Published April 22, 2014

Lifting Weights with Breast Implants Under the Muscle – Should You Go For It?

Many women today from all walks of life are undergoing surgery to improve their appearance by increasing their breast size. Even women that enjoy sports and are passionate about exercise have not been left out – they too want to feel great about their physical appearance. However, exercising, and particularly lifting weights with breast implants under the muscle, may be a different experience from when you were exercising without the implants. This is because the pectoral muscles, which are affected by breast augmentation surgery, are also involved in weight lifting.

Surgery options

During breast augmentation surgery, the implants can either be placed above or beneath the pectorals depending on your preference, the implant size, your age, activity level and how lean you are. For most women, the implants are placed under the pectorals to give a more natural look as a result of the pectoral muscles sloping over the implants. Additionally, placing the implants under the muscle with the breast tissue above it helps to hide the implant shell, eliminating the ripple effect.

Pros and cons

If you are involved in a lot of physical activity and are particularly passionate about weight training, you should consider having your implants placed above the pectoral muscle. This type of surgery would be less invasive, and the recovery period would be lessened. Most patients only have to wait about 8 – 12 weeks after the procedure to resume normal weight lifting. However, the downside to having the implants placed above the muscle is that they are not anchored and there is greater risk of implant migration to other areas of your chest. This could compromise your symmetry and may even require surgery to correct.

If you are a hardcore body builder, you must be careful when getting breast implants. Excessive weight lifting increases the risk of implant displacement and implant leaks. For instance, accidentally dropping a weight on your chest or a sudden unstable movement while holding up the weight could lead to a leak. This is why proper lifting techniques become even more important after breast augmentation.

How do you look?

Another common problem for women lifting weights with breast implants is that their breasts look deformed or “squished” during weight lifting sessions. While some women have enough breast tissue to hide this effect caused by muscular contraction, it is a temporary effect that goes away on its own. It occurs when the pectorals push the implants downward and outward whenever they are flexed. It helps to gently massage around the breast after a workout to get them back to normal faster. In addition, long-term strengthening of your pectorals may create a seemingly widened cleavage. As such, push-ups, bench presses and butterfly exercises should be performed moderately.

Published By: Dr Kourosh Tavakoli

Dr Kourosh Tavakoli, MS, FRACS, is an internationally renowned Australian trained plastic surgeon with over 20 years of surgical training. He is an active member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), International Society (ISAPS) and American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS). He is considered a world leader in plastic surgery of the breast and body and lectures extensively around the word on these topics.