When is It Safe to Do an Abdominal Fitness Test After a Tummy Tuck?

I'm military and just had a tummy tuck in May to repair my muscles after having 5 children. I will need to take and pass a physical fitness test that includes doing a minimum of 38 sit ups in a minute in order to keep my job. How soon can I start training for the abdominal portion of the test? How soon will my body be healed enough to perform at that level? As it stands, I have until early September to take the test.

Doctor Answers 5

Sits up at 6 weeks

I do a fair number of TTs on  Air Force personnel. I generally let them start with sit ups at 6 -8 weeks depending on how they are healing. Start slowly. Also consider getting a letter from your surgeon to take to primary care to get a profile for that portion of the test. Pushups and running should be ok! Good luck!

Vacaville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Military physical fitness testing after tummy tuck

As a military plastic surgeon about to leave the service, this is what I have always instructed my active duty patients after an abdominoplasty:

Start to run at four weeks.  Start doing pushups and sit-ups at six weeks.  Make sure to start slow and progress up over a period of another six weeks in order not to hurt yourself an set yourself back.  You should do everything at your own pace and avoid exercising in formation or a group until you have returned to baseline.  For most people --who were fit to start-- it takes around three or four months from the time of their tummy tuck before being able to participate and pass a military fitness test.

If you have a civilian plastic surgeon, make sure they understand what your test and normal exercise routine consists of so they can write you an appropriate note to get the profile you need.  The typical "your back doing your normal workout in six weeks" does not apply to you.  Most people don't have standards to meet and an NCO hovering over them.

Adam Hamawy, MD
Princeton Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Sit-Ups after Tummy Tuck

I see a lot of military patients being in San Antonio and usually  will recommend 3 months of no sit ups after a Tummy Tuck surgery.  However, it is best to consult with your plastic surgeon.

Robert N. Young, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Returning to Exercise After a Tummy tuck......

I agree. For my Tummy Tuck patients,  I usually recommend beginning a light workout at 6 weeks. Then at 8 weeks I recommend progressing back to your normal workout.  

Daniel P. Markmann, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 114 reviews

Tummy Tucks and Sit-Ups

Dear Military Mom:

(Video and Link provided by clicking "more" below.) Every persons recovery is different, this is why there are follow-up appointments. The best person to ask this question is the plastic surgeon who did the repair. That being said, most of my patients have all restrictions lifted at six weeks after surgery.

This number comes not from tummy tuck repairs but studies done after hernia repair. Hernia repairs use the same tissue; however, if there was a hernia, there was a bigger problem than that treated with a tummy tuck. The studies show hernias are more likely to recur if manual labor is restarted sooner than six weeks after the hernia repair.

In general, 6 weeks after a tummy tuck, sit-ups should be safe, but do check with your plastic surgeon. The strength of your repair may influence the advice.

Joseph Mele, MD
Walnut Creek Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 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.