Exercises After Breast Surgery: A Week-By-Week Guide
The key to knowing the proper exercises after breast surgery is all in the timing. This is one of our most popular questions! We created this guide of what you can do at each time point after your breast implant surgery.
Whether you had breast implants above the muscle or breast implants under the muscle, this guide is helpful at planning your exercises after breast surgery. Be sure to check with your board-certified plastic surgeon before making any major moves in working out after breast implants.
Exercises after Breast Surgery: WEEK 1
From the first day to the end of the first week after breast surgery, the best exercise you can do is pretty much limited to walking around the house. You want to avoid any cardio (that means anything that gets your heart rate up) and avoid all strength training. This means no walks in the neighborhood, and definitely no reps on the staircase, treadmill, peloton or elliptical.
Definitely do not do any weight training, zumba or anything like that. Take it easy – you could impede the healing by overdoing it, or worse, you could hurt yourself. We don’t want you to have any bleeding around your implant. Focus on recovery this week. Remember, if it hurts, don’t do it just yet.
Exercises after Breast Surgery – WEEK 2
For this second week after breast surgery, you will still have some swelling working its way out of your system. So for that reason, you have to skip cardio during week 2. Read that again – cardio is not a part of exercises after breast surgery in week 2!
So what can you do? Light walking on your street, at the mall, nothing over a mile. In our NC heat, perhaps limit your summer walks to short and sweet loops where you don’t start sweating. This means no power-walking. As far as weights and strength training – those are still on the no-go list for week 2. See the details for next week if you are itching to start!
Exercises after Breast Surgery – WEEK 3
Exercises after breast surgery in your third week is liberating! At this point we typically release you to start lower body strength training only. This includes gluts, lower abs, and of course your quads, hamstrings and calves. Still no pec, lat, trapezius, biceps or triceps. Avoid upper body and arms. Lunges, leg presses, calf raises and squats are ok. Make sure you are not clenching your pecs when do these.
Oh, and still no cardio! I know you can give yourself a cardio-type workout while doing your reps with weights — so don’t do that. Just do weights without raising your heart rate and blood pressure. That’s because when you start pumping more blood, that means more swelling in the breasts, and we will go backwards before going forwards in your healing process.
Keep your eye on the prize, just a bit more and then you will be released to full exercises!
Exercises after Breast Surgery – WEEK 4
Week 4 is a major turning point. Guess what? Now you may finally start light cardio! You may also slowly and lightly introduce upper body and arms into your strength routine. Do not go back to cross-fit or your normal full-on workout regimen. Instead, start slow and easy, and plan to work toward achieving your peak fitness over the next 2-3 weeks.
You can begin biceps, triceps, and upper abs now. Those of you with implants under the muscle may want to hold off on pecs, lat and trap work for one more week. Four weeks after surgery you are cleared to do things like get in the pool or hot tub. So if swimming laps is your thing, wait until after four weeks have gone by to begin this exercise after breast surgery.
Exercises after Breast Surgery – WEEK 5-6
This is when you may start to introduce all the things you used to do, and at about week 6 or 7 after surgery I expect you will be back at the same weights and cardio you were doing before surgery. Pec work? Ok to start low, go slow. Lat, trap, biceps and triceps? Yes – you betcha!
Again don’t reach for the weights you used to do, start low and build that strength back up. Pace yourself and have some self-compassion and patience! Your body has been hard at work healing and recovering from major surgery.
Questions about Exercises after Breast Surgery?
If you’re not sure about something, be sure to ask your board-certified plastic surgeon. At Tannan Plastic Surgery, our all-female team is here to help! We are all moms who take time to make sure we pick the right implant and pocket fit for you, your active lifestyle today, and your potential plans for a growing family in the future. Call today to schedule a consultation with female plastic surgeon, Dr. Tannan, and learn firsthand what is best for you after breast implant surgery.