractures around the implant or in the shoulder blade. Weakness, numbness or tingling sensations. Nerve damage that affects feeling or control of the arm and hand.

Is reverse shoulder replacement faster recovery? ›

During recovery from a reverse shoulder joint replacement, special exercises are recommended to help your body get used to the new arrangement. Patients who undergo a reverse procedure tend to recover faster than those who undergo the traditional shoulder replacement.

How to strengthen deltoid muscle after reverse shoulder replacement? ›

Deltoid Strengthening
  1. Stand with your arm at your side.
  2. Lift your arm up in front of you, keeping your palm facing down.
  3. Raise your arm until it is parallel with the floor, and then hold for a few seconds.
  4. Slowly lower your arm down.
  5. Repeat 10 to 15 repetitions.
Aug 8, 2022

What is the benefit of a reverse shoulder replacement? ›

A reverse prosthesis can significantly reduce pain and restore some range of motion in the shoulder. Rotator cuff tears: If the rotator cuff tendons are all torn and a person cannot lift the arm high enough to function, reverse prosthesis could help regain motion and function.

How painful is reverse shoulder replacement? ›

We typically see with a reverse shoulder replacement, as with other shoulder surgeries, that the first few weeks are the most painful. Then, the pain slowly subsides and is more manageable from day to day. By six weeks, most people are feeling much more comfortable.

What does a shoulder look like after a reverse shoulder replacement? ›

A reverse shoulder replacement will make your arm slightly longer (about 1/2 inch). Most people do not notice this. The contour of the shoulder often looks slightly different. This is because the deltoid muscle looks thinner or hollow.

What is the ball squeeze exercise after shoulder surgery? ›

Ball Squeezes:

While in and out of your sling, squeeze the foam ball to exercise the hand, fingers, and wrist muscles. This exercise can be very effective to help promote good circulation and prevent excessive swelling.

Can you wear a bra after total shoulder replacement? ›

Please do not wear a traditional bra for two weeks, but one with a T-back or racer back straps are okay.

What sports can you do after shoulder replacement? ›

The most common sports that shoulder arthroplasty patients enjoy including golf, swimming, tennis, but may also include many other choices including fitness activities, rowing, skiing, basketball, and softball.

Can you do stationary bike after shoulder surgery? ›

The stationary bike is a great way to get in some cardio after shoulder surgery. You should avoid the elliptical and the treadmill though--it's too easy to lose your balance on them and fall.

How do you build muscle after shoulder surgery? ›

To strengthen the shoulder muscles, lie on the side of your surgery with your elbow at a 90-degree angle. Take a light barbell or weight in that hand and gradually lift it toward your stomach. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times during each session.

How do I not lose muscle after shoulder surgery? ›

The following tips will help you minimize muscle loss following an injury.
  1. Rest Long, Rest Often. It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the biggest keys to making a full recovery and getting back to full strength is to make sure your body gets the rest it needs. ...
  2. Consider Supplements. ...
  3. Get in the Water. ...
  4. Get Hot.

When can I lift over 10 lbs after surgery? ›

If you've had open surgery, do not lift more than 10lbs for the first six weeks. After that, you can increase to 30 lbs. for 2 weeks and no limit after 8 weeks. This is because hernias almost never occur after laparoscopic surgery, but are quite common after open surgery with an incision.

What counts as heavy lifting after surgery? ›

One way doctors help those with surgical wounds heal quickly — and avoid added physical stress that could raise blood pressure and, in turn, cause a cut to break open and bleed — is to recommend steering clear of picking up anything that weighs more than 10 pounds.

When can I lift more than 10 lbs after surgery? ›

Do not lift anything that weighs more than 10 to 15 pounds (no more than a gallon of milk) until six weeks after the surgery. This includes babies, children and groceries. After six weeks, you may gradually begin to lift heavier items if it does not cause discomfort around your incision.

What are the cons of a reverse shoulder replacement? ›

Reverse Shoulder Replacement Cons
  • Losing the ability to reach behind your back to scratch or change a bra.
  • Getting an infection.
  • Suffering from some joint instability.
  • Bone fracturing around the implants.
Jun 2, 2022

Can I throw a ball after shoulder replacement? ›

Throwing is possible within certain ranges. You're not going to be a professional player, but you can throw a baseball or a football. Most of my patients are golfers or tennis players and they do well after shoulder replacements and reverse shoulder replacements for those sports.

Will my shoulder be 100% after surgery? ›

However, it is important to realize that it may not make your shoulder feel 100% normal again. Research studies have shown that one year after surgery patients will have shoulder function which is about 80% of normal (see the attached graph from a publication in JBJS).

How do you build muscle after shoulder replacement? ›

Start slowly and increase physical activity gradually over time. Light stretching exercises are also recommended to improve shoulder mobility and restore joint flexibility. Make sure to rest, sleep regularly, and avoid strenuous activities for at least a few weeks after surgery.

What is the hardest orthopedic surgery to recover from? ›

What is the hardest orthopedic surgery to recover from
  • Total Joint Replacement Surgery. Total joint replacement surgery is a common orthopedic procedure designed to replace a damaged joint with an artificial one. ...
  • Spinal Fusion Surgery. ...
  • ACL Reconstruction Surgery. ...
  • Rotator Cuff Surgery. ...
  • Achilles Tendon Surgery.
May 12, 2023


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Frankie Dare

Last Updated: 09/08/2023

Views: 6171

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (73 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Frankie Dare

Birthday: 2000-01-27

Address: Suite 313 45115 Caridad Freeway, Port Barabaraville, MS 66713

Phone: +3769542039359

Job: Sales Manager

Hobby: Baton twirling, Stand-up comedy, Leather crafting, Rugby, tabletop games, Jigsaw puzzles, Air sports

Introduction: My name is Frankie Dare, I am a funny, beautiful, proud, fair, pleasant, cheerful, enthusiastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.