Cosmetic Surgery Tips

4 weeks post breast augmentation exercise

About 4 weeks after your breast augmentation, you can start exercising. But you’ll have to be careful about how you do it.

Make sure to talk to your doctor before starting any kind of exercise program. If he or she gives you permission to exercise, then here are some guidelines:

-Don’t push yourself too hard in the gym—you don’t want to overdo it on day one! Start out slow and easy and see how it feels. If something hurts, stop doing it.

-Don’t lift weights that are too heavy for you. Your breasts are still healing from surgery, so don’t try lifting anything more than 10 pounds until they feel better. Even then, go slowly and don’t lift anything heavier than 20 pounds (like a dumbbell) without talking to your doctor first!

-Don’t sit straight up with your back against a wall for long periods of time—it can make your implants shift around inside your body!

4 weeks post breast augmentation exercise

Exercise After Plastic Surgery

One of the most important aspects to a patient’s recovery is their ability to return to their workout routines safely. Additionally, exercise should not jeopardize surgical results. Patients generally feel better physically and mentally when they’re able to exercise. When recovering from certain body contouring procedures, a customized workout regimen can dramatically improve results. While every patient is different and every workout program has to be customized to his or her fitness levels and overall health, some basic guidelines may apply to an average patient’s recovery.

The First Few Days After Surgery

Patients should not be overly active for the first 48 hours following their surgery.

The First Few Weeks After Surgery

Patients may gradually increase their activity level as they feel their energy level coming back. Depending on the type of surgery, it may take 1 – 2 weeks to return to normal energy levels throughout the day. For those who are anxious to return to exercise, light cardio activities are ideal. You can start these activities after 2 weeks. These activities may include walking the neighborhood, walking on a very slow setting on a treadmill, or cycling slowly on a stationary bike. The goal is to not elevate the heart rate too high, while still experiencing the psychological effects of exercise.

As patients return to their normal energy levels, a specific exercise regimen will be outlined based on the procedure and fitness level.

Exercise After Breast Augmentation

The main concern with working out after a breast augmentation is overusing the pectoral muscles. The vast majority of breast implants are placed underneath the pectoralis major muscle. Thus, the muscle will need to heal from surgery before resistance training. The reason for this is the scar tissue, or capsule, that lines the pocket that holds the implant. This begins forming immediately after surgery. Every woman who has breast implants has capsules lining the pockets. This is simply our body’s way of protecting us against an object (the implant) that it doesn’t recognize. The goal is to allow the capsule to form in such a way that it is undetectable. Therefore, during the initial four weeks after surgery, breast augmentation patients should avoid overusing their pectoral muscles.

Typically, this means lifting nothing heavier than 10 pounds. No heavy pulling or pushing of objects such as car doors or even heavy purses, and no weight training. This also includes any weight lifting exercises that involve the chest and back (and to some degree, the arms). Patients should avoid push-ups, pull-ups, dips, certain yoga poses and Pilates moves that rely on balancing body weight with the arms, swinging a golf club or tennis racquet, and using certain exercise equipment such as an elliptical trainer with arm attachments. 

In the first 4 weeks after surgery, Dr. Williams recommends lower body exercise. Any type of leg exercise including lunges, leg presses, and squats (without weights) are fine. Light to moderate cardio can also be performed, such as walking, stationary cycling, and the elliptical (without the arms). Strive for no bouncing motion like running or jumping. Patients may also carefully complete core strengthening exercises. These types of exercises can usually begin at 2 weeks post-op.

At the four-week post-op visit, the patient’s progress will be reviewed. If all is progressing normal in the recovery, the patient may slowly begin arm workouts followed by chest exercises.

Eventually, every patient regains total strength of their pec muscles and are able to perform any exercise they desire. Dr. Williams has operated upon competitive fitness models and bodybuilders who continue to compete and highlight their pecs after breast augmentation surgery.

Exercise After Liposuction

The first two weeks following liposuction are like any other procedure and the same restrictions as outlined in the general “Exercise After Plastic Surgery” instructions are applied.

