Tummy Tuck Post Op
You’ve had your tummy tuck procedure. Now you have some recovery ahead, but you don’t want to jump into an exercise routine too soon because of the complications that could arise.
I’ve mapped out a four-phase program to help you maintain your results and safely return to exercise once you’re cleared to do so. And don’t worry if you don’t know how to do the exercises. I’ve included information at the end of this article on how to access instructional videos.
Phase 1: Move (a little) and Learn to Take a Stand
Dr. Pollard will most likely advise you to rest for the first 48 hours after a tummy tuck.
After that 48-hour period you’ll want to work on a basic but important skill: how to stand up. You’ll need to practice going from lying in bed to a standing position. This easy pre-surgery activity will definitely be challenging for you post-surgery even if you previously had a lot of core strength.
Remember – your abdominal muscles have been stitched and will need to heal and strengthen before you’re able to sit up and jump out of bed, so take your time and master this skill.
Movement is also important during this period. Don’t stay sedentary! Start small once you’re cleared, by walking around one floor of your home. After about a week take short, slow walks of no more than one block. Gradually increase your distance as your endurance improves but stay close to home because fatigue can set in much faster than you think.
Phase 2: LISS
About six weeks in, you’ll probably be cleared for Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) Cardio. The key words here are “low intensity”. Even if you did intense exercise before your surgery, you’ll want to avoid the temptation to jump right back into your previous routine. You should barely break a sweat during your LISS sessions (unless you’re in hot and humid conditions).
Appropriate activities would be 30 to 60 minutes of brisk walking, a low intensity dance class, or your favorite cardio machine. Just keep the intensity and the impact low.
Phase 3: Brace Yourself
At the 8-week point you can start to practice the fundamentals of core strengthening. These exercises may seem simple, but they’ll be your foundation for doing more challenging exercises in the weeks to come.
Start with Abdominal Bracing and Leg Slides. These exercises will help you “find your abs”. This is important because, as you start to do more activity and perhaps more intense workouts, you’ll need to make sure you can use your abs to protect your spine as you move. After all, not only are injuries painful and frustrating but they also mean missed time from doing things that are good for your body, like working out.
After a few weeks of Bracing and Leg Slides you should be able to move on to Pallof Presses and Half Roll Backs.
Phase 4: Strong to the Core
At around 16 weeks (everyone is different, so check with Dr. Pollard) you’ll most likely be ready to start doing some more intense ab exercises that will strengthen your abs further and really help you maintain your investment.
The exercises in this phase should challenge your core stability and take your core through a variety of movements like bending and rotation. Practice Hollow Holds, Side Planks, and Slow Bicycles during this phase.
A tummy tuck is only one of the steps to help you build the body you want, but in order to maintain your results you’ll have to do some work.
If you’re serious about maintaining your results and maximizing your investment in yourself, click here to get access to a tutorial on the exercises in this article.