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Weight Lifting for Women With Breast Implants

author image Michelle Matte
Michelle Matte is an accomplished fitness professional who holds certifications in personal training, pilates, yoga, group exercise and senior fitness. She has developed curricula for personal trainers and group exercise instructors for an international education provider. In her spare time, Matte writes fiction and blogs.
Weight Lifting for Women With Breast Implants
Breast implants are common for athletic women with low body fat.

Working out with weights can give women an amazing body, stronger and more confident. But one negative side effect of lifting is a decrease in breast size due to loss of fat. To restore the twins to their former splendor, many women opt for surgical augmentation. Before getting a surgical lift, educate yourself on your options and their potential impact on your weight lifting routine.

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Breast Anatomy and Muscles of the Chest

Female breasts are made up mostly of fat, but also contain connective tissue, milk ducts, lymph nodes and blood vessels. When you lose body fat, there is no way to prevent fat loss in the breasts. The pectoral muscles lie behind the breasts, separating them from the rib cage. Other muscles that affect the breast area include the anterior deltoid, which works with the pectorals to horizontally flex the shoulder, and the serratus anterior, which runs along the rib cage beneath the armpits. Exercises involving the pectoral, deltoid and serratus muscles are the ones most likely to cause discomfort related to implants.

Incision and Implant Placement

There are many options for insertion and placement of implants, and you should take an active role in deciding what is best for you. The most common insertion site is in the fold below the breast. This site allows the surgeon more control and a better view of where the implant is being placed. It is also the site at which the implant is least likely to be damaged during placement. Implants can be positioned either beneath or in front of the pectoral muscle. According to cosmetic surgeon Dr. Rick Silverman, placement under the muscle is preferable for athletic women who have low body fat because the muscle provides a barrier of tissue between the implant and the skin, giving a more natural look. When discussing augmentation with your surgeon, be sure to express any concerns you have about the procedure as it pertains to exercise.

Post-Procedure Exercise and Lifting

Cosmetic surgeons at the University of Michigan Department of Surgery recommend walking in the first six weeks post-op, but they do not sanction high-intensity or high-impact exercise in any form until after six weeks. Lifting too much too early can interfere with healing and recovery, and may cause your implants to shift and become malformed. According to Dr. Silverman, you should be able to resume your normal chest routine and weight loads within eight to 12 weeks after your procedure. To prevent injury, start back slowly with light weights to allow joints and muscles to adapt to your new shape.

Technique, Breathing and Support

Good technique is foundational to effective weight training, and is more important than ever with implants. Contraction of the chest muscles will compress your implants. Moving your joints through their full range of motion with slow, controlled movement prevents excessive and uneven pressure at the implant sight. Exhaling as you compress the chest will make more room in the chest cavity and alleviate pressure. Even though the girls may defy gravity after your procedure, a supportive athletic bra during exercise will protect your investment by keeping implants in place.

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