By the third week, liposuction patients will be instructed to begin light cardio workouts, such as walking or stationary cycling. During the first four weeks after liposuction, all patients are required to wear a compression garment day and night to help minimize swelling and help guide skin retraction. This garment (or a sport specific garment) should also be worn during exercise. After two weeks of light cardio, the patient may resume more demanding workouts to include weight lifting and running.

The amount of exercise that can be done at four weeks depends on the amount of liposuction performed and how many areas of the body were treated. Also, it’s important to understand that as one exercises after liposuction, the treated areas will experience prolonged swelling, sometimes for up to six months after surgery. This does not jeopardize the results, but it may prolong the final result. However, most patients are willing to wait for the final result if it means they can get back to their workout routine faster.

Exercise After a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

The recovery period following a tummy tuck is longer than that of just liposuction. Because of the muscle repair that is involved in a tummy tuck, the body needs a longer time to heal before becoming stressed by any kind of workout.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of sports and training routines rely on activating the core musculature, which includes the rectus muscles. Therefore, patients are instructed to wait four weeks before beginning light cardio exercise. When patients begin this exercise at four weeks following surgery, they have to start very slowly and advance to a more vigorous routine over a span of four additional weeks, which will allow adequate time for the muscles to heal. Once the patient is able to perform moderate cardio exercises, they will be released for light resistance training and then finally core work. It may take 8 – 10 weeks before a patient may perform sit-ups, crunches, or twisting movements.  As with liposuction, a compression garment is recommended during the first 6 – 8 weeks following surgery to limit swelling and guide skin retraction. Also, patients will experience prolonged swelling around the waist and above the scar the more they work out in the early post-operative period. This is not harmful; it simply prolongs the final result.

Exercise After Facial Rejuvenation (Facelift, Eyelid Lift, Brow Lift)

Following a facial rejuvenation procedure, patients are recommended to refrain from any activity that will increase their heart rate and/or blood pressure for at least four weeks. This is due to the fact that these procedures involve operating beneath the skin of the face, eyelids, or brow where there are hundreds of tiny blood vessels that can easily bleed after surgery with just a slight increase in blood pressure. If this were to happen, a hematoma, or a collection of blood, could form under the skin resulting in significant complications, including a return trip to the operating room. After the first four weeks, the majority of patients can resume light cardio (walking or slow stationary cycling) and gradually work up to a more vigorous workout over the subsequent two weeks. By six weeks after surgery, most patients can return to various activities, such as hiking, golf, or yoga.

Exercise After A Breast Lift

While it is important for patients to get back to exercise and an active lifestyle following breast lift surgery, it is also extremely important for the body to be given the necessary time to heal. Dr. Williams has experience in working with athletes following surgical procedures and will work with patients to provide specific guidelines that fit their needs. Some general guidelines following a breast lift:

Lower body exercise is recommended and encouraged following a breast lift. Body weight squats and lunges and leg presses are allowed, and light cardio using a stationary bicycle or an elliptical without the arm attachments are good choices in the weeks immediately following surgery. Any type of exercise that involves bouncing type motions or the upper body area should be avoided until the four-week post-op visit, at which time Dr. Williams will evaluate the patient and determine the most appropriate exercise program.

Exercise After a Breast Reduction

Following a breast reduction, many patients are anxious to exercise, as they may have had limitations in exercise due to their previous breast size. While Dr. Williams encourages physical fitness, it’s crucial to let the body sufficiently heal following a breast reduction procedure. While Dr. Williams will work with each patient on an individual basis to determine what their exercise capacity may be following a breast reduction surgery, there are some general guidelines:

Lower body exercise is encouraged in the immediate weeks following a breast reduction surgery. While weights should not be used, body weight lunges and squats are perfectly fine. Low impact cardio is encouraged, and walking, stationary bicycling, and using an elliptical without the arm attachments are all good choices. Any type of exercise involving the upper body should be avoided until clearance from the surgeon. At the four-week post-op appointment, Dr. Williams will evaluate the healing progress and determine if the patient is ready to begin exercise that involves their upper body.

exercise timeline after breast augmentation

Returning to exercise is a common concern for many patients, and all of us at Colorado Plastic Surgery Center certainly support the goals of health and fitness and strive to get patients back to their exercise routines as soon as possible. It is important, however, to allow yourself to heal and to always “listen” very carefully to your body and progress activity a little at a time.

