Exercises After Back Fusion

Hello, I was just reading an article you have on Bodybuilding.com about strength training and would like to ask your advice. I am 43 and am on a diet through a hospital, because I gained quite a bit of weight. I am down 40 pounds (from 262 to 222) and am starting to work out. I have had 3 back surgeries and have a fusion in my spine. 

I want to do some strength training, because at this point I have virtually no upper body strength. I was wondering if you could tell me a good routine to get my strength built up and help progress the weight loss, since I have a fused back. I would imagine there are some things I can not do anymore like squats. 

Thanks for your time. 
-Rob Z.

My Answer: Your best bet is to do a mix of machine exercises and calisthenics: pushups, inverted rows, hip bridges, bodyweight squats, etc. You don't want to do any weight bearing exercises with barbells or dumbbells, as these exercises will stress your back more.  Just choose body weight and machine exercises that don't cause you any pain.  Listen to your body and if you feel any pain, then nix that exercise from your program.

If you want to continue losing the weight, then focus on higher reps (10+) and short rest periods (30-60 seconds).

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