15 Exercises to get the Best Body After a Tummy Tuck

Did you know that great tummy tuck results start before surgery? It’s true. The key is to start regular exercise before surgery day rolls around. While you are in the early stages of healing, exercise will be limited. After just 6-8 weeks, however, most patients can resume a full exercise program.

Exercise has many known benefits, many of which come in handy for patients seeking a tummy tuck to remove loose skin and fat after major weight loss or after pregnancy. Today, Dr. Bernard Beldholm shares the best exercises for tummy tuck patients to help reap the best results from surgery.

Why exercise after tummy tuck surgery?

A tummy tuck is a life-changing decision. Abdominoplasty can get rid of loose skin, fix separated muscles and remove unwanted body fat. However, if you are fit and look after your body both before and after surgery, then you will find that the results and satisfaction from surgery is going to be much better. Toning your physique and taking care of your health is one of the best ways to celebrate your new body.

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Developing good exercise habits starts before surgery: Here’s how to do it

Doctor Bernard recommends that his patients start a regular exercise program at least three months before their surgery date, but ideally 6 months is best. Not only does it take time to tone your body, but developing new habits is said to take about one to two months. Exercise takes some getting used to if you are not used to working out. It can be challegning at first to get motivated to work out…and sometimes, even harder to stick with it.

The trick is knowing that if you do stick with it, it becomes routine. And therefore, it is far less difficult to exercise 3-5 times per week once it is a habit. The key takeaway is to develop healthy exercise habits several months before your tummy tuck to ensure you get used to the habit of exercise. That way, you can resume a familiar exercise program once you have healed from surgery. Working out becomes fun the more you get used to it, and even more fun once you start seeing the incredible results.

If you have not hit the gym much before, that’s okay. Getting your foot in the door is the first step. Don’t be intimidated! Aim to start slow initially, perhaps just ten minutes one to two times per week over the first few few weeks. From there, increase exercise to two to four times per week. Once you have established the habit of working out, you can increase the amount you do leading up to surgery day.

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When can I exercise after tummy tuck?

After surgery, many people think they will be just lying around and resting. While rest is vital to recovery and you don’t want to strain yourself, there are exercises you can do. It all starts with walking at first, which is your top priority in the first two weeks after surgery. After that, other light exercises can be introduced.* For more information, don’t forget to check out this link, which contains your tummy tuck recovery and exercise timeline.

*Disclaimer: check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

15 exercises for the best body after a tummy tuck

Top 15 Exercises After Tummy Tuck

Ready to start working out? These are the key areas to focus on to get the best tummy tuck results:

Tummy-strengthening exercises

Tummy Strengthening Excercises

The core is where it’s at. Strengthening your body core is great for improving posture and giving support to your pelvis, lower back and other abdominal muscle groups. Some of the best tummy-strengthening exercises for tummy tuck patients post-op are:

  • Dead bugs target your transversus, which is the deepest core muscle inside your abdominal wall. Lie on your back with legs bent as if you were sitting on a chair, then alternate stretching your leg out while swinging the other arm back in a controlled motion. Keep the focus on your core while you do this.
  • Heel slides work your pelvic muscle and hip flexors. Lying on the floor with knees bent, alternate sliding your foot down so your leg is nearly flat, one leg at a time. Engaging your core is key!
  • Wall sits are fun and easy. Stand with your back against a wall, and slide down into a squat while engaging your tummy muscles. Hold for a few seconds, return to standing position and repeat.

Diastasis recti exercises

Diastasis Recti Exercise

If you had split abdominal muscles repaired along with your tummy tuck, exercise can help strengthen the muscle. While the abdominals are closest to the surface of your skin, core exercises are the best way to regain strength from deeper muscles. The body’s core provides support to the surface abdominals, which may help reduce tension and stress on the separated muscle.