Here is a general timeline that patients find helpful before and after their breast augmentation procedure:

3-5 Days — Return to non-physical work and very light activity. Plan to still have some soreness and know that you will get tired more easily. I do encourage patients to use their arms, so as to maintain full range of motion of the arms.


1 Week Post-Op Visit — If a bra is being worn, we will assess whether to continue its use or discontinue the bra and apply an elastic band (if we are desiring more downward movement of the implant). You will visit with our peri-operative therapist, Pam, for a 1-hour session and she will begin very light lymphatic and breast tissue massage as well as provide instructions on performing self-massage. You can return to light activity, including gentle stretching, increased walking, and sexual relations, as long as these can be done comfortably. Unfortunately, it often takes longer for the breasts to become more comfortable for sexual play.

2 Weeks — Return to moderate activity. Light-impact cardio exercise and some yoga postures and stretching are appropriate. An elliptical trainer or spin bike are a good place to start. Begin to increase light massage to the breasts.

4 Weeks — Begin a gradual return to full lower-body activity. You may start back to running if the breasts are comfortable while wearing a supportive athletic bra.

6-Week Post-Op Visit — We evaluate implant position and relaxation of the breasts and create a plan for you accordingly. Sometimes we are near optimal position and go into a support bra. Other times we need more movement and increase the downward massage of the breasts. We may even recommend another peri-op session with Pam. Begin a gradual return to full activity, including upper body.

6 Months — Okay to discontinue breast massage.

Learn about exercising after breast augmentation in Nashville.

Women considering breast augmentation at our Nashville, TN practice are generally conscientious about leading a healthy lifestyle, and a consistent exercise routine is a big part of that. That’s why one of the most common questions I hear during a breast enhancement consultation is, “How soon can I get back to the gym after surgery?”

With that in mind, I’ve prepared a rough timeline about what type of physical activities patients can safely perform at various stages of the recovery process. Each patient recovers at her own pace, of course, and this timeline is not meant to be taken as exact instructions. It’s important for women to listen to their bodies throughout the healing process.

Overall, I counsel my patients to be conservative as they return to their fitness routines. It’s always safe to ease back into exercise. What’s much more dangerous is to think that you feel “fine” and push yourself to perform more strenuous exercises than what is advised. That’s the kind of thinking that can actually risk compromising the results of your procedure.

This woman has an athletic build and wanted breast implants that would give her a natural look. As with all my patients, I recommended that she gradually try bringing exercises back into her fitness regimen.

Here are some general milestones to keep in mind during the recovery process:

Days 1 to 4

Make sure to get plenty of rest, but still take short, easy walks throughout the day. Walking, even on the first day after the procedure is important because it improves your blood circulation and helps promote healing.

Days 5 to 10

Moderate stretching of the lower body and longer walks are fine. You can pick up the pace of your walks if you like, but don’t overdo it. Avoid stretching the upper body beyond what is comfortable. The primary concern at this stage is overusing the pectoral muscles.

Days 10 to 14

This is when you may want to head back to the gym for the first time, but any workouts should still focus on your lower body. You can break a sweat by cycling or using the stair climber, but avoid running or any other high-impact activities.

3 Weeks

Some low-impact cardio workouts that don’t involve running can be added to the workout. Weight training should still be limited to the legs. Use machines or free weights without straining the upper body.

4 to 6 Weeks

This is when you may gradually resume upper body strength training and return to more strenuous cardio workouts, including running. Everything you try adding to your routine should be tried on its own, and you should proceed slowly. Also avoid lifting weights over the head until you’ve recovered a full range of motion with the arms.

As I noted above, you should always err on the side of caution when it comes to exercising after breast augmentation. Limiting yourself can be a difficult task for many athletic women who have established exercise routines, but in the long run, it’s the best way to safely regain any lost strength or stamina.

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