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Welcome to Week Seven of The Chrysalis Method:


“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending - he turned into a butterfly.”


This quote is so fitting for not only your body, but also Chrysalis. The Chrysalis of a cocoon is the protective stage surrounding a caterpillar before it emerges into a butterfly. Our company, Chrysalis, is the protective stage a woman goes through after surgery before emerging into a butterfly. It’s sometimes difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but after six full weeks of recovery, hopefully women can start to see that light and embrace their new breasts regardless if they’ve been augmented, lifted, reduced, explanted or reconstructed. Your body is yours and nobody else’s, so take a moment to embrace it and love yourself. 

Regaining range of motion

Most surgeons give clearance to increase your upper body activities after 6 weeks. It’s important to remember that every person’s surgery is different, and every surgeon is different with his/her recommendations. 

Just as important as rest is in the early weeks, activity is equally important to recover. As stated previously, movement can help reduce the risk of blood clots, keep your bowels moving, decrease risk of muscle atrophy and muscle contractures, and decrease levels of cortisol which is associated with your mood (anxiety, depression, irritability). 

Finding that balance of how much activity is right for you is key when recovering. 

Since you’ve opted to participate in this program and you’re already taking an active approach to your healthy recovery, beginning the movement in your upper body muscles now is an exciting step to begin. Your arm muscles have been resting and may feel weak and/or tight at this point in your recovery. 

If you’re unable to achieve full range of motion without pain, it is recommended that you get evaluated by a physical therapist to gain back full range of motion and manage any muscle atrophy or contractures that may have developed.

Weekly Tip:

This week’s tip is unique because it's not a physical tip, but rather a mental tip. 

Your goal/tip of the week is to look in the mirror every single morning (perhaps when your brushing your teeth each morning as a reminder) and state something that you love about yourself. 

We as women tend to criticize ourselves and not recognize our positive attributes. Thus, forcing yourself to say out loud while looking in the mirror something positive and different each day is an excellent exercise that we should all practice. 

Please share your thoughts around this exercise in the group forum


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Movements Week 7

Movements: Week 7

You will most likely be cleared for upper body at this point. Remember that everyone is unique and if your surgeon still advises that you continue with no weights and/or strict upper body restrictions, you need to listen to his/her recommendations above the general guidelines of Chrysalis.

Check with your surgeon and if given clearance for upper body, level-one does not include any weights, but it does include range of motion in all upper body directions and you will need to sign your upper body waiver prior to access.

In addition to the movements in the video, don’t forget to get your endurance training in. Try and walk for 25- to 30-minute increments, or another endurance activity. Always pick 1-2 rest days during the week so your muscles have time to recover. For a total of 5-6 days of activities use a combination of the endurance training and exercises. If you’ve been cleared for upper body, be sure and add those to your lower body exercises.


Endurance Training: 3-4 days this week of treadmill walking, recumbent biking, stairmaster climbing, or stationary armed elliptical. Do NOT use arms on these machines!!

Boost your intensity level up to 70% of your HRM (If you’re keeping track of your heart rate and tracking intensity). Try to do 20-25 minutes of activity on one of these activities keeping your heart rate in that 70% range. On the other 3-4 days do your exercises so you alternate your cardio days with your exercise days this week.



If last week was easy and you’re not having any problems with pain, you may increase your exercise intensity by adding more resistance by tightening your bands or increasing the amount of repetitions you perform. Do all of these exercises 3 times/week with at least one day in between. Do NOT do these on consecutive days.


     1. Standing Chest Stretch with Large Ball

       o   Hold 20-30 Seconds
       o   Repeat 3 times

With the large ball between your back and the wall, gently outstretch your arms in a T position creating a supported stretch in your chest and spine. Stop when you feel resistance and always stop if you feel pain. A stretch is different from a pain, so it’s important to discuss this with your surgeon or physical therapist for clarification. Hold the stretch for about 20 seconds and then relax your arms at your sides.

     2. Bridge-Ups

       o   15 reps
       o   3 sets total

Laying on your back with your hands at your sides and your knees bent. Keep your core tight. Push up into a bridge position squeezing your butt muscles, hold for 3 seconds then release slowly back down onto your back and relax your butt muscles. 


     3. Clock Lunges

       o   10 reps each leg
       o   3 sets total

Stand with one leg on the floor in a stationary position. This foot will remain in the same position while the other foot lunges in three directions. Slowly lower down into a stationary lunge straight in front at 12:00. As with all lunges, keep a 90-degree angle in the front knee and don’t let the knee go over the toes. 

Think about going straight down and straight up and not forward and backward. Return to starting position. Next lunge to the side at 3:00, then return to starting position. Lastly, lunge behind you at 6:00, then return to starting position.


     4. Plie Squat

       o   10 reps each leg
       o   3 sets total

Stand with your legs as wide as safely and comfortably possible with your toes pointing outward. Keep your hands on your sides or clasped in front of you close to your chest. Perform a squat as low as you can keeping your back straight and upright. When you come back to stand, squeeze your butt muscles.


     5. Upper Trap Stretch

       o  20-30 second hold on each side
       o  3 sets total

In a seated position, relax your shoulders down in neutral. Bend your head to the side attempting to touch your ear to your shoulder without raising your shoulder up. Next, take your arm on the opposite side of the head bend and gently grasp the underside of the chair that you are sitting in. (You can also place the palm of this hand under your buttocks if that’s more comfortable). Then take your opposite arm on the same side that the head is bending to and apply a very gentle pressure to the top of your head creating an additional stretch. 


     6. Levator Scapulae Stretch

        o  20-30 second hold on each side
        o  3 sets total

In a seated position, relax your shoulders down in neutral. Bend your neck forward and toward one knee. The same knee that your nose if facing, you will apply gentle pressure on the top of your head. The opposite arm will come to the side and slightly behind your back creating an additional stretch in your neck. 


Recap of Week 7 Exercises:

  • Standing Large Ball Chest stretch

  • Bridge-Ups

  • Stationary Lunges in Clock Rotation

  • Plie Squat

  • Upper Trap Stretch

  • Levator Scapulae Stretch


Total of 6 exercises for week 7. Perform all 6 exercises 3 times during week 7 every other day. Perform your endurance training 20-25 minute increments on alternating days from your strengthening exercises.

You are well on your way to recovery in week seven. Congratulations on coming so far in a short period of time. Definitely tackle this week's tip -- even if it might sound uncomfortable to you. You will be amazed at what a little affirmation can do for your psyche. Jump in the forum and let your fellow Chrysalis members hear how it went. 


Lauren Simpson, DPT

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