Ask the Trainer: Exercise After Abdominal Surgery

We received this question through our Facebook page and sent it to one of our fitness experts for her opinion.  Remember, before you try any new exercise regimen you should talk with your physician.

Do you have any tips for getting your abdominal area back in shape after surgery? It’s been 6 months and I can’t seem to get the strength back. When I do crunches it feels like it pulls where my main incision was and it hurts in a stingy kind of pain and I can’t do many at all. Thanks!

Dana Neve, personal trainer:

First of all, make sure you have clearance from your doctor for exercise.  The advice I am giving is fitness advice, not medical.

I have had the same issues with stomach incisions and understand that “stingy” pain.  There are several reasons for that.  Sometimes scar tissue can restrict the movement of nerves that can cause inflammation which causes the pain. Also, the skin in that area becomes tight which can cause that pulling feeling with certain movements. Gently massaging the scar is usually recommended, but again, talk to your doctor first.

The key to firming and toning muscles is to make exercise a habit.  It must be a part of your daily life. And you cannot get the results you want without proper nutrition. The most important thing to remember is that 20% is exercise and 80% is nutrition. Abdominal exercises are great for toning up your muscles but don’t do much for the body fat that is covering them up. To get your abdominals back in shape you should have a fitness routine that includes cardio and resistance training.  You can get toned, even ripped, abs without doing a single crunch! Always keep your core tight no matter what exercise you are doing.  I am a big fan of plyometric training and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) to get your entire body into shape.


Dana Neve

Dana Neve is a New Orleans native living in the Twin Cities for the past eighteen years with her husband and two teenage daughters.  She is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, runner, fitness coach, motivator, speaker, avid spectator of her kids’ sports, and has been a guest speaker on the radio.  Fitness has always been a part of her life, but it wasn’t until 2000 that she became passionate about it.  After being diagnosed with fibromyalgia and having a negative reaction to the medication prescribed, she decided to control the symptoms with exercise and proper nutrition.  The results were life changing and it has become her mission to help others lead longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives through fitness and nutrition.  She coaches people around the country developing nutrition plans and recommending workout programs for her clients, while motivating and supporting them along the way. She is dedicated to helping people achieve their goals and would love to help you too.


To learn more from Dana, connect with her on Twitter, herFacebook page, or email her.


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