Breast Cancer Awareness Month: The Workout for Post-Mastectomy Strength Recovery

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a cause that is close to our hearts here at Dallas Iron Fitness. It’s likely that there is someone in your life who has fought this cancer, or maybe that person is you. If that’s the case, we’re here for you, cheering you on.

The statistics are staggering: 1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their lifetimes. For women in the U.S., breast cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosis, second only to lung cancer. And on average, 88.4 out of every 100,000 women in the U.S. will undergo a mastectomy.

So we’re offering a post-mastectomy workout for the powerful ladies out there who are starting to rebuild your strength!


As always, we suggest you consult with your doctor to get medical clearance for your exercise regimen, and then seek a personal trainer for customized fitness instruction.


10 Over-Your-Head Stretches

  • Begin by lying on your back with your arms extended directly by your side.’

  • Channel your inner kid on the first snow: raise both your arms together, keeping them extended, as thought you are making a snow angel. Your arms should remain extended as you reach them up over your head.

  • Stretch them long over your head, then lower them back to your side in the same motion, just reverse.

Do 10 of these stretches.

10 Deep Breaths

Now let’s channel your inner yogi for some deep breathing.

  • Remaining in your lying position, take 10 deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly so that you fill your lungs and empty your lungs completely.


10 Leg Iron Crosses

We’ll finish out this portion of our warm-up with another stretch for your hips and lower back.

  • Make your body into a cross shape: your arms extended out on either side of you, with your legs extended below.

  • Take your right leg, and cross it over the left, extending it into a position that is most comfortable for you. Continue breathing as you allow this stretch to remain for 5 seconds.

  • Return to your beginning cross position with legs extended and next to each other.

  • Switch to the same motion with the opposite leg.

Do 10 leg iron crosses.


12 Machine Chest Fly

Using your gym’s chest fly machine, you’ll do 12 of these exercises.

Please note: Weights for this machine will be dependent on your personal strength level. We suggest getting a medical clearance from your MD and then seeking the advice of a personal trainer for your individualized medical recovery needs.

12 Push Ups

This is your classic push-up, using just your body weight. You can also do 12 modified push ups, where you allow your knees to rest on the ground rather than doing the push ups in a plank position.

After you finish the first set of these two exercises, complete 2 additional sets.


12 Dumbbell Overhead Presses

  • Begin standing position, your feet shoulder-distance apart.

  • Hold your dumbbells shoulder-distance apart in front of you, with your arms bent and palms facing each other.

  • Raise your arms over your head until your arms are completely extended. Your arms should remain shoulder distance apart for this entire motion.

  • Lower back to starting position.

Do 12 dumbbell overhead presses.

PLEASE NOTE: Like we mentioned in the machine chest fly exercise, dumbbell weight will be dependent on your personal strength level. We suggest getting a medical clearance from your MD and then seeking the advice of a personal trainer for your individualized medical recovery needs.

12 Side Arm Raises

You’ll need lightweight dumbbells (between 2-3lbs) for side arm raises.

  • Begin with your arms at your side, straight, though make sure your elbows are not locked.

  • Raise your arms straight out to shoulder length, going no higher than your shoulders. Do this slowly, inhaling as you raise your arms.

  • Lower your arms, exhaling, until you begin in your starting position.

Do 12 side arm raises.

Once you have completed one set of these two exercises, repeat two times.

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Dallas Iron Fitness can help you reclaim your strength with a variety of fitness services to meet your needs: