Some of my breast augmentation patients are fitness fanatics, and they share a common question.  “Dr. Kim, when can I start lifting weights again after my breast augmentation surgery?”

Define “Weightlifting”!

If you are a weight lifter that is entering fitness competitions, or if you clean, jerk, and own weight lifting gloves, you should brace yourself for a 2-4 week break after breast augmentation.  Maybe try some walking or yoga instead.

Breast implants are muscle adjacent, so long as they’re on your chest.  Working those muscles before you heal, will have a negative impact on your overall shape and placement.

If you are talking about lifting lighter weights 1-3 times per week, with cardio, yoga, and walking mixed in, then your down time may be a little shorter, typically 2-3 weeks after your breast augmentation.

Breast Implant Position-  Above or Below the Muscle

Most breast implants are placed UNDER the muscle, to achieve more tissue over the breast implant.  This also means that any compression or use of the pectoralis muscle will squeeze the implant.  This muscle compression is OK for women who do more cardio, yoga, and endurance sports.  However, it is only ok for light weight lifting.

For women in fitness or bikini competitions, who lift heavy weights, or love Crossfit, usually the breast implants are placed ABOVE the muscle.  This results in less muscle/implant interference.

Lifting heavier weights or more frequent weight lifting should  still be avoided for a longer period of time, however, even with above muscle placement.  The swelling of the breast tissue over the breast implant should first subside, before starting up weight lifting again.  Breast augmentation is surgery; so be cautious and smart about recovery.

When to Return to Lifting Weights

Wait for your plastic surgeon to examine you and give you the “green light” to resume weight lifting after your operation.

Once you get back in the gym, it will take some time to get back to the maximum weights that you can lift.  Be patient.  Your pectoralis muscles were “stretched” during the placement of your breast implants, so it will take weeks to months before you can get back to your pre-surgery personal bests, in terms of weight lifted, and repetitions.

As always, discuss your exercise regimen with your surgeon, rather than Dr. Google, Bing, and Yahoo.  They’re quacks with whom you have no patient-physician relationship.

I hope this answers your general questions about weight lifting after breast augmentation surgery.  If you have more questions for me, or want to set up a consultation, please call me at 415 362 1846 or email me at info@drkim.com.  I look forward to meeting you in person!


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