Exercise with lipedema: strength training, yes or no?

When I was diagnosed with lipedema, I was promptly advised to give up strength training in the gym. I quickly asked myself the question: Can weight training really be that bad for people with lipedema? My conclusion: a very clear one Nein!

I used to go to the gym 2-3 times a week and train there on the strength circuit. I've never had a typical athletic, lean figure, so I decided to convert the excess fat into muscle - a good plan I thought!
According to my doctor, however, my legs and arms would appear even wider through strength training than they already are through lipedema.

So I reduced the strength training on the machines and switched to full-body training with my own body weight. Full-body training can be done wonderfully at home or in the great outdoors and you don't have to rely on a gym.

Through training we can achieve good core stability. We need this for an upright posture, which also benefits us when jogging. As a result, we run faster and don't tire so quickly.

Many women are afraid that the strength training will train huge mountains of muscles - I can reassure you. If you do something for your strength and stability in the body 2-3 times a week, you will not build up large muscle mass.

I have written down my TOP 3 exercises for you at home:


Stressed muscles: Chest and shoulder muscles

Variant 1:


Variant 2:



Attention: Maintain a straight posture, flat like a board, ideally in front of a mirror!
Stressed muscles: Abdominal and back muscles


Sit ups

Pre-mix: Do not get any momentum when lifting from the upper body
Stressed muscles:
abdominal muscles


Finally, the Blackroll is used again. You don't know the Blackroll yet? Then Caroline has an article for you here.
So that there are no sore muscles the next day 😉

Here are the Blackroll in orange.

If you already go to a gym, work out on the machines there and are happy with it - then continue your strength training! Everyone has to find their own way. Personally, I find strength / full body training to be a great way to tone our bodies and get them in shape.

Just try it out and have fun.
Have fun sweating

lipoedem mode handwriting Laura

Author: Laura

I'm Laura, 24 years old and live in Bingen in Rhineland-Palatinate. Professionally, I work in a bank. I have successfully completed a degree in nutrition and am a Nordic walking trainer. I had seen lipedema fashion and thought it was amazing the energy with which the five women built this site. It gave me courage and I would like to pass this courage on to other people with lipedema. Therefore I am writing about all my new experiences with lipedema.

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  • Liebe Laura,
    many thanks!!! 🙂 About the Blackroll Orange: which one are you using here? There are 3 different ones and I can't decide yet. ^^ Is there also the other company "Blackroll", is there a difference or are they just different providers? 🙂

    How many reps / minutes do you do on the plank?

    Many thanks & best regards

  • Dear Anne,

    Blackroll is now available from many different providers. The difference here lies in the hardness of the Blackroll and the surface. I can recommend the Blackroll from the blog entry, which is linked there. You will also receive a great poster with lots of exercises and let off steam ;-).

    There are 3 colors:
    1. white BR: level 1 - soft
    2nd black BR: Level 2 - a little harder
    2nd orange BR: level 3 - hard

    It's best to just start with the plank and feel your way here. I started with 3 x 30 seconds with a 1 minute break each time. But every body is different and you shouldn't measure yourself against other people - just listen to your body ;-).

    Many greetings & have fun

  • I do strength training in the gym and I train hard, like men do with heavy weights. During an episode of lipedema, I almost gave up training because I didn't understand what my body was doing and I didn't know what lipedema was and that I had it. I have no muscle mountains, not even really visible muscles, I just eat and don't have a large calorie deficit. But I had a pants size less than I was well trained. Since I've been wearing Kompri, I haven't worn pants and I can't compare.

  • Hello BillieGirl,

    that sounds great. Keep it up! I also think very, very much about weight training 🙂


  • Hello…
    I was diagnosed with lipedema on my thighs for about 9 days!
    I've been in the gym since November 2016 and train very hard ... of course I didn't know I had lipedema back then!
    I currently have a training plan of 1 day of strength training and 1 day of endurance alternating!
    I am in the gym 3 to 5 times a week ...
    I am now worried about the strength training I do about 1 1 / 2h alternating between machines ... of course I notice a pull on my thigh every now and then!
    Can I still continue like this or should I do a little less?
    I would like to lose 7 kilos then with a height of 160cm I have my 60 kilos back!
    Thank you

    • Hello dear Jasmin,

      as long as it is good for you personally, you can in principle do anything! Weight training is a good way to increase your energy expenditure. Do you already have your compression stockings?

      Best regards,

  • Hi Laura,

    you're all of normal weight here in the blog. I have been diagnosed with lymph / lipedema since the end of 2012. At the time I weighed around 85 kg, which was not much for me. I did aqua fitness for quite a while, went jogging and attended a boot camp. In the course of time, my complaints and pain got worse and worse during and especially after exercise.

