Workout for Post-Cancer Surgery

Howdy all,

Hopefully this is the appropriate forum.

Looking to more seriously lift weights as soon as I get the surgical ok, approximately, 2 weeks from now.


Age 46
weight 170
Height 5’8"

Previous activities, former wrestler, cyclist.

Current activities before surgery were some light jogging and a home brew whole body program that probably was not worth mentioning.

I have read the lifting for newbie articles and the designing a damn good work out articles. I have tried to incorporate those principles into the following program, though feel the second workout of the week is questionable.

I will be doing the first day at home, Dumb bells only for the time being. The second will be at facility with full free weights and any Nautilus machine made.


Dumb bell Squats
Romanian Dead lifts
Dumb bell Bench Press
One Arm dumb bell Rows
Dumb bell Shoulder Press (sitting I think, standing better?)

These two are possible additions, but maybe a waste of energy.

Dumb bell Curls
Skull Crushers

Leg Press
Machine Bench or Bench press (incline, decline, regular?)
Chin ups (Weighted when needed to keep in rep range)
Machine military press
Barbell curls
Dips (weighted to keep within rep range)

Each exercise will be 6-8 reps, 4 sets.

Thursday I will be lifting alone. Chemo Will be once every two weeks, so I may have only one workout on the chemo week, two on the off. Eating will be the recommended for the treatment, which is very much like a diabetic diet plan. I can up the protein I believe.

Suggestions, decent, totally borked and I didnt understand the articles?

Thanks in advance


Maybe I should have left off the surgery and cancer info and just asked if its a decently balanced program. Sometimes the cancer stuff stiffles conversation. smile.

Nurse cautioned me about possible issues with the port Im having put in and heavy lifting. Something about not wanting me to blow it out since I would bleed out right there, haha.

May consider the early weeks with dumb bell program and more a circuit type rep and load scheme.

That looks like a good place to start woodenidol. I’ll be honest, till I tore a biceps tendon, I wasn’t a big fan of curls of anykind. Squats and deads and the rowing, all great stuff. And I like the seated DB pressing better, don’t know why, I guess it keeps me from throwing up the weight.Oh…regular flat bench press, carefull doing that at home by yourself.

No ab work?

Well, it was not an oversite, but it could very well be a mistake to not include it.

I have been operating (possibly wrongly) under the assumption that the multi joint excercises were giving me enough stimulation to get the job done.

Since it appears I may have to begin with a lighter weight, more circuit type program, it is probably not a bad idea at all to incorporate some crunches or something into what I have planned at the moment. Thanks for the food for thought Happydog.

Did a circuit type once through with the dumbell program this morning after some aerobic work. Lol, 12 lb dumb bells. Felt good to do something though and I kept it under what the surgeon said I could lift, though I dont think he envisioned me doing that. No pain which is the guide he gave me, so it was good.

Actually felt the squats a bit, which is a testiment to how much I think I was negletting the legs. gah

I admire your spirit and your strength. Keep us updated on how things progress with you. Start off with the least amount to begin and see how your body adapts to all that’s going on. Best of luck.

I wish you the best with beating cancer and starting a new program!!

I would suggest having a spotter or a workout partner if you lift while going through chemo. My brother had late stage cancer and his strength went way down while going through it. However he was still able to go for short runs (he is a soccer player) during it. It didn’t take him very long to get back into things after treatment btw.

I can tell you that having a good mental attitude is the most important thing and it looks like you have that covered! :slight_smile:

With your bench I would switch it up! I personally like regular and incline the best. As for Abs, you could do them on your days off if you like. A strong midsection equals great squats and deadlifts!

Keep us posted!

I’ve been through chemo and I’ll tell you after the second week I was in no shape to lift weights.

I hope you are able to continue working out but listen to your body. You’ll need all your strength just to get over the chemo. Also being in a gym when your white blood count is low might not be a good idea.

Well I have been reading some journals of chemo patients. While Im not discrouraged per say, it is a bit sobering. Enough of that.

Thinking of managing energy lvls more so than the perfect program, I started thinking about the bare minimum approach.

How many of you, if any, do, or have built an upper body program around dips and chins/pull ups?

Pull ups: Back, Rear shoulder, Biceps
Dips : Chest, Front shoulder Triceps

All guess work at this point, as maybe I will not have the energy to do any, but Im proceeding like I will have something in the tank. I guess next Monday will tell.

I have the power rings, so pull ups are covered, I can look around for a dip bar, or maybe rig something up.

Did the Dumbell workout with the baby weights today along with 30 minutes of treadmill work.

Looked at the Pull up and Dip station, but played it smart and walked by.