Two of the most common questions I hear from women concerning their breast augmentation are, “How long do I have to wait after my breast augmentation to start working out again?” and, “What exercises should I avoid with breast implants?”
The "when can I exercise?" question is the easiest one to answer. Some surgeons will have different recommendations depending who you ask. Your own surgeon will give you their specific answer to this (as it totally depends on your unique surgery). Either way, you don't want to risk early post-op complications by over use of your chest muscles before they’ve had time to heal properly.
You'll start to get back into exercise gradually after your hiatus from the gym and you'll need to... take it easy. Nothing high-impact in those early weeks. It's all about finding temporary alternatives. Think: yoga and pilates instead of sprinting and lifting weights.
And the rest...
If exercise is 'who you are' be sure to tell your surgeon before you head in to surgery what your exercise routine is and that it’s important to you to stay fit. This is so they can select the right breast implant location and the right surgery to suit your lifestyle after surgery.
Your surgeon may even outline certain exercises to limit or discontinue all together once you're completely healed. (like lifting super heavy with chest exercises).
What to Avoid
You'll be steering clear of strenuous, high impact activity for about 4 weeks but after that you can totally get your gym freak on! But... you'll have to stay away from ANY chest work for at least 6 weeks.
After that, if you have implants placed under the muscle you can expect to TOTALLY banish heavy dedicated chest (isolation) exercises from your routine.
To protect your investment.
Exercises that involve the pectoral (chest) muscle will push the implant sitting behind it out to the sides. This is known as 'flex distortion' or 'animation deformity'.
Over time, repeated chest flexing through exercise can stretch out the pocket your implant sits inside, causing your implants to displace too far to the side. Growing your chest wall muscles under the implant could cause them to shift too.
This is why many bodybuilding women who choose to get implants opt for placement over the chest muscle. Implants over the muscle aren't immune though! Growing your chest wall muscles under the implant could cause them to look different too.
You should be avoiding any chest wall exercises until your breast implants have had a full 6 - 8 weeks to recover.
In the longer-term, women with implants under the muscle will need to take a reasonably wide berth around compound chest exercises.
Compound chest exercises like: bench press, overhead press, push-ups and deadlift.
As a general rule... if it hurts or feels uncomfortable, STOP! Listen to your body and not to over do it on the amount of resistance you use on chest exercises. You need to avoid straining the muscles that are now supporting your implants.
Remember, NO upper body work for at least 6 weeks after surgery unless given the OK from your surgeon. After that, you need to support your girls with a snug-fitting sports bra whatever exercise you do.
An active lifestyle is totally compatible with breast implants.
While there are certain activities to limit during the recovery phase, there are also exercises to limit or discontinue all together once completely healed. Sometimes it's about adjusting, or even skipping certain exercises.
Be sure to ask your surgeon their advice around exercise after surgery so that it's tailored to you.
Wait until you are fully recovered and cleared by your surgeon before starting any activity and... buy a super-supportive sports bra! Any post-op advice (short or long-term) is all in the name of... protecting your investment.