A tummy tuck will remove excess fat and skin as well as tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall. To achieve the best long term outcome, muscle toning exercises must be part of the plan after the initial recovery period is completed. Usually by 6-8 weeks a program of exercise can be resumed.
There are four main muscle groups that determine the contour and appearance of your abdomen: the rectus abdominis, the internal and external obliques, and the transversus abdominis. Increasing the strength and endurance of these muscles will contribute towards optimizing the appearance of your tummy after surgery. Training this muscle “core” with exercise produces a greater degree of coordination and synchronization of the muscles and thereby enhances their function.
It is important to keep in mind that exercising the core muscles will not specifically target fat deposits in the abdominal region. The way to maintain and improve upon localized fat deposits, such as those in the abdomen, is with a healthy diet that will benefit your whole body.
A few options to consider after you have been advised to resume exercise:
As Resistance Training Specialist Phil Arico at David Barton Gym in New York City put it, “The crunch is one of the better exercises to help in the development of abdominal muscle tone. It requires minimal movement, which leaves less margin for improper form and injury. By squeezing between the lower ribs and top of the pelvis, and pulling them together, you create the movement of a crunch. Each repetition should be slow and controlled to allow for more time under muscular tension, a key component in muscle toning.”
The lower back should remain on the floor when a crunch is properly performed. This makes the exercise more effective by isolating the abdominal muscles. The addition of a twist to the crunch movement, with alternate lifting of the shoulders, will add the oblique muscles to the strengthened abdominal wall.
A good all around toning exercise that doesn’t require any special equipment and can easily be done at home. You can visualize the exercise by thinking of it as a push up in which you remain in the up position. In some versions, your hands remain directly under your shoulders while other methods keep your forearms on the mat while you elevate your body and hold the pose for up to one minute. Try to keep your body straight and do not allow your hips to drop.
The Stability Ball
Achieving balance on a stability ball engages multiple muscle groups at once. Adding the ball to your plank exercise will fast track your efforts. After lying on top of the ball, put your hands on the ground and allow the ball to roll beneath your thighs while walking your hands forward. Keep your body as straight and stable as you can for 30 seconds while squeezing your thighs and tightening your abs.
A professional trainer will best be able to assist you in safely achieving the optimal results from your exercise efforts.
Written by Dr. Forley on February 27, 2015