T Nation

Brain Cancer Survivor


I have a question. I just finished up 10 grueling sessions of chemo and radiation. I am not in the shape I was prior to having cancer. For some reason I can't remember alot of what I did when I trained.

So now I'm getting refamiliar with the machines and free weights. I shrunk alot and want to over time grow my chest and lose my love handles which I somehow got which is weird. This might be a repetitive question but I just can not remember what I did before geeting diagnosed with what I had.

Suggestions comments concerns anyone


I am currently running some research on breast cancer patients getting back active after their treatment. It is great that you are trying to get back working out as that will help you out so much with fatigue, weight, muscle mass, anxiety, etc.

I would recommend finding a ACSM certified Cancer Exercise Trainer and work with them.


My friend had cancer in his chest (not to sure what type it was maybe just a mass). Anyways, he lost a lot of weight that he had gained over the years through hockey training and what not. However, he bounced back pretty quickly and is in the best shape of his life (to me) right now.

For help I would suggest reading as much as you can here. There is a lot of information on the boards here and in articles. If you have specific questions I would probably ask in the beginners section of T-Nations.

Let me put it in this way. Your mind may not know what to do or how to work out but your body will for sure. Muscle memory is something debated among people but I think it's true.



Congrats on your determination, and surviving!
My brother's friend is dying from brain cancer, so hearing your news is uplifting.

Like Fuzzy Apple said, muscle memory is true. Find yourself a "comfortable" starting point and go from there.

Years ago, my brother beat a rare and deadly form of cancer. After all his treatments were done, he started back training in early summer with only pushups and chin-ups. By summer's end, he had already surpassed his previous best shape.

Just do it!


A comment-you're one tough son of a bitch.

Next, I will do what I can to help you. Clearly your goal is to gain size and lose fat. For the time being, I would focus on gaining size (unless cutting is more of your choice).

Nevertheless, keep a simple routine. I'm willing to go into more detail with you if need be, but just use a simple split such as:

Day 1: Chest/Triceps, Day 2: Back/Biceps, Day 3: Legs, Day 4: Legs, Day 5:Repeat a day or rest, day 6: repeat a day or rest, day 7:REST

For all things, stick with the basics; they work and that is what gets everyone bigger (including me). For Chest, stick with DB Flat Bench, Incline Bench, and then something like Flyes to get more blood to the area. For triceps, dips, skullcrushers, french presses, pulldowns, and/or DB Extensions will suffice. For Biceps, use Barbell Curls, Dumbbell Curls, Pinwheel Curls, Preacher Curls. For Legs, use squats, stiff legged deadlifts, leg presses, and toe raises. For Shoulders, use seated DB Press, lateral raises, and rear delt raises; shrugs too.

However, there are many more exercises to choose; I just listed most of the basics. As far as rep schemes, I would use all rep ranges. I like to ramp up to heavier weight (i.e. start out with higher reps and doing the majority of your sets with lower reps). Like aforementioned with the exercises, there are many choices; just be sure to incorporate all rep ranges.


Iron Dwarf touched on this, but I think it might be a very good idea to do some bodyweight training to start out.


+1, althought light weight wouldn't hurt.


agreed, just think some BW training might be a good way to get him comfortable in his own skin again, ya know what I mean?


Don't have much to add but good luck and God bless. My brother is losing a battle with brain cancer right now, if you only knew how encouraging it is to know that survivors like yourself are still kicking.


What are toe raises, this question being related to short hoss. Also I was doing some type of bench press and my shoulders started hurting really bad. I dont know if its because of the lack of use over the past year or so. I am just trying to fill out my chest if at the same time get really lean .
Thanks everyone to being kind. By chance anyone on the boards around the Atlanta area>?


^BB Toe Raises


OK thanks. I'm going to do this but my main thing I see which Im uncomfortable with is my chest. Someone said I have a bird chest which is fine they coul dhave used another way to phrase it but to each his own.

I think if I can get my chest to grow I'll be alot more secure with that aspect.


So do you want information with regards to chest hypertrophy?


Fuzzy apple, yes I would if you dont mind.


Well here is two different splits to consider.

I work on the Chest/Biceps while others I see do the Chest/Triceps.

Chest/Biceps Split:
A1) Bench Press 7 x 8-10*
A2) Alternating Dumbbell (DB) Curl 7 x 8-10*
B1) Incline Smith Machine Press 3 x 8-12 or Incline Bench Press 3 x 8-12 ---At my gym the incline isn't that great
B2) Preacher Curl 3 x 10
C1) Dips 3 x 10-12 or Machine Flys 3 x 8-10
C2) Cable Curl 3 x 8-10

A1) Do exercise then immediately go to corresponding letter and number A2) Do exercise rest 2 mins, repeat until all sets are done for both exercises then proceed to other lettered numbers.

*7 sets, 3 sets for warm up usually leave a couple reps in you, 4 sets of work.
-Find things that you prefer to do, this is just an example or even can be used. You can even switch up the sets and reps to fit what you like to do. I find these reps and set schemes are good for hypertrophy.

For the chest/triceps split I like to use these triceps exercises.
Incline Close Grip Press
Lying EZ Bar Extensions
Dips (lean back to use triceps) 3 full range, 10 bottom partial reps, 10 Top partial reps, 3 full reps--sort of stolen from Thibs arm experiment but I did them and liked them a lot.
Overhead Extensions

Have a look and tell me what you think or what anyone else thinks. I'm open for constructive criticism.