[Episode 51] Preparing Your Body For Top Surgery

by | Feb 19, 2021

In this episode we will be looking at how you can physically prepare for top surgery or chest reduction.

There are many factors involved in preparing for top surgery. It’s a pretty impactful experience on our bodies.

When it comes to top surgery or having a chest reduction, the biggest things that many TGD folks focus on is pec development and weight loss in the lead up. And this is a great focus. It can definitely help with how your chest may look post surgery.

But this focus misses a key part of top surgery, and this is the recovery process.

Because it’s easy to focus on that end goal when it comes to affirming surgeries. And that’s totally valid. It’s an exciting time and one that is so often life changing.

But it’s really important to remember that there will be a significant period of time that you will need to be recovering.

And during this time, you are not going to be able to function at the same capacity that you did prior to surgery.

So there are some practices that you can start in the lead up to your surgery that can make the recovery period far more comfortable.



Training to Prepare for Top Surgery

In the lead up to your surgery you can begin moving and training your body to develop strength in your legs and core as well as your whole body.

I’d recommend starting at least 3 months before your surgery date. This will give you a good amount of time for your body to adapt to training and then begin to develop some muscle growth and strength.

Just be mindful strength training takes time. It is not something that develops in weeks. But it will develop over months. This is why it’s a great idea to begin moving as early as possible.

There are an abundance of exercises that you can practice that would help develop stronger legs and core. And they don’t have to be complex.

The best thing to do is keep the movements simple.

Here are some recommended exercises…

For legs, focus on squats, lunges and deadlifts.

And for your core, practice tension holds like planks. You can also do crunches and leg tucks as well as rotation movements like Russian twists or side bends to target your obliques.

Now these exercises can be incorporated into any program that you may be practicing to build pec and upper body definition as well.

If you wanted to put it into a program it may look a little something like this…


Three example training sessions to prepare for top surgery... Session 1 Squat (BW or Weighted): 10-15 reps for 3-5 sets. Lunge steps (alternating/single side) (B/W or Weighted): 10-15 reps for 3-5 sets each leg. Plank (Inclined/Knees/Toes): Up to 30 seconds for 3-5 sets. Session 2 Hip Raise (BW or Weighted): 10-15 reps for 3-5 sets. Push Up (Inclined/Knees/Toes): 6-12 reps for 3-5 sets. Squat Jump: 5-8 reps for 3-5 sets. Session 3 Leg Tucks: 10-15 reps for 3-5 sets. Single Leg Deadlift (BW or Weighted): 6-12 reps for 3-5 reps each leg. Russian Twist (BW or Weighted): 12-16 alternating reps for 3-5 reps.


These sessions could be practiced in circuit form or by completing all sets and reps of one exercise (with an up to 3min rest after each set) before moving to the next exercise.

This program is an excellent place to help you start moving. But just remember that while it’s pretty well rounded, there are plenty of other ways that are beneficial your you to move your body.

And having access to a few pieces of training equipment like a kettlebell or a couple dumbbells can also broaden the range of movements you have access to.


Recovery After Top Surgery

After top surgery or a chest reduction, you’re not gonna be able to use your arms much.

You may not realise just how much you use your arms until you can’t. If you’ve had an arm injury before you may be aware of this, But you probably still had use of one arm.

But not being able to move either of your arms much is going to be pretty limiting for you. And other areas of your body are going to be compensating for this. Particularly your stomach muscles and your leg muscles.

Moving yourself around if your laying down or sitting are going to become very dependent on the strength of your core and legs.

So it’s really important that in the lead up to work to develop some core strength and stability as well as leg strength.

Side note… we have a 2-part podcast series about how to stay active while caring for your scars. This is something you might also want to check out if you’re considering, leading up to or have just recently had top surgery.



Now if you struggle with motivation or don’t feel comfortable working through new movements on your own, you’re in good hands friend.

We have a number of training subscriptions that are available for folks that are looking for some guidance from an experienced coach. This training can help you work towards your top surgery goals.

And if you need help with training but are strapped for funds, (because affirming surgeries aren’t cheap) reach out and let us know. We will do everything we can to help you out.

Bowie Stover Thinking Pose

Bowie Stover

Pronouns: they/them

My passion to help others through developing an active and healthy lifestyle, along with my desire to contribute as much as I can back to our queer community, has led me to co-found Non Gendered Fitness. To be a small part of your day that makes a HUGE impact on your life would be one of the most gratifying and rewarding experiences that I could hope to have.

Download the app. Daily Training Sessions. Habit Coaching. Join The Community. Start Now.

Get in touch

Got any questions about this episode?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you!

Would you like to learn about how we may be able to support you?
Feel free to go to our contact page and send us a message.

Interested in online training?
Jump in and try out our 7 day free trial.



You can also find me (Bowie), Non Gendered Fitness (NGF) and Non Gendered Fitness (NGF) on instagram and Facebook at the links below.

Bowie: @the.no.t.enbie
NGF: @non_gendered_fitness



Non Gendered Fitness FB Page

Non Binary Fitness Coach Bowie Stover kneeling with two kettlebells

Bowie Stover
Kettlebell and Movement Coach

Other Episodes You Might Like…

[Episode 76] How Do Muscles Grow

[Episode 76] How Do Muscles Grow

In this episode we will be continuing on with our look at important things you need to know about the body. Next in this mini-series, we talk about the question, ‘how do muscles grow?’     Because one of the most common things I hear folks say when they...

read more

What did you think of this podcast episode?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest