T Nation

Training screaching to a halt

Well it is official. I am going under the knife here real soon to fix an abdominal hernia. Had this damn thing since I was a baby, it’s 'bout the size of a silver dollar, 3" above my navel. They always told me that it was nothing to worry about, it’s just superficial they said, no need to worry.

Well, some post DL naseau and sickening pain later and here I am.

Both docs who have looked at said it is double the size from the last exam and needs to be fixed ASAP.
I meet with the surgeon on Thursday and then the operation should be next week. The sooner the better.

I know it needs to get done and better elective surgery than emergency surgery. BUT DAMNIT! I have spent the last 15 weeks busting my arse in the gym harder than ever before.

This is the best and strongest condition I have been in since my competitive sprinting days. A lot of it stemming from advice and knoweledge I gained here at T-Mag.

And now I’ve got to take 8 weeks off?

No throwing.
No deads.
No GMs.
No squats.
No leg press.
No cleans…until the operation.

And then little to nothing afterwards. F!#$

I know I’m whining but F!#$ I can’t even pick up my boy for almost 8 weeks.

My adventure trip planned to throw at Shamrock this year is out and I have no idea how much strength and size I will lose in 8 weeks.

I am not a happy Sprout.

Anybody been through this before and have any helpful post op advice, rehab advice please feel free to share.

Kind of hard to review new equipment from my bloody couch.


What up sprout. I can’t say I have had the same experience before but, I did have to forgoe about 2 and a half months of any serious training this last summer.
Ok check this out, I was thrown out of a pickup truck doing about 25-30mph I spent 3 days in the hospital which I hardly rember and then had to stay out of work for two weeks. I work at ups and lift heavy boxes all night every night, when I went back I was half speed all night long and had no strength to do anything in the gym for at least the first month I was trying to heal up. I finally got back in but could do nothing that put too much strain on my back since I think took almost as much damage as my head did. I slowly worked back up to doing regular workouts and am now back in full swing. I my back is stronger than ever and I have gained back almost all of the weight I lost. I went from around 170lbs down to 155lbs and now I am back up to 165lbs with 12% bf. The other day I pulled 275 for 4 reps (big by no means but pretty good for me) and I am back to squating over 300lbs. While this maybe nothing for many on this forum it is decent numbers for me and I make more progress every week.
So moral of this long story is, take it slow. Anything you lose will come back in time just don’t try to over compensate for lost time when you go back in. Use what muscle groups you can to keep some of your weight and strength and then slowly (when your body is ready) start putting in exercises that will get your body back into shape for serious lifting. Like I said it will all come back and maybe even better then before. Just take your time when you can get back into it and do it right.


I know exactly what your going through! Had the same thing about this time last year. Not to worry, you will come back from this stronger and better than ever. Yes, you will have to regain abdominal strength; but judging by the list of things you want to do now, but can’t, I think you will regain that quickly too!

Also, remember that the advice to patients about lifting after surgery is geared towards non-athletes. I wasn’t supposed to lift more than 8 pounds for 6 weeks either, but when the doctor actually cut me open and saw the hypertrophy of my abs (and rest of my body) he changed that to 2 weeks! I was able to pick up my son after 2 weeks without any problem, because I was strong enough to do it with out having to activate my abs significantly. Each case is different and I am not a doctor, but I bet you will be able to pick your boy up, too!

Hang in there, train what you can to maintain up to the procedure. Rest up, and then hit it hard! You will overcome!

Let me know if I can help.

In faith,

In the wise words of my wife when I had to be out of training for a week - “You’re already the size of a bus. Losing size for you is still 2X the size of the average human being. You’ll still be big and the weight room will still be there when you get back. Since you’ll be recovered you be able to get bigger and stronger than you were before so relax and enjoy the break.” I found she was (as freaking usual) right. You’re huge now and you’ve got the hernia issue. You take 2 months off, heal up, you’re all fixed up and nothing to hold you back. You’ll do fine man. Good luck.

Been there, done that… I had a small hernia in the lower abdomen. I don’t imagine for a minute that my lifting is/was the same as yours, ever… But I trained with it for a couple of years before I decided to have it taken care of. Post-op, I was off for about 5 weeks. I was lifting again, light, within a week. I did not try heavy, for me anyhow, for about 6wks.
A collegue of mine went to the Shouldice clinic in Toronto Canada. It is one of the premier hernia clinics in the world. http://www.shouldice.com.
Their approach apparently does not include extreme bedrest post-op.
Good luck with the surgery. I hope your fears regarding loss of lean muscle are unfounded.

Thanks everyone.
I feel better every post I read.
I think this will realy focus my training after recovery and make me even more determined in the months, years to come.

I had a small hernia in about the same area as you and about the same size.

The doctors actually said that my stomach muscles were pretty thick and that it took more of an effort to cut through!!!

This is all just based on my eperienec.

As for recovery I reckon that if you are in good shape prior to going under the knife then you will recover faster. Keep yourself mobile and walk around as you want to keep the cut from healing tight( this will happen if you stay stationary.)

Just ease back into all the training real gentle and pick up the pace as you see fit. The worse thing you can do is rush back into it and open up your stitches.I did this by trying to have sex too soon and almost opened the stitches!!!

Very light stretching would also be good before going into anty weight bearing movements and, though stating the obvious, dont do anything to jarring or ballistic until you are totally pain free.

As a side note dont watch anything funny while you are recovering because laughing is SO PAINFUL when you have abdominal stitches.

The GOOD part of busting your butt for the last 15 weeks is that you will be in prime shape for the surgery.
That means better recovery, etc. You will not be sorry, post-surgery, to have been in such great shape.

Before surgery, research rehab issues. Surgery puts you in a major catabolic state. Post surgery rehab can be greatly enhanced by diet (extra protein, etc.) and various therapies. Read up on this stuff ahead of time.
Acupuncture is important in the first few weeks post-surgery. You should fine an acupuncturist before surgery and set up a schedule for post-surgery treatment.

Probably the worst thing is to rush back into the heavy lifting before proper healing takes place. You will benefit more from proper post-surgery measures and PT if necessary.

Interestingly, your body won’t forget your current levels. You’ll regain them reasonably quickly once you are REALLY healthy and can start to lift properly again, even (and especially) if you take the time to rehab correctly.

I have one wacky-sounding tip to add to the solid advice already given. In the short time you really can’t lift, you can always imagine lifting. Since strength has a large CNS factor, you can activate the same CNS networks used when lifting, when you simply imagine lifting. You may have heard something like “If you imagine something vividly, your brain doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality.” This isn’t quite true, but cognitive neuroscience studies do show activation of the same networks.

And, imagination beats daytime television!