T Nation

Lifting & Sports with a Hernia?


It's the start of my bulking phase and I think I've developed an inguinal hernia. A few weeks ago, a soft lump appeared on one side of my groin. It goes away when I lie down, but comes back when I am standing up or exerting myself. The symptoms are pretty consistent with those of a hernia.

I've posted a diagram up of what inguinal hernias look like on the inside.

Apparently these types of hernias in the groin are very common and usually have to be fixed by surgery.

How would having a hernia affect a weightlifting program? Is it still okay to do martial arts, train as usual, and sports as
usual? Or do you have to be careful and take it easy?

Some of y'all out there may have had a hernia before, had one repaired, or still have one? How did it affect you?


Man I had one, PM me and I'll give you the details. Type, rehab, etc. How it affects lifting


I've had a hiatel hernia since i was a baby and never let it stop me from lifting sometimes it's uncomfortable when i'm eating a ton of food but i'd like to hear what to look forward to if i get it fixed how long will i be out


I was diagnosed with a inguinal hernia last year, with the possibility of both left and right tears.

I finally got to see a specialist who sent me for a scan. The scan failed to pick up the hernia's so the specialist said the pain was more than likely a muscle strain with inflamation (?).

At the same time that I saw the specialist, I also developed an umbilical hernia. No doubting this one, it's clearly visible but the specialist won't operate on it because it's not large enough to bother with, according to him.

My doc says the only way to fix hernia's is an operation, they do not get better over time, only stable or worse. The operation is usually just day surgery with local pain sedatives and recovery is quite fast with a return to full training abilities within 6 to 8 weeks. Moderate training in 4 weeks plus.

Lots of info on the net but a referral to a specialist is the best thing.


I had an inguinal hernia repaired last Sept.
A simple 2 inch incision, and a mesh screen is put into place. Fairly sore for 3 days, and then gradual return to normalcy.
Bottom line for me and time off from lifting-4 weeks.
After 2 weeks light lifting and gradual increase in intensity to full throttle at 4.
You will be good as new.


I recently had a hernia repaired and I was advised not to lift for 12 weeks. For the first week, I was told not to lift more than 5 pounds, with each additional week I was told to increase that weight by 5 more pounds. Come week 12, I would be 98% healed and be able to do anything I wanted. But I would not gain the other 2% until a full year had passed.

The surgeon who I had was a specialist in hernias, so I just took his word on it rather than trying to push myself too early and fuck it all up again.


Thanks for the input fellas. At least the good news is that the procedure is not major, and the recovery period is not that long.

But 6 weeks out of training? Man that's going to suck!

It gets bigger when I do heavy squats..it kinda freaks me out to see a bulge in my groin and I feel paranoid that it will eventually get worse or life threatening.

I guess all I can do until I get surgery is buy something to wrap it up and hold it in place while I'm training, so it won't get worse.


Was it an inguinal, hiatal, or umbilical? How severe was it?

12 weeks out of lifting sounds even worse...the amount of strength and size that can be lost in that time without any lifting.


As someone whose hernia has recurred, taking extra time to heal now, as opposed to dealing with it again, is probably a good idea.

Try to keep the big picture in mind.


As Jilly pointed out, it is wise to exercise caution and allow the injury to heal. I had a ventral hernia caused by not allowing a previous abdominal surgery to heal properly. I word to the wise...Listen to others who have walked this treacherous road before you. You will save yourself alot of time, pain, and frustration.


Jillybop, you're the first person I thought of when I read this thread. I knew you'd had surgery some time ago and part of that surgery was a hernia repair.

Sorry to hear it's come back again, that must be very annoying after everything you went through in your previous surgery. Have you had it operated on again or just putting up with it for now?


Hi, Duke :slightly_smiling: Yeah, it came back this summer during some really great heavy workouts. It's small and not too noticeable (compared to before), but it does feel a little sore sometimes.

I saw my original plastic surgeon a few weeks ago and he wants to do the repair without mesh. Reading online, it seems mesh has a better rate of nonrecurrance. I told him I workout hard and lift weights, but I don't think he has other patients that lift like I do and I suspect he doesn't really "get it".

For now I am lowering the weight and upping the reps and doing some bodyweight stuff until I can get it fixed. I think I need to do more research and maybe look for a Dr who does more hernia repairs, though. Not sure just yet. :frowning:


Hi again Blaze,
It is best to get inguinal's taken care of asap. While it is rare, if the intestine is pinched and blood flow is restricted, a serious situation is at hand. Not trying to alarm you, but you should know.


Thanks fedorov,
I do want to get it taken care of asap, but even if I schedule surgery, it could be months away. I just hope it doesn't get larger or become strangulated. So in the meantime I will train carefully.

I want to buy a hernia belt to help hold it in so it doesn't get worse while lifting or doing other strenuous activity.

It doesn't really hurt at all, it just feels and looks weird.

The scalpel will be too close to my prize package for comfort! I hope they don't slip when operating and damage something important.

I want to get the mesh surgery done too. Stitching to a ligament can produce pain and recurrence is a 30% chance so the mesh method sounds best.


My own research and my specialist points toward mesh as a better choice for more permanent repairs.

A few videos on repairs here - but they're all over the net.


My hernia was inguinal, but was actually the second time I had it. I was told I did not need to get it fixed right away, as it might not get worse, but will never get better on its own.


I guess a hernia that has returned needs a longer recovery period, but a first-time repair only needs 6 weeks.


I was told the same bloody thing... I wanted it fixed but when the surgeon said it'd be better to leave it, I took the opportunity to get out of it... prob a bad choice but I'm training again and it's okay, so far...


Do you have any problems lifting heavy or doing squats in particular?


Anything where excessive or concentrated force is put on that area is a problem ie, situps, hanging pikes, rope pulldowns etc. I have found things to be okay with general stuff like benches, squats, deads etc.

I just have to be careful when getting into position, like DB bench or decline DB as the force on the stomach area whilst I'm trying to lie back with weights in hand is too much, so I avoid that stuff. It's a bugger but so far not too bad.

As with most things, there are ways around it.