  • The Mutu System is a 12-week exercise program dedicated to repairing diastasis recti naturally. Even if you had a tummy tuck with muscle repair, the workout can help give the repaired muscle strength after you heal from surgery.
  • Pelvic tilts help strengthen the pelvic area, an important part of the body’s core. This is great for new mums who have weakness in that area. Lie on the floor with knees bent, and tilt your pelvis upward in a steady motion. Then lower the pelvis and repeat.
  • Kegels are great for mums who have experienced bladder leakage due to a weak pelvic floor caused by pregnancy. Squeeze as if you were holding the flow of urine, hold for a few seconds, release and repeat. It’s that easy and can be done virtually anywhere — no gym time needed.

Aerobic exercises

Aerobics Exercises

Light aerobics is possible at week four to six weeks after a tummy tuck for most patients. Aerobics can improve stamina and help keep your new body lean. Aerobics also benefit your body in other ways, besides making you look good. It allows you to enjoy a natural boost of endorphins, which makes for a happier, less stressful recovery. Here are some of the best aerobic exercises for tummy tuck patients:

  • Running or jogging is the most popular aerobic exercise you can do. Early on in recovery, you will be walking. However, by week 6-8 post-op (see last article, accurate?), most patients can resume full exercise. If you love getting outdoors to jog in Australia’s beautiful weather, this is a great way to do it.
  • Cycling (on a machine, not on the street!) can be beneficial starting about 1.5 months after surgery. Riding on a stationary bike is more comfortable than running for patients who feel too much discomfort to jog. An exercise bike after tummy tuck allows you to get the benefits of an aerobic workout and cardio benefits, while taking strain off your core and knees.
  • Row, row, row your boat! Rowing machines are perfect to introduce at weeks four to six post-op for full tummy tuck patients. A rowing machine is a fun and relaxing way to recover after a tummy tuck. Put on your favorite TV program and row away if you are lucky enough to have an in-home gym. Otherwise, your local gym’s machine is just waiting for you to give it a spin.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High Intensity Interval Training

HIIT training is very trendy these days, but it also works. HIIT is essentially intense cardio sessions that you do in short, intense bursts. Dr. Beldholm recommends it at least once per week, that is, after you have recovered fully from surgery. This program is also excellent in the months leading up to surgery day since that is when you will be free of mobility restrictions. Many women love HIIT because it is fun and really gets the endorphins going. You’ll do a lot of burpees, so if you like those, then this may be the exercise program for you!

Weight exercises & toning exercises

Weight Exercises & Toning Exercises

Toned arms and legs are the perfect complement to your new slim tummy. You can do these both before and after surgery to make your body look great all over. Here are some you can try:

Legs & Arms

  • Goblet squats take squats to the next level. Grab a dumbbell, hold it in front of you (vertically, with both hands) with legs shoulder-width apart and toes turned out. Squat, hold and press through mid feet as you push your body upright again.
  • Bicep curls are a mainstay of toned arms. Grab a weight that gives you a bit of resistance, but one that you can still lift. You can take same weight and do a variety of arm exercises such as tricep extensions. Best of all, you can purchase dumbells for home use. Working out is easy when you can do it from the comfort of your living room.
  • Lunges make beautiful legs. They’ll look great alongside your new tummy. A proper lunge is easy once you get the hang of it. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, and take a big step forward while engaging your core. Lower your body until the thigh is parallel to the ground, shin vertical. Return to starting position and repeat.


  • Squats get your rear in gear. If you have always desired apple-bottom curves, this is your best bet. Squats work the quads and gluteus maximus. The key is engaging those muscles mindfully with each squat, going slow and pressing with intention.


Many women want to lose excess belly fat and loose skin. Weight loss is nice, but working out can improve your life in a number of other ways by making you healthier and uplifting your mood. Build those exercise habits early (before tummy tuck surgery), and you will have a far easier time getting back to it after your tummy tuck surgery. With time, your new body only gets better and better, improving your tummy tuck results all around. Who could say no to that?

Related article: Does Exercise Really Help with Muscle Separation?