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 an abdominoplasty surgery can do more harm than good. Jumping into the exercise a little too quickly can make your recovery more difficult.

Sydney Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Scott Turner performs abdominoplasty to address excess skin and fat from the abdominal area or separated abdominal muscles (diastasis recti) – here’s Dr Turner’s guide to exercise after the procedure.

Timeline for Returning to Exercise after Abdominoplasty

In this article, we will outline the right way to get back to your exercise routine and what your recovery period will look like post-surgery.

1 – 2 Weeks after Abdominoplasty

During the first two weeks, walk 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 resolve 2-3 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-week 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 abdominoplasty exercises. You can also start lifting light weights.

8 to 12 Weeks Post Surgery

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 Abdominoplasty

Once you are fully healed from the abdominoplasty 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 abdominoplasty.

Let’s have a basic discussion on the muscle groups that impact the appearance of your stomach: rectus abdominis, internal oblique, external oblique, and transversus abdominis. 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. Here are a few examples:

1. Traditional Crunch

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 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 off 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

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 abdominal tightening exercises.

5. Other Ways

Ab exercises are not the only way to strengthen and tone your abdominal 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 an Abdominoplasty

Here are a few things you need to consider post-abdominoplasty 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 heavy weights 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 returning to work. 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.


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 minimise pain and discomfort by preventing tension in your incisions.


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 fruits, vegetables, fibre-rich foods, and proteins for optimal healing. Keep following a healthy and balanced diet plan after the surgery to maintain your weight.

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 Abdominoplasty FAQS

How soon can you work out after abdominoplasty?

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

How much can I walk after an abdominoplasty?

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 an abdominoplasty?

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

Why is my stomach still big after an abdominoplasty?

During the abdominoplasty 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.

Can you tone your stomach after an abdominoplasty?

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

Does fat return after an abdominoplasty?

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

How can I avoid weight gain after an abdominoplasty?

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 an abdominoplasty?

It is best to avoid doing sit-ups and core exercises for at least 12 weeks after an abdominoplasty.

How long does the tightness last after an abdominoplasty?

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

How long after abdominoplasty do you see results?

It will take you around six to twelve weeks to see the final results.

Can I walk on the treadmill after an abdominoplasty?

You can walk on a treadmill as well as incorporate any other cardiovascular exercises six weeks after getting an abdominoplasty.

Does an abdominoplasty make your waist smaller?

An abdominoplasty removes excess skin and fat around the abdominal area, which also reduces the overall size of your waist.

Does an abdominoplasty lift your pubic area?

This surgical procedure does not lift the pubic area.

When can I stretch after an abdominoplasty?

During abdominoplasty surgery, the plastic surgeon sutures the abdominal muscles to bring them together. Hence, it is advised to avoid stretching during the entire recovery period or wait at least six weeks.

When can I start weightlifting after an abdominoplasty?

It is best to avoid weightlifting for at least 12 weeks after abdominoplasty. Otherwise, it can put pressure on your stitches and muscles.

What happens if you lift too much after an abdominoplasty?

Intense lifting can put pressure on your incisions, which can result in wound reopening. Hence, it is important to avoid weightlifting for 12 weeks after the surgery. Start slow and gradually build up your strength.

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Next Steps

Always Do Your Research

  • Download a Procedure Guides 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 medical referral is helpful but NOT essential for purely cosmetic consultations.
  • 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 early for your in-person consultation.
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options.
  • 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.

Book a Phone Call for More Info

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 1300 437 758 to arrange your surgeon consultation in Sydney.

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