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 95

Exercise gradually and have a plan

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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 44 reviews

Exercise after Tummy Tuck at 6-8 weeks

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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 Surgery

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You will find as many answers to this question as there are
surgeons.In general there are conservative
surgeons who will suggest restricting exercise and on the other side there are
those that will encourage it.The new
sports medicine and orthopedic surgery protocols, however, have definitively
shown that motion promotes healing, decreases pain, reduces postoperative
complications and makes you feel better, all of which contribute to less down

I use a rapid recovery protocol and with this we have you up
and out of the house at about 24 hours.We also recommend low impact exercise starting at a week.I generally only restrict things like
crunches and really heavy lifting for about 6 weeks.

I hope that helps.

Best regards.

Brian Windle, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Wound healing is a slow process!

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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
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Exercise after tummy tuck

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Thank you for your question.  My guidelines following tummy tuck, while they may vary somewhat between patients, are as follows:

1 week - Walk as tolerated for the first week, keep slightly bent over at the waist.  Off of work, usually return at 7-10 days post-op for non-strenuous job.  Drains usually out at 7 days.

2 weeks - Return to majority of pre-op daily routine.  May begin light cardio at gym.

4 weeks - Unlimited cardio as tolerated if healing normally.  Still no abdominal exercises or heavy lifting.

6 weeks -  May return to all exercise activities, including weights and abs.

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

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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.

Usually 6 weeks or so

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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 28 reviews

Exercise is comfortable 8 weeks after Tummy Tuck

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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.

Ask your surgeon, but usually a few weeks

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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
4.9 out of 5 stars 155 reviews

Exercise after tummy tuck

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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.

Bahram Ghaderi, MD
Chicago Plastic 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.