Exercise After Breast Augmentation Surgery

Published: June 29, 2021
Category: Breast Augmentation

Exercise is essential to overall health and wellness, but it can also play a key role in healing and recovery if introduced slowly and steadily after surgery. Although Breast Augmentation Surgery can give patients a major boost to their self-confidence, it’s important to not rush back to strenuous activity or the gym too early to celebrate your new body. Depending on your level of fitness and conditioning before your Breast Augmentation, your surgeon will advise you on when and how to integrate the activities you love back into your life.

“I am an avid runner, so I completely understand wanting to return to the gym and working out as soon as possible after surgery,” says Dr. Christine Stewart, a board-certified plastic surgeon with Edina Plastic Surgery. “However, if exercise is introduced too quickly after surgery, you may be doing more harm than good and could even jeopardize your results. You must follow the post-care instructions that outline your exercise and physical limitations after your Breast Augmentation for a healthy recovery and best results.”

Breast Augmentation and Exercise

The Risks of Exercising Too Early After Your Breast Augmentation Surgery

“The main area of concern your surgeon has with exercising too early after Breast Augmentation Surgery is using the pectoral, or chest muscles, too intensely before healing is complete,” explains Dr. Stewart. “I can’t stress enough the importance of following your post-care guidelines on physical activity and movement restrictions,” she continues. “A lot of patients wish to know why we have these restrictions after surgery. With subpectoral breast augmentation, a portion of the pectoralis major muscle’s insertion is divided in order to get the implant up underneath the muscle. In most women, this will not affect them from a strength standpoint, but that muscle will contract in a slightly different vector, which can end up pushing the implant down and out, affecting the cosmetic result of your surgery. Because of this, it is important not to exert this muscle until there is a normally formed capsule around the implant, which will keep it in place. This normally forms around 4-6 weeks after surgery. Doing high exertion activities too soon after surgery can also cause bleeding or a fluid collection to form. This will require another surgery to wash out the blood or fluid and can increase your risk for capsular contracture, or hard scar tissue that can form around the implant, in the future.”

Key Activities to Avoid After Breast Augmentation Surgery 

  • Pull or pushing heavy objects, including lifting children, and moving things around the house
  • Lifting anything more than 10 pounds 
  • Yoga, Pilates, and stretching movements that open your chest or involve pushing and pulling with your chest muscles
  • Strenuous use of arm attachments on popular gym equipment like elliptical trainers or rowing machines
  • Push-ups and pull-ups until your surgeon advises that they are ok
  • Bench press and upper body weight lifting until your surgeon advises that these are ok
  • Playing golf, tennis, or any sports with a heavy emphasis on upper body movement

avoid activities

WEEK 1 – Rest is Best

“Your main focus the first week after your Breast Augmentation should be 100% on RESTING,” stresses Dr. Stewart. “It is still important to walk around your house to prevent blood clots, but strenuous activities should be avoided and you should not be the primary childcare provider for this first week. A breast augmentation is also an investment in time for yourself to heal, so make sure that prior to surgery you arrange the support you need so that you can give yourself that time.”

AFTER 1-2 WEEKS – Put On Your Walking Shoes

Most patients are ready to lace up their walking shoes after the first week and reintroduce some light walking for cardio. Low intensity cardio can also include stationary bicycling, but avoid high intensity spin classes. Plan your exercise for cooler times of the day, like the early morning or evening, to avoid sweating around your incisions and over-exertion.

WEEKS 2-4 – Gentle Cardio Continues

“Weeks two to four can be a danger zone because patients feel over-confident with how well they feel and end up pushing their limits too much,” warns Dr. Stewart. “Remember that your recovery is the most important thing at this point to ensure the best outcome after surgery, so keep activities gentle and prioritize low impact aerobic exercise, no weight lifting, and keep your intensity at about half of your normal exertion.”

WEEKS 4-6 – Resume Strength Training with Your Surgeon’s Permission

Around four weeks after Breast Augmentation Surgery, your surgeon will want to see you again for another checkup to observe your progress and decide if it is safe to add weight lifting back into your exercise regimen. She will most likely still advise you to avoid specific exercises like chest flies, bench press, shoulder press, and push-ups, all of which work the pectoral muscles. However, lower body weight training and arm workouts may be allowed.  Activities that involve running and jumping can be reintroduced at this time, as long as a supportive bra is being worn. Front zip sports bras work well for this. It is always important to ease back into any activities that you were doing to avoid injury.

AFTER 6 WEEKS – Return to Regular Workouts

“Six to eight weeks after Breast Augmentation Surgery tends to be that golden interval of time during which most patients feel good enough to return to normal exercise, and their surgeon feels confident enough about their recovery for them to do so,” says Dr. Stewart. “Athletes and patients who were at an advanced level of physical conditioning before surgery will tend to recover sooner, but they are also the demographic that may try to push their limits too early. Remember, everyone’s healing process and recovery will be different. Be patient and be kind to your body at this time.”

Breast Augmentation and Exercise


“It’s important to listen to your surgeon AND your body before assuming it is ready to safely do everything it did before your surgery, especially at the gym,” says Dr. Stewart. “A patient who was a competitive swimmer in college and is now a coach is going to heal differently than a patient with a minimally active lifestyle who works at a computer all day. You are unique, and your recovery after Breast Augmentation Surgery will be so as well. Your surgeon will be at your side every step of the way to make sure you are set up for success before and after your surgery to ensure beautiful outcomes!”

Schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss Breast Augmentation Surgery with an Edina Plastic Surgery board-certified plastic surgeon by calling (612) 688-3177 or CLICK HERE to get started!


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