I have a small umbilical hernia - looking for safer variations?

I have a small umbilical hernia, and have been told that I can lift as long as I avoid exercises which don’t create too much intra-abdominal pressure, which means that I’ll be avoiding deadlifts and squats.

What are some safer alternatives to these exercises? If any of you have had one of these, how did you work around it?

For hypertrophy purposes, I’d recommend Leg Extension, Leg Curl, and Hyperextensions.

Are you planning to get the surgery at some point?

How big is the hernia ? What did your doctor advise ? I have had a small hernia for more than 5 years and still squat and dead lift heavy.

I had a small hernia just above my navel. I got it repaired as soon as I could. I had little down time where I didn’t go to the gym, about two days as I remember. There were exercises that I could do while waiting for it to heal completely. I added exercises as it healed.

Did your doctor recommend surgery?

If it isn’t going to heal itself, this would be unacceptable for me. I have never heard of a hernia to heal itself.

Recovery time is too insignificant to put off surgery. I wasn’t about to consider dropping squats and deadlifts, among some other exercises.


Maybe try using a dip belt to hang DBs or 25 pound plates off your hips. Then do splits squats and lunges.

I’m actually with @RT_Nomad here - hernias eventually have to be repaired. The longer you wait, the bigger and potentially more complicated they may get. Even leaving increased morbidity out of it, a larger hernia simply requires more dissection, mesh and repair - all that increases recovery time and pain.

1 Like

Is this a medical opinion ? Mr Doctor was pretty adamant that the trauma and risks associated with surgery were worse than a small tear.

No, because I’m not a physician. It is a statistical probability. They do not heal on their own, and are likely to worsen.

Now, if you have like a 1mm defect, they’re unlikely to repair it. I’m going to predict, Nostradamus-like, over time, yours widens (because you’re active) and will require repair.

Anyway, moral of the story, I’m never advising you tell your doctor what’s up vs the other way around. I’m just saying this isn’t a surgery to try to avoid when it’s time; you can’t rehab it like you might be able to something else.

1 Like

This is pretty much what the Dr said. But still reluctant to operate until it starts to cause an issue. This was a few years ago and my training has certainly not got less intense in that time. Its just a waiting game really.

agree with this

1 Like

Certainly a reasonable approach. Surgery is never without risk

1 Like

I hoped to get the surgery done soon, but because it’s small I was told that it might be a year or two before they’ll operate, so I’m on a waiting list.

It’s 14mm. I’m still not sure whether to deadlift and squat because I get soreness in the area even when doing exercises such as heavy overhead presses or chin ups.

I think that’s partly what caused the hernia in the first place, because I somehow managed to pull my stomach doing ab-wheel rollouts. Then the week after I noticed the hernia when I had an intense coughing fit.

Did you get that type of soreness? Also, did you wear a belt?

No, they tried to put me off from having it, telling me that most people just manage it by not lifting heavy things and avoiding intense physical activity, but obviously I said I still want it.


Was this with a GP or consult with the general surgeon? Sometimes where you stand depends on where you sit kind of thing

This was with the GP. At first they tried to fob me off telling me that I definitely did not have a hernia, I had to push them for a scan.

1 Like