Lowerbody lifts w/ minimal spinal loading

I had a microdiscectomy on my L4-L5 disc back in December(3-4 months ago). After physical therapy and easing back into training, I’m trying to find the best bang for buck exercises for the lowerbody without loading the spine too much. I’m going to eliminate loaded deadlifts, back squats, etc. The big goal here is to find some decent lowerbody exercises to supplement my sprinting.

I’m thinking that the Front Squat could be my best option. I haven’t talked about this exercise with my Physical Therapist yet. Is there a reduced amount of spinal loading in a Front Squat compared to a Back Squat?

If I’m not completely satisfied with the safety of a Front Squat, I always have alternative options that may not be as good. Examples would be:

Leg Press
King Deadlift(BW exercise)
Pistol Squats
Split Squats
Lunge Variations
Posterior Chain work

Belt squats are a great way to work the legs with minimal spinal loading. Of course you’d have to purchase one of those but you can also use them for weighted pull-ups/dips.

Im sure he can’t spend $2000 grand on a belt squat machine. He has plenty of options in his journal…

I was just told by a Sports Chiro who is also CSCS that Front Squats load the lumbar discs more than back squats because the weight is at the front of the neck.

So I guess those are out for a while at least…

Super Squat Hip Belt, $114.

I’m not talking about a machine but instead one of those spud belts or the squat belts from Ironmind.

I did front squats on wed and my lower back is still on pain, never had a back problem with regular squats.

got it…

why are you going in circles, you gonna end up at ground zero again! I thought KB told you to perform those singlelegpower movements, if so dont worry about fsq and all the other BS…

Ask about 45 degree leg press or weighted step-ups like Steve Francis uses.

I had pretty bad back spasms (muscle damage, not sciatica) some years ago and my back muscles have never completely recovered, so I personally go with the 45 degree leg press 90-95% of the time. I only go to back squats (not less than 5 reps and never below parallel) for testing. I don’t seem to miss the squats. There’s a conversion factor from the leg press to squats of dividing by 1.8.

Forget front squats and step ups still run some risks.
1: Belt squats
2: After a period with belt squats you could add 45d leg press. Usually the LP machine has an adjustable back pad so you can find the proper angle to keep the back protected during the exercise. if you can’t get comfortable, stay with belt squats till you’re out of the woods.

Just in case this helps:

We use belt squats, as was mentioned above, for athletes who can’t load their spine…We don’t have a machine or a fancy strap set up, but I use a dip/chin belt for them.
The athlete stands on two pulling stands, and we fix the weight to the chains on the belt. The athlete then squats while on the pulling stands.

Many gyms have dip/chin belts. This is a low cost option that we use!

I’m not going in circles, I’m still seeing what’s out there for me. I thought Front Squats could have a place in my training but it turns out it doesn’t.

I’m still working on being able to do a full pistol squat. I can only go half way on to a box so far. What do you think about them?

I’ve had bad back problems before from backsquatting too heavy with bad posture. I couldn’t barely lean over without pain even running into the leg. After some time off I got into belt squats with the spud belt and was able to train at the same level as before, getting below parallel, within a few weeks.
A couple months later and I’m back into back squats and front squats, setting new rep maxes.
Belt squats are definitely a great answer to this problem. Great pic Stikki! (Looks like he has a spud belt, too)

I’m not sure if the gym that I train at has a belt like this. I’ll have to buy one if they don’t. Looks like the only way I could do heavy squats, even though I really don’t feel the necessity to do them as of right now.

I made my own years ago as well.
Much like the photo, I screwed and glued some wood together into a pair of connected blocks.

I got a piece of old firehose (for the belt) and paid a shoe-repair guy to do some heavy duty stitching for the buckle and chain.

Could you explain on how you were able to stack the plates?

You use a loading pin like this one from Ironmind:

Ha! That’s not me it’s from a google search, sorry if I misrepresented. I’m about half the size and strength of that dude, but I’ve got much more hair!