Guide to Exercise after Tummy Tuck – Abdominoplasty

Regular exercise contributes to your health and a fulfilling lifestyle. However, jumping straight back into your exercise routine after a tummy tuck surgery can do more harm than good. It is normal to want to feel better and make your body & tummy look even more sculpted but there is always a right time for everything including exercise. Jumping into the exercise a little too quickly can make your recovery more difficult. 

Sydney Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Scott Turner is a tummy tuck expert – here are his best tips post Tummy Tuck.

Tummy Tuck Pre-Surgery preparation Tummy Exercises 

Many people are concerned about exercising post the tummy surgery but nobody talks about working out before getting abdominoplasty. It is best to strengthen your core and work on toning your ab muscles a few months before the surgery. It is important to have a good muscle tonus. Both these elements will help you recover faster after the surgery. 

Timeline for returning to Exercise after Tummy Tuck

The question is: When should I start exercising again? 

In this article, we will outline the right way to get back to your exercise routine and how your recovery period will look like post-surgery. But before that, let’s look at what to do pre-surgery:

1 – 2 Weeks after Tummy Tuck 

During the first two weeks, aim at walking lightly around the house for about ten minutes. Rest as much as possible during the recovery phase. This little bit of exercise will get the blood flow going and prevent blood clots. It is best to get someone to help you around the house and rest as much as possible for the first two weeks. 

3 Weeks Post Surgery

Most of the swelling will fade away two weeks after the surgery. At this point, you can start walking twice a day for fifteen to twenty minutes. Do not opt for any other exercises as your body is still in the initial phases of recovery. 

4 Weeks Post Surgery

You can increase the duration of your walks after the four weeks marker. It is important to listen to your body and work out accordingly. You can also start doing lower body exercises by this point. Avoid any exercise that engages your abdominal muscles. 

6-8 Weeks Post Surgery

You can slowly ease back to your exercise routine. When it comes to abdominal exercises, you will have to wait for a minimum of eight to twelve weeks after the surgery. Your muscles around the abdomen will be 90% healed by this period. It is still best to avoid specific exercises that target your stomach. Cardio and lower body workouts are the best 6 weeks post op tummy tuck exercises. You can also start lifting light weights. 

8 to 12 Weeks Post Surgery 

You will begin to feel like yourself at this point. You can resume abdominal exercises after getting approval from Dr Turner. Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you feel like taking a break after ten minutes of working out, do so. If you feel excessive pain in your stomach, stop working out immediately. 

Best Exercise Ideas after a Tummy Tuck and Tips To Flatten Your Stomach 

Once you are fully healed from the tummy tuck surgery and get your surgeon’s approval, you can start exercising. Keep in mind that it is important to wait for the right time when it comes to exercising after a tummy tuck.

Let’s have a basic discussion on the muscle groups which impact the appearance of your stomach; rectus abdominis, internal oblique, external oblique, and transversus abdominis. Working on these muscles will give your stomach a toned and tight look. Initially, you can do three to four different types of core exercises that target these muscles. You can do three sets with 10 to 12 repetitions. You don’t have to do all four exercises in one go. If you need a break in between sets, do so. Let me list down a few examples:

1. Traditional Crunch 

Nothing is as effective as your basic crunch. It requires minimal movement and leaves very little room for error when it comes to the form. Go for a controlled and slow movement for maximum impact. Use a good quality yoga mat to add comfort. Look at the ceiling and avoid tucking your chin into the chest. Keep your hands behind your head and avoid pulling on the neck. You can do different variations:

  • Add a twist to the crunch by alternating lifting shoulders. It will work on your oblique muscles as well. 
  • You can also do a v-crunch by sitting on the chair. Make sure to keep your back straight, lean at a 45-degree angle, contract your abdomen and raise your legs. Try keeping your lower body straight for maximum impact. 

2. Leg Lifts 

Another amazing exercise you can try to enhance the look of your stomach is doing leg lifts on the floor. Simply lie on the floor with your back straight. Keep your arms at your sides. Lift your legs a few inches of the floor. Make sure to tighten your abdominal muscles while doing so. Lower your legs slowly to the ground. Repeat it at least ten times. 

3. Plank 

Plank not only tones your abdomen but your entire body. Place your hands under your shoulders in a push-up position and hold this pose for at least a minute. Keep your body in a straight line and avoid lowering your hips. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to five minutes depending on your fitness level. Do not push yourself too hard. 

4. Stability Exercises

All the stability ball exercises engage multiple muscle groups at the same time. Try to stay stable while you are doing ab tightening exercises. 

5. Other Ways

Ab exercises are not the only way to strengthen and tone your ab muscles. You can also do exercises such as side balance crunch, sliding pike, knee fold tucks, oblique reach, Pilates, and yoga. 

Other Things to Consider after a Tummy Tuck

Here are a few of the other things you need to consider post tummy tuck surgery: 

Daily Activities

You need to modify your day to day activities. Avoid lifting heavy objects. Do not push or pull objects that weigh more than five to 10 pounds for at least six weeks. Lifting any kind of heavyweight can put unnecessary pressure on your incisions. Make sure you take enough time off from work. It will allow you to rest and recover properly before diving back into work life. Dr Turner will tell you how much time you need to take off from work based on the type of abdominoplasty you get. It typically varies between 2 to 4 weeks. During this time, you can ease into a normal routine and give your body its due time to heal.


