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Sit-Ups & Hernias: 8 Answers You Should Know

A hernia is a nasty injury. It can cause a great deal of discomfort and pain, and you’ll likely need surgery to fix it.

If you’re unfortunate enough to suffer any type of hernia, it’s important to know whether you should exercise or not.

So, in this article, we discuss how sit-ups can impact a hernia.

We talk about whether you should do sit-ups with a hernia, whether sit-ups could help a hernia or actually cause one in the first place, as well as whether sit-ups may or may not be possible after hernia surgery.

Man doing a sit-up outside

Can You Do Sit-Ups With A Hernia?

Hiatal Hernia

If you have a hiatal hernia, you should avoid doing any exercise (or activity) that puts excessive strain on your abdominal muscles.

With this type of hernia, picking up something that you might consider light, such as a bag of groceries, or a box of your belongings can actually have a negative impact on your hernia symptoms and future recovery.

When you do sit-ups, there’s a lot of pressure being put on your abdominal muscles.

This means that sit-ups could be an extremely bad idea to do if you have a hiatal hernia.

If you’re at all unsure as to whether you can do sit-ups with a hiatal hernia or not, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor who’ll be able to give you a definitive answer as to whether you should do them or not.

However, as a general rule, sit-ups with a hiatal hernia isn’t normally recommended or advised.

Inguinal Hernia

You can usually do some forms of exercise if you have an inguinal hernia although you should always listen to your medical team and follow their advice carefully.

With this type of hernia, some people don’t require immediate surgery and live a relatively normal life for years before surgery is needed.

If you don’t have any symptoms or pain, you’ll probably be able to carry on with your day-to-day life (and do some exercise) without too many issues.

However, any exercise you do will have to be light and not put any pressure on your hernia.

Exercise such as walking, swimming, and cycling are likely to be the best suited to training when you have an inguinal hernia, but some weight lifting could very well be possible as long as your technique is completely correct and safe.

Sit-ups aren’t usually recommended if you have an inguinal hernia, but, like with other exercises, if you have no symptoms and pain, they could be possible.

Speaking with your medical team and taking on board everything they say will be your best course of action when deciding whether you should do sit-ups or not.

Umbilical Hernia

An umbilical hernia is usually caused by excessive pressure being placed on your abdomen.

This means that any exercise or movement that puts more pressure on your abdominal muscles (like sit-ups) will likely need to be avoided to prevent the injury from getting worse.

As always, your doctor will be the best person to speak to as to whether doing sit-ups with an umbilical hernia is a good idea for you or not.

Are Sit-Ups Good or Bad For Hernias?

Hiatal Hernia

As a general rule, sit-ups will be bad for a hiatal hernia.

However, after examining the injury, your doctor may deem it acceptable to do some exercise that may include sit-ups.

This would be quite rare though as any stress placed on your abdomen can quite easily make your condition worse.

Sit-ups could make your hiatal hernia worse so a great deal of care needs to be taken if you’re considering doing them.

Inguinal Hernia

While exercise is usually possible for some people with an inguinal hernia, sit-ups won’t necessarily be your best (or safest option).

Your doctor may advise that sit-ups can help keep you active while you have an inguinal hernia. However, they may also advise you to avoid this type of exercise until you have fully recovered.

Whatever your doctor advises will be the best course of action for you.

Sit-ups might not be as bad for an inguinal hernia as other types of hernia but they’re still unlikely to be particularly good for it either.

Umbilical Hernia

Sit-ups are extremely unlikely to be good for an umbilical hernia. 

With this type of hernia, any stress placed on your abdominal muscles could very easily make your condition worse.

As sit-ups place a lot of pressure on your core and abdominal muscles, they won’t be a good idea to perform with an umbilical hernia.

Can Too Many Sit-Ups Cause A Hernia?

Yes and no.

Hernias tend to be caused by pressure being placed on parts of your body (commonly your abdomen) that allows an organ or fatty tissue to push through a weakness in the muscle wall and surrounding tissues.

While the weakness in your muscle wall won’t have anything to do with sit-ups, the pressure the exercise places on your abs could be enough to trigger a hernia.

Sit-ups won’t necessarily be the only factor that causes a hernia, but they can certainly be the final factor that causes the injury.

How To Do Sit-Ups With A Hernia

The very simple answer to this is either extremely carefully or not at all.

In most cases, sit-ups should be avoided completely if you have a hernia.

However, if your doctor says they are ok to do, then you might be able to do some form of sit-ups while you wait for your hernia surgery.

If this is the case, extreme care will need to be taken to ensure you don’t make things worse.

Can Sit-Ups Make A Hernia Worse?

Yes, in some situations, sit-ups can make a hernia worse.

It’ll be dependent on the type of hernia you have and how severe it is.

However, in many cases, sit-ups certainly can make a hernia worse.

Can Sit-Ups Prevent A Hernia?

Possibly, but there’s no guarantee.

Having a strong core and abdominal muscles can help reduce your chances of a hernia happening, but sometimes, your muscle wall will be naturally weaker increasing your chances of getting a hernia regardless of what exercises you do.

Can You Do Sit-Ups After Hernia Surgery?

Person having hernia surgery

Normally, you won’t be able to do any exercise for a while after hernia surgery.

In some cases though, sit-ups will need to be avoided for much longer.

There may also be some instances where sit-ups will have to be avoided in the long term with alternative exercises being put into your training to replace them.

As always, your medical team will offer you the best advice when it comes to the aftercare associated with hernia surgery.

How Long After Hernia Surgery Can You Do Sit-Ups?

Most people who undergo successful and uncomplicated hernia surgery can start exercising around 6 – 8 weeks after the surgery.

While you should only be doing very light exercise and building up the intensity gradually, this is a common timeframe that many people recovering from hernia surgery meet.

Sit-ups (and other core exercises) should be reintroduced slowly, carefully, and at a very low intensity.

If you experience any pain or discomfort, sit-ups should be immediately stopped until you have spoken to your doctor.

That’s all for this article, but how many sit-ups should a 15 year old do? Or can you do sit-ups with scoliosis?

Hope this helped!


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