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Training and breast cancer | 5 essential exercises

What are some exercises that benefit women diagnosed with breast cancer? We asked personal trainer and fitness coach Scott Keppel about training and post breast cancer recovery. He’s been certified in post breast cancer training and recovery since 2011 and agreed to share his 5 essential exercises.

Before you begin

Exercise improves fitness and the quality of life and it also reduces symptoms such as fatigue and pain. That’s why exercise is a crucial part of post-cancer recovery. Before you start exercising, get approval from your oncologist (cancer doctor), as exercise recommendations should be tailored to each individual. Remember to start slowly and safely.

Bent over Y-T-A’s

yta-1 yta-2 yta-3


2×10, supersets

How to do this exercise

  1.  Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and hinge from the hips, keeping your chest lifted. Your spine should be slightly extended and straight and your chin drawn into your chest.
  2. Extend both arms overhead by your ears, making a Y shape, thumbs facing up to the ceiling.
  3. Without moving your body, reach both arms straight out to the sides of your shoulders into a T shape, palms facing down to the floor.
  4. Complete the move with the letter A. Press your arms down and back by your hips, squeezing your shoulder blades together, keeping your thumbs to the ceiling, palms facing your body

Resistance band rear delts or reverse flies (in squat position)

band-rear-delts-1 band-rear-delts-2


2×12–15, supersets

How to do this exercise

  1. Anchor the resistance band securely at about mid-chest level and hold one end in each hand while in a squatting position.
  2. Pull arms slightly out squeezing shoulder blades together and keep your back flat and chest up. On inhale, bring arms back to starting position.

Resistant band rows (with palms in and in squat position)

band-row-1 band-row-2



How to do this exercise

  1. Anchor the resistance band securely at about mid-chest level and hold one end in each hand.
  2. Step away from the anchor point until the band is pulled tight (step further away for more resistance, closer for less).
  3. Stand with feet hip-width apart and extend your arms in front of your body, palms facing in. Lower into a squat.
  4. Staying in a squatting position, row arms back by bending your elbows outside of your torso.
  5. Repeat by extending your arms back out.

Arm bent 90-degrees elbow in close to body open arm out to side

arms-bent-90-degrees-1 arms-bent-90-degrees-2


2×15 each arm

How to do this exercise

  1. Standing tall with core engaged keep your elbows as close to your body as possible.
  2. Slowly open your hands out to the side while keeping our elbows in and chest open.
  3. Once you reach our full range of motion, slowly pull hands in to starting position and repeat.

Hip rotation

hip-rotation-1 hip-rotation-2 hip-rotation-3


2×15–20 forward and backward (40 each)

How to do this exercise

  1. Get on all fours so that your hands are shoulder width apart and your knees are straight below your hips.
  2. Bracing your abdominals and keeping your knee bent lift one leg up  and out to side then slowly rotate your knee from front to back for desired reps then the opposite direction for the same amount of reps.
  3. Focus on core remaining tight and do not allow our body to twist.

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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.

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