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After Tummy Tuck: The Exercises That Support Your Recovery

Congratulations! You’ve completed tummy tuck surgery, and you can’t wait to look and feel better than ever.

And yes, with time and patience, you will get there. Just like before and during your surgery, your biggest ally afterward is your HKB doctor. No two patients respond to surgery in precisely the same way, and rushing the process can set you back.

For the next several weeks, you’ll make up for your body’s lack of strength with willpower. However, instead of pushing past pain, like in your pre-tummy tuck cardio or weight sessions, you’ll use it as an indicator to slow down and back-off.

The following three activities may not look like exercises, but considering you’ve just come out of surgery, they’re likely what’s best:

Week 1: Tummy Tuck Recovery Workout: Patience, and a Few Steps

Patience? That’s not a workout! At this stage in your recovery, however, it’s the best thing. And it’s not always easy. Even if you don’t feel sore, your body needs to rest.

As soon as immediately after surgery, your doctor may want you to do some light movement, like standing or walking a few steps to get the blood flowing. During the first week, a progression from walking a few steps to walking across the room may be considered a win.

And of course, you’ll probably want to do more, and that’s where the willpower comes in. You need the patience to hold back. Plan to have a spouse or friend with you when you attempt these first maneuvers. Not to mention, you’ll need some help around the house with things like child care and anything that involves bending or lifting.

Week 2: Tummy Tuck Recovery Workout: Short Walks

At this point, you’ll start feeling a little stronger, but be careful. Maintaining patience remains part of your challenge. If you overdo your walks or attempt a jog, you risk causing damage and slowing your recovery.

Instead, consider a slower build. Last week, a walk across the room was a good goal, this week, maybe a stroll down the hall can grow, over a few days, to a walk to the mailbox. Although these milestones may not impress your friends, given time, your flat and properly healed tummy will do that.

And around the house, continue to seek and accept help. This may even be an ideal time to train a spouse or a child to do a few more chores, as long as it doesn’t involve you bending over or lifting anything. And, once they know what they’re doing, they’ll never have an excuse not to do it again!

Weeks 3-4: Tummy Tuck Recovery Workout: Longer Walks, Light Weights

You’re feeling better, so why not bust out a 5k run? Definitely not yet! You can, however, continue to build on your previous week’s progress and incorporate new muscle groups.

At this stage, you can SLOWLY increase the speed and distance of your walks. Don’t, however, compare what you’re doing now versus your pre-surgery cardio. You’re not looking to find the point where you have to stop.

You can also consider light weights that work areas other than your belly, like your arms. Keep in mind, almost all weight lifting uses a little bit of your core, so start light and use pain as your guide.

As for work around the house or beyond, at this stage, you’re still not 100% ready to do a marathon house cleaning session or a surprise day at the office. You’ll again need your willpower to let others do otherwise easy things for you. Really, it’s OK. You’re almost there.

Week 5 and Beyond: Business as Usual (or Better)

With your doctor’s permission, you may be able to resume your regular workouts and life as usual. Again, everyone’s body is different, so don’t assume any lingering soreness means you’ve failed. Your body may simply need more time.

Even if you feel great, try to ease (not jump) back into any of your intense pre-surgery workouts. Remember, your previous routines were likely based on having a belly and wanting it gone. Good news, with the tummy tuck, you’ve accomplished that. Actual core strengthening exercises like leg lifts, planks, or Yoga can be introduced but again, start small and build.

When you chose a tummy tuck, you made a significant decision to improve yourself. Take a look at your pre-surgery photos. That person is gone, and, with a robust recovery, the new one will feel better than ever!

More Questions?

If you have more questions about the tummy tuck procedure and recovery exercises, feel free to contact a staff member at or schedule a consultation at H/K/B Plastic Surgery. We’re here to help.