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Exercise After Tummy Tuck Surgery

How long after tummy tuck do I have to wait before I can start doing strenuous exercises (such as sit ups, crunches, weight lifting)?

Doctor Answers 76

Exercise gradually and have a plan

Few wish to sit still after abdominoplasty. Once the soreness passes, usually about two weeks, we have our patients begin walking on a level surface. Even this activity will help you feel better. I like to gradually start low impact aerobic activity at four to six weeks, and keep in mind, there may be a delay if the tummy tuck involves repair of the muscle, or a hernia was present. It makes little sense to "test" the sutures or repair and brisk walking is best until the tissue has healed in six to eight weeks. There is no way to heal faster, though overactivity will produce sorness, swelling, and could loosen the repair.

Your plan for return to activity includes a period of break in, return to aerobic fitness, then strengthening and sharpening.

  • week two to three - walk
  • week four to six, (or eight) - low impact areobics, recumbent bike, upright bike, incline walking
  • week six (or eight) to ? - full areobic activity, cardio, run, treadmill, stair stepper, spin, swim
  • week ? (12-18) - strengthening, add high intensity activity, weights, resistance exercise

I think it will be wise to consider stregthening after three months, and this includes the situps on your list. I suggest you keep a daily schedule plan to keep you on track and reduce the risk of injury and frustration. Weights come last, but think of all the fun you'll have reaching your goal.

Best of luck,


Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Exercise is comfortable 8 weeks after Tummy Tuck

Hi there,

Because of the timeline of human wound healing, I don't let my patients try exercising for 6 weeks after this type of surgery. Human wounds reach about 90% of their eventual strength at 6 weeks, and this increase in strength is not linear (so at 5 weeks, your wound is NOT 5/6 of the way there, but much less).

When you do start to try exercising at 6 weeks, you will probably experience some discomfort and limitation, so that you probably shouldn't expect to really breaking a sweat for another 2-3 weeks. I hope that helps.

Wound healing is a slow process!

Wound healing is a slow process! It will take at least one year for the tissues to reach maximal healing strength. Maximal healing strength is never as strong as unoperated tissue strength. The tissue will reach about 74% strength at 6 months and 50-60% strength in 2 months. I tell my patients to wait three weeks before walking, or riding a bicycle; Two months for all exercise except crunches, and 6 months for crunches.

Robert M. Freund, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Usually 6 weeks or so

A tummy tuck usually includes tightening of the muscles (plication of the rectus abdominus muscles with sutures). Because of this, I tell my patients to hold off of strenuous exercise for 6 weeks to allow the tissues to heal so that the tightening of the muscles is not dependent on the sutures anymore. That being said, I allow my patients to do aerobic type activity in 3-4 weeks after a tummy tuck, and increase activity as tolerated after that.

Leonard Lu, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Exercise after Tummy Tuck at 6-8 weeks

I have my patients take it easy for the first 2-3 weeks after a tummy tuck, and then allow them to do non-impact cardio (elliptical, bicycle). After 6-8 weeks, all restrictions are off, but I encourage them to slowly ramp up to their regular regime. The reasoning behind this is that enough healing has occurred after 2-3 weeks that we are very unlikely to develop seromas or hematomas, but the muscular repair in the midline is not strong enough to be challenged until almost 2 months after surgery.

Exercise after tummy tuck

Most surgeries require 6 weeks before you start strenuous exercise. I would, however, wait longer for sit-ups after a tummy tuck. Each surgeon has their own routine and I would ask your surgeon what their specific guidelines are.

You can start light exercise typically after about 3 weeks which involves walking and light upper body work and then slowly work up to the 6 weeks when you can stress your body more. Remeber - always listen to your body and if something hurts or does not feel right, don't push through it. Stop and let your body recover.

Ask your surgeon, but usually a few weeks

I would ask your surgeon what his usual plan is for his patients after surgery, but I usually have patients wait 6 weeks until they resume heavy, strenuous activity.

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

You would have to wait at least 6 weeks before you can do sit-ups and crunches.

It is extremely important to get complete rest in the first two weeks following surgery.  I usually see my patient weekly during the first three weeks and if there is no evidence of delayed wound healing they may return to office work at that time.    Final healing occurs at 6 weeks and no heavy lifting should be done prior to that time.  As for improving core strength I recommend starting with planks instead to situps/crunches.

Excersize after a Tummy Tuck...

A tummy tuck can provide an excellent result if the post operative instructions are carefully followed. It is important that you slowly ease into any kind of exercise after this procedure. It is recommended waiting at least two weeks before doing anything other than walking around. After that point it is OK to do some easy weights or light exercise bike.  After four weeks, you can slowly work your way up to an easy jog and in about 6 weeks, more regular exercise can be done.  A main rule of thumb is don't do it if it hurts or causes swelling.  Make sure you consult with your Plastic surgeon before any type of exercise after tummy tuck.

Exercise after tummy tuck

Clearly you need time for the muscles to heal together and this takes a minimum of 6 weeks.

There is great variation in the opinions of when it is best for you to resume exercise and so I would defer to your operating surgeon who will have the best knowledge of your anatomy (i.e., how far apart) and repair (i.e., how tight?) after surgery.

However, the correct exercise if done properly can not only reinforce but enhance the repair as well. Please ask your surgeon for guidance. However, I highly recommend core strenghtening exercises as advocated by Pilates and Yoga instructors; NOT the crunches as advised by body builders.

In most instances, my general rule is that you are allowed miles per hour on a treadmill that is equal to the number of weeks after surgery. For example at 1 week, 1 mile/hr; at 2 weeks, 2 miles/hr; at 3 weeks, 3miles/hr, etc.

This is a rough guideline and of course, you should consult with your surgeon first.

I hope this helps.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.