The way you sleep is of critical importance during recovery. Sleep on your back with a couple of pillows propped under your head and knees for optimal comfort. Do not sleep on your side for at least the first four to six weeks. Sleeping on your back will not only minimize pain, discomfort but also reduce the risk of scarring. 


It is important to eat light yet nutritious meals after the surgery. If you experience constipation, don’t hesitate to take a stool softener after discussing it with your surgeon. Include a lot of fruit, vegetables, other fibre rich foods and proteins for optimal healing. Keep following a healthy and balanced diet plan after the surgery to maintain your weight and stunning results. 

Be Patient

Hang in there and don’t lose your patience. Allow your body to heal at its own pace. Make sure to stick to all the pre and post care instructions regarding lifestyle and exercise to ensure a smooth recovery.

Exercising after Tummy Tuck FAQS

How soon can you work out after tummy tuck?

  • You can slowly go back to your normal exercise routine about 7 to 10 weeks after the tummy tuck surgery – following your surgeon’s advice. 

How much can I walk after a tummy tuck?

  • Here is a brief guide to walking:
    • During the first week, aim at walking ten to fifteen minutes every couple of hours. 
    • By week two, you can do ten to fifteen minute walks. 
    • By week three and four, you can walk for up to forty-five minutes to an hour. Do not push yourself too hard. 

Can I do squats after a tummy tuck?

  • You can do squats four to eight weeks after the surgery along with any other lower body exercises. 

How do I get my stomach flat after a tummy tuck?

  • Here is how you can keep your stomach flat after getting a tummy tuck:
    • Make sure to include lots of protein in your diet post-surgery. 
    • Drink lots of water and keep yourself well hydrated. 
    • Do not go on highly restrictive diets. Feed yourself properly. 
    • Follow all the instructions given by Dr Turner 

Why is my stomach still big after a tummy tuck?

  • During the tummy tuck surgery, excess skin is removed which disrupts the lymphatic drainage system of your body temporarily. As a result, your stomach will be swollen or bloated for quite some time after the surgery. Don’t worry, it will look flat soon. 

Can you tone your stomach after a tummy tuck?

  • Once you are fully healed, you can start doing ab exercises to tone your stomach further. 

Does fat return after a tummy tuck?

  • If you gain weight, you will have fat around your tummy area. Hence, Dr Turner recommends you to maintain a healthy lifestyle after getting tummy tuck surgery. 

How can I avoid weight gain after a tummy tuck?

  • Just follow a healthy lifestyle. Aim at eating a healthy, balanced diet and do a bit of exercise every single day. 

Can I do sit ups after a tummy tuck?

  • It is best to avoid doing sit ups and core exercises for at least 12 weeks after the tummy tuck. 

How long does the tightness last after a tummy tuck?

  • The feeling of having tight skin can last for six to twelve weeks after the surgery. 

How long after tummy tuck do you see results?

  • You can see some differences immediately after the surgery. However, it will take you around six to twelve weeks to see the final results. 

Can I walk on the treadmill after a tummy tuck?

  • You can walk on a treadmill as well as incorporate any other cardiovascular exercises six weeks after getting a tummy tuck. 

Does a tummy tuck make your waist smaller?

  • A tummy tuck gets rid of excess skin and fat around the tummy area, which also reduces the overall size of your waist. 

Does a tummy tuck lift your pubic area?

  • While you may get some improvement in the general appearance of the public region, it won’t lift it entirely. 

When can I stretch after a tummy tuck?

  • During the tummy tuck surgery, the plastic surgeon can suture the abdominal muscles to bring them together and create a firmer tummy. Hence, it is advised to avoid stretching during the entire recovery period or wait at least six weeks.

When can I start weight lifting after a tummy tuck? 

  • It is best to avoid weight lifting for at least 12 weeks after the tummy tuck. Otherwise, it can put pressure on your stitches and muscles. 

What happens if you lift too much after a tummy tuck?

  • Intense lifting can put pressure on your core muscles. Hence, it is important to avoid weight lifting for 12 weeks after the surgery. Start slow and gradually build up your strength. 

Next Steps

Always Do Your Research

  • Enquire to find out more about your surgery
  • Please read our website to learn more about your intended procedure

Do you need a Medical Referral to see Dr Turner?

  • A GP Referral is required to Consult with Dr Turner (under new AHPRA Regulations)
  • Please obtain a referral from your GP or Specialist if you want a consultation for an MBS item number surgery.
  • Please note that your Medicare Rebates will NOT be claimable without a valid recent Medical Referral

Making The Most Of Your Consultation

  • Please arrive slightly early for your in-person consultation
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes during the consultation and thoroughly examine all the documents provided

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

How to Book Your Consultation

  • You can book your initial consultation by paying the $350 cosmetic consultation fee in advance – when you make your appointment


  • To find out more information about surgery you can book a FREE 15-minute phone conversation with our Friendly Patient Care team via Calendly- Book Consultant 1 or Book Consultant 2

Contact us or call on  1300 437 758  to arrange your surgeon consultation in Sydney.

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