I’m a 61-year-old man who recently had surgery to repair a ruptured disc in my lumbar region. I want to get back my old levels of strength and flexibility but am concerned about pushing too hard. Are there any exercises I should absolutely avoid?
As someone who underwent back surgery myself in recent years I can tell you that I’ve had to modify my own training. As I’m sure you know by now, lower back surgery can be a blessing if you were suffering, as I was, from chronic pain. However, sometimes that surgery can lead to other issues, and although they are certainly less distressing, they too need to be taken into consideration, especially when exercising.
Since everyone who undergoes back surgery has a different experience I can only speak for myself when talking about exercises to avoid. You may have found yourself more or less limited than I, but being that you’re just 61 and I’m nearly 88 I would assume that you’ve got more mobility than me at this point.
Personally, I need to stay away from lower back exercises like hyperextensions and deadlifts. Bent-over rows are difficult for me too. However, I do find that seated cable rows offer a good alternative for back training for me. They put little in the way of pressure on the spine, but still hit most of the muscles of the back.
My advice to you is to find a good physiotherapist – someone who deals in sports medicine. They can look at your X-rays, do some simple tests and find the best plan of action for you as you work to build strength and flexibility back into your body.