Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Can you get a six pack after a tummy tuck

Can you get a six pack after a tummy tuck?

This is a question that many people ask when they are considering getting a tummy tuck. Many people want to know if they will be able to get back to their pre-pregnancy body after having a baby.

The answer to this question depends on what kind of tummy tuck procedure you have done and how long ago you had the baby. If you have just had your baby recently, then it is unlikely that you will be able to get back to your pre-baby body without some extra work on top of the tummy tuck procedure. However, if you have had your baby over a year ago or more, then it is likely that your surgeon can help you achieve this goal with minimal effort on your part.

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Can you get a six pack after a tummy tuck

1. Listen to Your Doctor

Before you do ANY physical activity, talk to your doctor about what you should expect from exercise after an abdominoplasty surgery and how long you should wait to get started after your procedure. Your surgeon’s response will depend upon your condition prior to surgery, your personal surgical experience and how your body is recovering. If you were a marathon runner before your procedure, you will most likely return to your active lifestyle more quickly than someone who spent more time on the couch. The doctors at Belcara Health will recommend an exercise schedule that aligns with your fitness level and recovery needs. The physical demands of your job will also influence your surgeon’s advice on when you should return to work; those with sedentary jobs usually return to work more quickly than those with jobs that require vigorous physical exertion.

2. Sit Up and Get Up

Immediately following a tummy tuck procedure, even the most physically fit people may need support with seemingly simple tasks like sitting up and down. It is important to move around a bit in the first 24 hours following your abdominoplasty surgery to help promote blood circulation. But, make sure to have someone present when you first begin, because you may be unsteady. Walking after tummy tuck surgery is important; each day following your procedure, you should walk a little bit longer and a bit farther, to increase your strength and facilitate healing.

3.Perform Light Cardiovascular Activity Soon After Surgery

Should your tummy tuck require tightening the abdominal muscles, as in most cases, it usually takes about 2 weeks before you will be able to begin light cardiovascular exercise. Again, it is important to consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise after plastic surgery. Once you receive approval, you can begin with light exercise activities that raise your heart rate without directly engaging your abdominal or core muscles, such as walking, elliptical or stationary cycling. If your tummy tuck is “skin-only,” meaning only the skin is excised and tightened but no tightening of the muscles is necessary, then recovery is quicker and you will be able to return to pre–surgery exercise levels sooner.

4. Strengthen Your Upper Body and Legs, but Avoid Your Abdominals

Once you are comfortable with light cardiovascular activity, most patients can begin performing light weight lifting activities about 3 weeks after a tummy tuck procedure. These should be exercises that strengthen your arms, chest, shoulders, and legs – in addition to light cardio activities. Again, it is important to avoid heavy weight lifting during this time. You will want to avoid pull ups, power lifting, planking, sit-ups or other abdominal or lifting exercises. (Who doesn’t love an excuse to avoid burpees?) This is a time when having a personal trainer is crucial to your recovery. They can provide you with targeted exercises that do not put undue stress on the abdominals, ensuring your tummy tuck recovery timeline remains as short as possible.

5. Start Working Out Those Abs

After about 5-6 weeks following your tummy tuck procedure, and once your surgeon has given you approval, you can gradually start to expand your exercise program, including pilates and yoga. Again, a personal trainer is an invaluable resource during this time. They can coach you on form, duration, and even progression of exercises as you regain strength in your abdominal muscles. You should still avoid any heavy weight lifting or exercises that target the abdominal muscles until your physician permits it. This is because ab toning exercises after a tummy tuck only lead to stress in the region, which can adversely affect your recovery.

6. Resume Your Normal Workout Routine

Congratulations! At around 7-10 weeks after your tummy tuck procedure, you should be cleared to ease into your normal exercise routine. You can begin doing crunches, sit ups, and planks, as long as you progressively increase your repetitions. We recommend focusing on performing these exercises with impeccable form. Be sure to pay attention to your body as you resume your routine. Start slow, set reasonable goals, trust your body, and listen to what it needs.

Every patient is unique and every recovery process is personal; your recovery will not be the same as your sister’s or your friend’s. Your genetic makeup, pre-surgery fitness level, nutrition habits, environment, and support structure all play a part in your recovery time – and your surgeon’s advice takes these and many other factors into account. In order to achieve the results you desire, it is critical to follow your surgeon’s recovery instructions for care after a tummy tuck with precision. Trying to skip recovery steps or pushing through the recovery process too hard not only yields frustration, it can undo the results you have already achieved.

Is a Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty Procedure Right for You?

A tummy tuck procedure is a big decision, but can also be life changing. At Belcara Health, we want you to be as comfortable as possible and excited about your decision, which is why we offer a private in-person consultation with your doctor, as well as, virtual consultations to address any concerns you may have prior to surgery.

Many San Diego men and women who decide to get a tummy tuck surgery are doing so because they want to either regain their former, more contoured shape, or because they have a new commitment to their health. Therefore, one of the common questions that Dr. Kaweski receives from her tummy tuck patients is about abdominal exercises. When is it safe to resume them? And what type of exercises are best for a post-op tummy tuck patient?

