T Nation

Training Chest after Breast Reconstruction


I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2014. Had a mastectomy and called it good. Got back to training and came back stronger. I could see my pecs and I liked it. For various reasons I’ve decided to do reconstruction. I’ve got the expander in now and will be having my augmentation in about a month. I’m going crazy not being able to train like I used to. Strict diet and cardio is keeping me from turning into a slob.

Any women on here have experience with reconstruction or augmentation and how they got back to training after? Did full strength come back? Is benching a no-go?


Much respect for beating cancer and coming back stronger. A friend of mine went though similar circumstances and I remember her talking about this article: Good luck and stay safe.


OP, I wish I’d seen this sooner. I’ve been lifting for about two years with a breast reconstruction after having bc in my early 30s, chemo, rads, the works.

The chemo and rads destroyed my body composition and I got into lifting because doing the stuff I used to do - mostly cycling related - didn’t work anymore. I had to build the foundation back up.

i had lymph node involvement and everyone freaked me out that I was going to give myself lymphedema (swelling problems) by lifting so I have gone super slow but I have dumbbell bench in my routine. I still do pretty low weight/ high volume, but bench, OH press, up rows, have all been fine for me.

I think most of it depends on your situation so definitely work with your onco team. I had a previous foundation of health and I was really young for breast cancer so most of the advice out there made assumptions that did not apply to me. Everyone is different.