Training After Major Abdominal Surgery

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First Post
I am just wondering if anyone has any experience starting back training after a major abdominal
I know I can't lift anything heavier than half a kettle of water at the moment, and am not allowed to start to lift anything for at least three months.
I am thinking I might have to go very slowly and maybe start with easy body weight exercises.
What would be good for slowly building my abdominal strength?,I believe I will be prone to hernia's now if the scar tissue doesn't heal well.

Steve Freides

Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Wait until your doctor clears you to exercise, then come back and ask again, please.

Best of luck in your recovery.



Level 4 Valued Member
Hey Luke

I must say I admire your spirit and determination.

You say you have three months before you can start training, but there are things you can do in that time. Several years ago there were a few studies that were published where people just did imaginary workouts and the participants gained strength from that imaginary practice.

The strength gains were not great, but in all the studies I've seen, imaginary practice has shown benefits.

I've had many injuries and surgeries over the years (not abdominal surgery though) and I've used similar techniques during the recovery period and I've always surprised doctors and physiotherapists with my recovery rate.

Channeling some of your enthusiasm into creative visualisation as a form of meditation could be of some help to you.

There have been many studies into this over the years, I first read of the concept in an article about a Japanese study in the 80's but I can't find that at the moment.

Here is a link to similar type of study on Pubmed


First Post
thanks for your replies.
I have been using a meditation program called holosync for the last five or so years which I am 100% sure had an influence on my recovery.
Everyone was surprised at my rate of recovery including my surgeon and his team,he is one of only two surgeons that can perform this operation in Australia. I agree with you there Tarzan and I think I will just use my mind to train for the next few months.


Level 5 Valued Member
Not major surgery but I had an inguinal hernia repaired a few years ago and after four weeks recommended rest I started back by doing the rocking, rolling and cross-crawling resets from Becoming Bulletproof / Original Strength.

Did this for a few weeks then started training with a light (16kg) kettlebell and built back up.


Level 1 Valued Member
The first exercise I was allowed following my lung transplant was simply standing up. After I could stand, they added walking and walking in place with support.

Next came walking without support. My goal was to increase the amount of walking I could do by 10% each day.

Then I was off to Pulmonary Rehabilitation. Basically physical therapists specializing in helping pre and post transplant patients. At pulm rehab I started using a recumbent bike, a treadmill and resistance bands.

I had a recumbent bicycle at home, and purchased a nice set of resistance bands for use at home. I was cleared by my medical team to start arms and legs workouts with the lightest bands. No push or pull up type exercises allowed.

I worked with the bands (I can link to exercises I used if you wish) and increased resistance as allowed by my medical team. I progressed faster than they expected. I was cleared to start working on a slow push up progression (starting from the kitchen counter).

I was then released to increase weights as I progressed on my own schedule as the Team learned to trust my judgement. Still no pull up type exercises.

Once I was evaluated and cleared to start pull up progressions, I found S&S.

There is a very large difference between a lung transplant (opening up the chest like a clam shell, armpit to armpit), and abdominal surgery. I can protect my chest with form, Swings and TGU use a lot of abs.

You have to work closely with your medical team to progress with your exercises.
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