Does the “Do Not Lift Weights” for six weeks apply also to the LEGS when you’ve had a double mastectomy?

After all, why would training the legs impact recovery from breast removal?

I had a preventive double mastectomy after learning that my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Prior to the procecure, I had learned that I’d have to wait four to six weeks before resuming strength training. This is a tough pill to swallow.

I could not understand why this would include leg workouts.

But I decided to wait for my postop follow-up with the surgeon to get to the bottom of this.

The day after my prophylactic double mastectomy, my legs were rearing to go – push heavy weight, drop deep into yoga poses, etc.

I accepted that there’d be no UPPER body work for up to six weeks, but going six weeks without my strenuous leg workouts would be too crazy.

So I asked my surgeon: Can I resume lower body training, like sitting in a seat and not using my arms and doing leg presses?

He said YES.

It was nine days postop double mastectomy and he said I can resume leg presses, leg extensions, leg curls and bodyweight-only squats.

Shutterstock/El Nariz

What are on restriction for six weeks from the surgery date are any leg strength training moves that require upper body engagement such as the back or front barbell squat and deadlift.

Off Limits: Leg Strength Training Exercises Involving the Upper Body

• Any type of squat in which your hands are holding a weight: barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, medicine ball, cable resistance, tension tube. The hands must be free.

• Deadlift

• Squat ball throw or ball slam

• Walking lunges holding dumbbells or weight plate

If you’ve had a double mastectomy, ask your surgeon about specific leg strength training exercises that you can immediately resume.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Shutterstock/SewCream