Lifting weights with injury?

Hi heres a bit of background info,

16 years old
6 feet tall
160 pounds
haven’t been gunned in a while but im probably approaching 80mph

and the tricky part, 18 months ago i had surgery on my lower back. L4 L5 spinal fusion with screws put in. Now hold on, whenever i tell people that they think im made of glass, my surgeon said im free to do whatever as long as there is not to much pain and no contact sports. My question is that i want to put on some weight, muscle, because i think it would help my all around in baseball but im a bit apprehensive with squating, deadlifting, or any heavy leg exercises. I can do leg extentions and leg curls fine but i have read that isolated movements like that might not be practical. Im lookin for someone educated on this to let me know how to start putting on leg muscle whether it be to work my way up slowly with squats and such or maybe some alternative exercises with dumbells, or kettlebell, or plyos, or sprints, or anything that wont be too stressful on low back.

By the way i lift at home right now and im fine with upper body lifting, i do tons of core work, and am starting to run sprints (it seems like everyone agrees with sprints rather than distance, thank god)

So yeah thanks for lookin over this and please comment if you have any ideas or insight on the subject, thanks!

This will depend heavily on what you can do. Don’t take my advice as specific stuff; you should see a physical therapist who is OK with weight lifting and knows about strength training.

I would omit back squats entirely as well as conventional deadlifts. I would use front squats and either sumo deadlifts, or probably preferably, trap bar deadlifts.

Maybe reverse hypers would be a good idea for back therapy? I’m not really sure. Definitely something you need to talk to a qualified PT who knows about training.

I would stay away entirely from bilateral lower body lifting. At least for now, any lower body stuff should be unilateral. Dumbbell lunges, reverse lunges, bulgarian split squats are great alternatives with minimal lumbar stress.

and you can develop insane strength WITHOUT squats and deadlifts, as useful as they CAN be in a lower body routine. Ben Bruno is evidence of this. I believe he’s had a history of back problems so he stays away from those other lifts.

Lanky Lefty is right. Coach Wolforth discussed his reluctance to use weights in that pitching is a one legged activity and you can get strong with body weight and once proficient with body weight you can add kettlebells first goblet style and the offset. Ther other reason he gave for not wanting to do heavy sguats and deadlifts is risk of back injury. He felt if you could do 10 pistol squats (Ass to Grass) with 105 pound kettlebell on each leg you would be strong enough,

Wolforth is heavily influenced by Mike Boyle. Here is a great article on one leg exercises and progressions.

Hey thanks everyone for the help.

[quote=“Slewbacca”]Lanky Lefty is right. Coach Wolforth discussed his reluctance to use weights in that pitching is a one legged activity and you can get strong with body weight and once proficient with body weight you can add kettlebells first goblet style and the offset. Ther other reason he gave for not wanting to do heavy sguats and deadlifts is risk of back injury. He felt if you could do 10 pistol squats (a** to Grass) with 105 pound kettlebell on each leg you would be strong enough,

Wolforth is heavily influenced by Mike Boyle. Here is a great article on one leg exercises and progressions.

look, wolforth’s specialty is not strength and conditioning, so he sticks to the exercises that he knows will give him the most bang for his buck with the majority of his athletes and the smallest risk of injury.

  1. many of the athletes he receives are high school and college aged players who ALREADY have a base of strength and have been accustomed to bodybuilder-esque, slow speed of movement lifting programs. These kids may very well RESPOND best to a training shift to quickness and explosiveness.

  2. many of the lifting programs the players have been on, if they have been on any at all do not emphasize mastering ones bodyweight before adding load. Even for “Advanced” lifters, it can sometimes be necessary/beneficial to revert back to bodyweight exercises/variations that inevitably have more “functional” carryover to a rotational power sport like baseball.

  3. squatting and deadlifting are contraindicated for many athletes, especially those with flexibility/mobility issues. A lot of pitchers have imbalances due to the throwing motion, and many pitchers may not be ready to squat or deadlift from the floor with good form. I know I havent seen anyone else on my college team approach parallel on a squat, except for maybe the warmup set with 135lbs, and many lifters would be better off starting their deadlift training with the bar raised off the floor so that they can get their spine in an optimal position to pull from. Squatting and deadlifting are just two exercises like any other. They are only as good or as bad as their applications. Unless it is appropriate for the athlete’s training needs, he/she has proper form, mobility, flexibility, etc. there is little use in performing these exercises.

Unilateral variations are much more applicable to training a large group of athletes safely and effectively at once. That does not make squatting or deadlifting inherently “bad” or “unsafe.”

My .02