Will I be able to lift weights with my chest muscles after breast augmentation?

If so, what can I do to workout my chest? What is off-limits? What are my risks? As a side note, I will be receiving teardrop textured implants under the muscle, as additional info.

Doctor Answers 8

Weight lifting after breast augmentation with under muscle implants is possible

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
I have to preface my remarks by stating that these are merely the recommendations that I provide to my own patients on this issue, and each person has to ask her own surgeon for his or her recommendations regarding exercise.  We all have our own techniques for doing this operation, as well as our own experience with postoperative activity.  Some surgeons recommend absolutely no resistance training for the pectoralis muscles at all after breast augmentation, while some allow it.

I think the main rule of thumb is to understand what has been done during the surgery and what the rationale is for the postoperative recommendations based upon that.  When implants are placed under the pectoralis muscles, those muscles are not completely disrupted, and they can still function.  There is still quite a bit of functional attachment left along the sternum as well as along the entire upper border by the collarbone.  I typically release not only the lower border of the muscle to allow it to be lifted and an implant inserted beneath, but I also release the fibers along the sternum, not completely, so as to prevent symmatia ("uniboob"), but enough to weaken that part of the muscle so that it doesn't push on and distort the implant so much.  The problem with allowing too much activity of the muscle on the implant is that over time it can push downward and outward on the implant and theoretically stretch the capsule and force the implant in that direction.  In reality, I have seen this happen very infrequently when reasonable activity levels are observed.  In addition, I believe that textured implants are more likely to resist this type of force than smooth ones.  I tell my patients to go ahead and train their pecs for tone and to maintain balanced strength around the shoulder girdle, but once they have implants in they should no longer train their pecs for hypertrophy, or overdevelopment in both size and strength, like the bodybuilders.  Those girls are the one population that I almost always just recommend implants above the muscle.  If you need to preserve the full form and function of your muscle, that is the only way to do so.  If you decide your priority is to have beautiful breasts with implants under the muscle, there is a small trade-off that has to be made.  But, as I said, it's a small trade-off.  I don't think it's good to totally avoid pec exercises just because you have implants, especially if you train the other muscles around your shoulders.  You need to balance the forces around that joint to avoid problems with the joint function down the line.  Having said that, I think a few sets of modest bench press or push-ups per week is just fine for most women with implants.  I am also a big fan of dumbbell flyes on a bench, and they don't have to be with heavy weight at all.  In fact, lighter weights and allowing a short pause for full stretch at the end of the range of motion when the arms are outstretched is a really good way to keep the pecs elongated, which in turn keeps the capsule supple and prevents the pecs from becoming shortened and contracted.  I have many, many patients who are competitive bodybuilders, figure and bikini competitors (some have even posted reviews on my profile here, and you could reach out to them and ask them about their experience with workouts and implants), fitness trainers, yogi's, and other competitive and non-competitive athletes, and I have used these guidelines for years without any issues.  But, again, I think it's always best to check with your own surgeon first before introducing any activity or exercise after breast augmentation, as our experiences do differ, and that guides our recommendations.  Good luck.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Workouts after surgery

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thank you for the question. I advise my BA patients to avoid heavy lifting and upper body workouts for 6 weeks post op. At that point they can begin to resume previous workouts but I recommend that they start at about 25% and slowly increase as comfortable. Your Plastic Surgeon will likely have their own preferred protocols for post op activity restrictions so I advise that you ask them about your specific case.

All the best

Weight Lifting after Breast Augmentation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Once you have recovered from your surgery at 6 weeks you should be able to lift weights and exercise your pectoral muscles in moderation when using anatomically shaped textured implants. If you want to be on the safe side you can minimize those exercises for the first 6 months. I do also recommend to my patients to wear a good sports bra such as the new VS bra while working out. With smooth round implants you could end up over time displacing the implants downward and outward. Seek your surgeons advice.

Good Luck! 

Yes, but implant will cause distortion of muscle appearance with each move.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Personally, I do not recommend submuscular implants in women who lift weights. Muscle contractions cause weird implant distortions which gets squished between muscle and rib cage.  Strong muscle eventually causes implant displacement into armpits. In my opinion it is not good.    

Vasdev Rai, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Weightlifting and other activities after Breast Augmentation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
This is a good question for physically active women. You should be able to lift weights and return to your normal physical activities after breast augmentation surgery. However, you should wait at least 6 weeks (if you have a normal recovery with no complications). The first weeks are crucial for healing, and to prevent any problems, avoid lifting anything over 10 pounds and limit your movements of your arms over your head for the first few weeks. I have had several patients from body builders to women who simply lead active physical lifestyles, and they have all been able to return to their normal activities. Good luck with your upcoming surgery!

Lifting Weights Post-Op Breast Augmentation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
While each board-certified plastic surgeon has their own post-op recovery recommendations, during my nearly 30 years of experience, I tell my patients that on average they will recover 6 weeks after their breast augmentation. At 2 to 3 weeks you can resume isolated low weight/ high repetition maneuvers like working biceps/triceps curls and hamstrings/quad repetitions Considering that you are concerned with your training, your recovery may be longer than 6 weeks depending on the intensity of your workout. It is best to start your program back up slowly and then gradually increase severity as tolerated. Be sure to discuss your recovery post-op with your board-certified surgeon for a personalized recommendation.

Jay Burns, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Breast Augmentation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Recovery time will vary from person to person and what your daily activity involves. We tell our patients recovery time is average 7 days for office job or light activities. It may take 2-6weeks for more strenuous activities. Scars begin to fade after ~6weeks, but can take 6-12 months for complete healing.

Kevin Dieffenbach, MD
Oahu Island Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Weight Lifting After Breast Augmentation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Thank you very much for your question.

Every surgeon has their own postoperative preferences and protocols.  I wouldn't want to recommend something that is contrary to your surgeon's wishes.  Best to contact their office and ask about their wishes for you postoperatively.  Best of luck!

Daniel Krochmal, MD
Chicago General Surgeon

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.