    I have and had to struggle with a strong tingling sensation, which almost feels like little bites, and after exercising I hardly get up the stairs at all. After aqua fitness and even after normal fitness training in the studio, my arms are so heavy for two days afterwards that I even find it difficult to get cups out of the upper cabinets in the kitchen or to hold the steering wheel in the car ...

    My question is: do you / do you not have any pain while exercising? In the meantime, I hardly dare to do anything in sport (courses for aqua jogging are offered in my area at impossible times) and even in the gym I no longer know what other exercises to do. I don't train my legs anymore, otherwise I would whimper after 10 minutes ...

    My lipedema has definitely gotten worse. Due to stress and the wrong diet - but also due to the lack of exercise - I've now reached almost 100 kg again.

    By the way, my doctor prescribes flat-knitted, custom-made stockings. Of course, I also wear these when doing sports. I would like to do more strength training and endurance training again, just like when I did my “best times”. Maybe you have some advice for me how I can do this without being in pain?

    Best regards,

    • Hello dear Jessica,

      Laura asked us to answer you - as if you were not of normal weight 🙂

      Anja and I have been able to lose weight significantly through exercise and diet and I can tell you from my experience that I know these stitches. I only had them jogging recently and I've learned to skip them. In time they stop with me as long as I keep the effort. And that's my hottest tip for you too. Especially in endurance training you can outgrow this pain by simply continuing to run. At some point I noticed that the pain was gone. My calves were still heavy, but at least they didn't sound the alarm in my head. I think it's important to move and exert yourself despite the pain, because relieving posture is simply counterproductive.

      Best regards,

  • hey 🙂
    I find it very nice to see that you are not the only one who has such problems.
    My problem is that I'm in the riot police, which means I already do a lot of sports (martial arts, boxing, endurance, strength).
    However, in some missions I sometimes stand for 10-14 hours.
    Since then I've definitely got wider and heavier, I've definitely surpassed my weight limit (i.e. my personal one) I've never been so heavy and I have problems getting into my pants, which honestly depresses me and me extremely I do not know whether it is due to lipedema or to built-up muscle mass because the tissue ... there is no difference to be seen before. 🙁

  • Hello 🙂
    Would it make sense to wear compression tights while exercising? I go to the gym 4 times a week and do strength training. Opinions on whether it is good or not differ but I've read that it makes the legs and buttocks firmer. Got it on my thighs too. And I feel good about weight training. I don't see any difference, but I have the feeling that it's better.
    Greetings Jessica

    • Hello dear Jessie,

      In general, movement is the be-all and end-all in compression. It's best to wear them during exercise, if it's feasible for you. If not, compression sports pants could also be a solution. You can find more articles here on the page 🙂

      Best regards,

  • Hallo,

    I just stumbled upon this post and I also have a question:

    Briefly to me: I am 33 years old / normal weight / stage II type III / lipedema for 20 years

    I have already had 3 operations on my legs that did not help. The pain and swelling are still there. My body has changed since the last operation. So far I only had lipedema very slightly in my arms but clenched in my legs. Now the edema moves to the arms, hips and buttocks. My surgeon no longer wants to treat me and said I should come to terms with it. I'm trying to do this now but unfortunately it doesn't work out with the sport ...

    I have tried to do sports over and over again in recent years and have tried pretty much all sports. It was always the same! After exercising for the first time, my legs and arms swell so badly that I can't get into my jeans or my tops (arms) for at least a week. I feel really bad. Everything is much more swollen than usual and also hurts more. Because of this insane malaise I let it go again and again and gave up after a few times. Of course I always did sports with flat knit stockings, which in itself is hell and it didn't bring any relief either. I would love to do some real sport. But I don't know what else to do if I'm always so swollen and in pain after exercising.

    Do you have a tip ???

    Greetings Bianca

    • Hello dear Bianca,

      have you already tried aqua jogging or cycling? The water pressure should actually prevent this swelling and the training is really exhausting if used correctly 🙂

      Lovely wishes

  • Dear Laura ... I came across your site and I am happy that you want to encourage other lipedema patients. I have some questions and I would be happy if you would get in touch with.

    Kind regards Nadja

  • You write nonsense!
    You can't turn fat into muscle. It is better to do some research beforehand before you give such a nudge.
    Strength training melts fat and builds muscle, but it doesn't turn fat into muscle.

  • Hello Darling,
    if you continue to do the exercises like this, you could develop joint problems in a few years.
    1. For nicer pecs, keep your elbows close to your body.
    2. The hands should not be wider than shoulder width.
    3. Elbows should be shoulder-width apart when doing the plank.
    4. Look up during sit-ups and don't curl your neck.
    5. The LWS remains completely on the ground.
    Continued success!