T Nation

Comeback from a Hernia Operation Question


Hi Glenn. I've been reading your stuff and following your coaching for quite a while. My question to you (but anybody else with coaching or personal experience please feel free to share) concerns my son who was diagnosed with a small hernia on the white line really low in the abdomen.

He just turned 15 and has been lifting for 18 months. I am feeling a bit guilty thinking that I might have let his coach push him a bit too much. Before his injury, he was on a program doing 10 sets of 3 in the snatch with 61kgs or 10 X 2 with 77kgs in the CandJ plus a bunch of other exercises, in a workout that took him a little over 2 hrs to finish 3 days per week. He full squats 130kgs , CandJs 90, Snatches 73 at a bodyweight of 84kgs.

At first we thought that it might be a muscle pull or an injury from bumping the bar to his stomach because he only got pain when snatching. I took him to the hospital and the ultrasound revealed a very small hernia but which the doctor said that it needs to be operated. It's funny in this way because he clean and jerks with no problems, even front squats with no pain or trouble. Anyway, we are scheduled for surgery next Friday. I will ask for a reexamination this Monday but I don't think that we can avoid surgery.

He insists that he doesn't want to stop olympic lifting but I am really on a guilt trip and I want to be super careful to make sure it doesn't happen again. Have you had any experiences with bringing back an athlete from a hernia operation? Any general advice on exercise selection, frequency of training, time back at the gym after the operation, etc?

Many thanks in advance if you take the time to respond.

PS: Myself being a bit of an olympic lifting fanatic and having defended the sport as not being a cause of such injuries to other parents, you can imagine how I feel now about it or how I would feel if it were to happen again.


i had a inigual (sp) hernia repaired with a mesh patch when i was about 33. two weeks post surgery i was doing partial deadlifts starting with the bar and moving up from there. within a few short months i was back to over 500 dead lift and squat.

The doctor did not blame the lifting. he said many patients need operations from the strain of a bowel movement. some people are born with a weakness and eventually it needs to be repaired. its much better to say i got a hernia from a snatch than from taking a bowel movement.

once repaired properly, it should fail again.


He'll be fine. I had an inguinal hernia that got pretty large because I had it for a year and a half without telling anybody. I'm 19 now and I got it repaired when I was almost 15. What area do you live in? If you're close to Pennsylvania I highly recommend going where I went to have my hernia repaired.

But, in any case, make sure the repair he receives is TENSION FREE with MESH. the recurrence rate of a hernia repaired properly with a good method is less than 1%. non- mesh methods have almost a 30% chance of recurring. After about 3 weeks if your son starts light he'll be back to where he was in no time like what pkiousis was saying.


I wish I was qualified to comment on this, but I just dont think I am.


What I said is just the impression I got from my doctor because supposedly he's performed over 10,000 hernia surgeries with that method and had less than 5 of the patients' hernia recurr.


that sounds like really good odds!