Step 1: Get on Your Feet As Soon As Possible

tummy tuck is a major abdominal surgery for a San Diego patient, especially if he or she had separated abdominal muscles repaired, meaning he or she has sutures in their abdominal muscles. Dr. Kaweski recommends that the first step towards returning to exercise post tummy tuck is to get up on your feet, typically the day after your surgery. About one week out, you should be able to walk outside of your home. If you find that, during this timeframe, you are having difficulty performing these tasks, make sure to contact Dr. Kaweski’s office.

Step 2: Get Behind the Wheel

While not an exercise, the next step for San Diego tummy tuck patients’ recovery process is to get behind the wheel of their cars. Dr. Kaweski usually recommends this after about 2 weeks post-op, as long as you either are no longer taking your pain medications to avoid the side effects like drowsiness which make it difficult for you to operate heavy machinery like a car.

Step 3: Get Back to the Gym, But Take it Lightly

About 6 weeks after your tummy tuck surgery, San Diego patients can return to the gym to perform light exercises. These include calisthenics, cardio and easy weight-lifting. Just make sure you don’t overdo it. And if you experience any pain in your abdomen while performing these exercises, stop right away and avoid for several days. Then try to restart the activity.

Step 4: Get that Tummy Moving

About 3 months after your San Diego tummy tuck, you can start trying to tone your abs with exercises like sit-ups, crunches, and planks. Again, take it easy at first. If you notice an unnecessary amount of pain associated with these activities, you’ll want to stop immediately and see Dr. Kaweski at the Aesthetic Arts Institute of Plastic Surgery to determine if you are experiencing any complications from your surgery.

Remember, Everyone Is Different

The important thing for San Diego tummy tuck patients to remember is that the steps mentioned above are just recommendations. Just as every tummy tuck treatment plan is different, everyone will heal differently, and you will need to listen to your body so that you don’t push yourself too hard post-operatively. Dr. Kaweski understands that you want to augment the results of your surgery with proper diet and exercise, but it should happen in due time.

Patients that are conscientious about their body contour understand that the abdomen is harder to tone than most other parts of their body. Because of this, abdominoplasty is quickly becoming one of the most popular aesthetic procedures in plastic surgery. A tummy tuck removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen area and tightens the underlying abdominal muscle for a firm and taut tummy.

It is important to engage in an exercise regimen designed to keep abdominal fat at bay and maintain the muscle tone resulting from a tummy tuck. A question we repeatedly hear during consultations is, “When can I resume exercising?” The answer varies from patient to patient, but it is critical to get permission from the surgeon before embarking on any strenuous activity.

Here is a general outline of post-surgery activity during the recovery process and how to maintain your tummy tuck results.

Exercise for Recovery

You will need plenty of rest right after surgery and should limit activity to walking around the house for the first couple of weeks. This activity will promote circulation and reduce the risk of blood clots. Because of sutures and drainage tubes, only walk when it is comfortable to do so.

Two Weeks After Surgery

Light activity is possible when the soreness from surgery fades and gives the patient an opportunity to move again and aid in the recovery process. Dr. Waltzman may recommend walking outside the home on a flat surface at this time.

Four Weeks After Surgery

If weights are a part of the patient’s fitness routine, a moderate amount of lifting and resistance training may be acceptable. Start with light dumbbells to avoid any harm to the incision area and add weight gradually as the healing process continues.

Low impact incline walking, cycling, or aerobics are acceptable forms of light exercises. You may try using treadmills, elliptical machines, or stationary bikes for low-intensity training.

Six to Eight Weeks After Surgery

This period is a critical time during the recovery process, and caution should supersede any ambitions to start working out at pre-surgery levels. Abdominal specific exercises can be resumed at this time.  Before focusing on abdominal training, the healing process of the underlying muscles must be complete.

At this time in your recovery, exercise is more comfortable because most or all compression garments are gone. Although comfort may incite a willingness to increase your training, it is prudent to seek the advice of your surgeon to determine what is acceptable and what is not. When in doubt, ease off engaging in more strenuous training to avoid complications.

Six Months After Surgery

Your recovery should be complete at this time, so you may be ready to intensify your training. Here are some suggested abdominal exercises to keep your tummy tight and those abdominal muscles strong:


This exercise is effective for maintaining a taut tummy.  You start by lying on your back and elevating your knees up to your chest. Then, place your hands behind your head and cross your ankles. Next, contract your abdominal muscles and raise your head to your knees. Finally, this position for ten seconds and return to the starting position. Gradually work up to twenty repetitions per session.

V Crunches

This exercise is like the standard crunch but utilizes a chair. You start by sitting on the edge of the chair with a straight back, straight legs and arms to the side. Then, lean back to a 45-degree angle in a V position and gently engage your abdomen and raise your legs while keeping them straight.

Leg Lifts

Start by lying on your back with your arms at your sides. Then, lift your legs six to ten inches above the ground while engaging your tummy. Remain in this position for as long as possible before lowering your legs. Repeat as many times as possible.


Lie flat on your belly with your legs extended and your hands next to your shoulders. Then lift your body where your forearms and toes are the only parts of your body touching the ground. Keep your back and body straight, like a plank or stiff board, and hold that position for at least thirty seconds. Increase time daily.

An after surgery exercise plan is a vital part of a healthy recovery. However, it should start with caution and should be gradually increased when the healing process progresses. Because healing varies per individual, consulting with your surgeon during recovery is important to safely and effectively maintain your tummy tuck results.

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