If I Survived Breat Cancer, Here’s How My Workout Would Look

An extremely controversial topic and category is exercise post lumpectomy. Having trained my own mother who is a survivor of Breast Cancer and underwent this exact surgery, I will give my OWN OPINION on how to program exercise.


Somehow and somewhere, someone said lifting over 15lbs will cause dangerous levels of edema due to the fact that a lymph node has been removed, because of the amount of trauma. Personally I have a tough time gathering reasons why this exact number applies to everyone.

For me, a non-medical professional it sounds like a load of BS, how can every single person fall underneath this one “precaution” though I believe caution and safety are of the most importance, saying that one value is sufficient enough to prescribe to every person in every scenario.

The main worry, to my understanding is the consequence of the arm enlarging due to excessive damage or stress to the tissues around that area. The first step in any program for any individual should be bringing every joint, especially the operated side through its full range of motion. 

Stretching is probably not the best answer, when I say “bring through the full range of motion” Learning to contract muscles to assess where you can take things is crucial in my opinion and probably the safest way to learn how your body is responding.


I’m going to outline the basic template of how I would begin acclimating my body to exercise. Less or more may and can be used, this is simply one version.

  • 2 Lower Body Days

  • 1 Upper Body Day

Lower Body Day 1 (Quads and Glutes)


  • Hack Squat Machine

  • Leg Extensions

  • Lunges

  • Banded Bridges/Squats/Hip Abduction

2-3 sets x 8-12 reps (1 minute rest between exercises)

Lower Body Day 2 (Hams and Glutes)


  • Leg Press

  • Lying Leg Curl

  • Single Leg Bridge

  • Seated Leg Curl

2-3 sets x 8-12 reps (1 minute rest between exercises)

Upper Body Day (Back and Delts Focus)


  • Cable Seated Row

  • Plank in Push Up Position

  • Lat Pull Down

  • Lateral Raise to Overhead Press

  • Cable Cross Tricep Extension 

2-3 sets x 8-12 reps (1 minute rest between exercises)


Zak BrennanComment