Top Surgery Stretches: 14 Stretches FTM Top Surgery

4 min

top surgery

Top Surgery is the #1 life-changing transgender surgery (gender reassignment surgery). It instantly alleviates dysphoria and after surgery heals 79% of transgender depression associated with the body image.

You may not have been aware that there are exercises after ftm top surgery that you should begin as soon as your doctor approved.

These stretches help with the tight, pulling feeling in your chest that is common after top surgery. Doing these exercises after gender reassignment surgery will help prevent frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis), shoulder impingement, postural issues, and possible dislocations.

Top Surgery & Frozen Shoulder

Picture This…

You’re laying in bed at home watching Netflix with a plate of your favorite food, recovering from top surgery. Its 10 pm on a Friday night and as you scroll Instagram you can’t help the ear to ear smile on your face as you feel your gender dysphoria fade.

You just had a life-changing surgery and for once as you fall asleep you feel like everything is going to be alright.

The next morning a loud clap of thunder followed by rain pattering on your window wakes you up. While you reach for your phone from the charger but instead, a shooting pain jolts up your arm. It won’t move. Giving your body a second to wake up, you try again but this time the pain is worse.

No matter how hard you try to move it, your arm is stuck in a downward position at your side and your DR tells you it could be years before you have a full range of motion again.

It’s important you start working on your range of motion with these exercises after a mastectomy as soon as your doctor approves you. You want to wait until your doctor gives you the go-ahead because if it’s too soon you could risk stretching your scars.

Post-op you will notice your chest feels very tight.

Here are 10 exercises you need to do after your ftm chest surgery. You can do all of these from home and heal yourself as fast as possible.

14 Stretches After Top Surgery

shoulder circles

top surgery
shoulder circles
  1. Stand straight. Imagine a string at the top of your head pulling you tall.
  2. Keep your arms relaxed.
  3. Shrug your shoulders up toward your ears, then up and back. Circle your shoulders down and back, like you’re sliding your hands down into your back pants pockets.
  4. Repeat the circles 10 times whenever you feel tense.

arm lifts

  1. Clasp your hands together in front of your chest.
  2. Slowly lift your arms above your head until you feel a gentle stretch, but no pain.
  3. Hold for 3 seconds and then back down.
  4. Repeat 10 times.


  1. Relax your shoulders.
  2. Slowly lift your shoulders up
  3. Gently lower them.
  4. Repeat 10 times.

Arm Circles

  1. Stand with your arms relaxed.
  2. Lift one arm out from your side, but don’t raise it higher than the range of motion recommended by your doctor.
  3. Holding your arm straight, slowly make small circles in the air. (Use your shoulder muscles to make the movement)

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is very important for the healing process. It helps to

  1. Take a slow, deep breath through your nose.
  2. Breath in as much air as you can while trying to fill your chest and stomach like a balloon.
  3. Breath out slowly, completely emptying your chest and stomach of air.
  4. Repeat 5 times.

Side Bends

  1. Sit in a chair and clasp your hands together in your lap.
  2. Slowly lift your arms over your head.
  3. Bend at your waist to move your body to the right.
  4. Hold this position for 3 seconds.
  5. Slowly move your body to the left, holding for 3 seconds.
  6. Repeat 10 times on each side.

Body Turn

  1. Sitting or standing with your back straight and feet on the floor, cross your arms over your chest so your hands rest on or near your shoulders.
  2. Slowly turn your torso and head to the left until you feel a comfortable tightness.
  3. Arms still crossed, return facing frontward, then slowly turn to the right.
  4. Repeat 10 times.

Back Climb

  1. Place the affected arm behind your back.
  2. Resting your hand against your back, reach your fingers upward toward your shoulder blades.
  3. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then lower your arm.

Side Wall Crawl

  1. Stand with your side to the wall.
  2. Place the palm of your hand flat against the wall.
  3. Slowly slide your hand up the wall as high as you can go until you feel a stretch.
  4. Hold for 3 seconds.
  5. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
  6. Switch sides.

shoulder blade squeeze

  1. Sit or stand tall with your arms at your sides.
  2. Shoulders relaxed and down (not shrugged).
  3. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for 6 seconds, then relax.
  4. Repeat 15 times.

wand raise (You can use a cane or broomstick)

transgender surgery
wand raise
  1. Lie on your back and hold a stick in both hands. palms down.
  2. Start with the stick at your waist and slowly raise it above your head and back again.
  3. Hold the stretch for 2 seconds.
  4. Repeat 10 times

winging it

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent.
  2. Move your elbows apart towards the ground until you feel a gentle stretch, but no pain.
  3. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds and then slowly return to the start position.
  4. Repeat 10 times.

wall angel

transgender surgery
wall angels
  1. To begin, find empty wall space.
  2. Stand flat against the wall. Your heels, hips, and spine should be as close to the wall as possible.
  3. Start with arms down along sides or at a 90-degree angle (parallel to the floor)
  4. Slowly slide arms up the wall until the are above your head.
  5. Hold for 2 seconds and back down.
  6. Repeat 10 times.

Forward Wall Climb

  1. Face the wall, standing straight.
  2. Reach right arm forward to touch the wall. Walk your fingers up the wall, in fingertip increments. Take steps toward the wall as needed.
  3. Work towards bringing your body up to the wall, hold, then walk fingers back down.
  4. Repeat with left arm.


Binding pulls the shoulders into a bad position and can wreak havoc on your posture. If you had been binding for a while before top surgery your shoulder posture may be setting you up for future injury.

Try practicing these stretches as well as some being mindful of good posture while healing from top surgery.

Frequent massages post-op can have amazing benefits in helping you heal faster and preventing frozen shoulder.

To promote the healing process you want to be eating the right foods to help you heal.

Once you fully heal there are a few unbelievably easy exercises to help you get your dream chest.

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