T Nation

Herniated Disc / Airdyne / Muscle Preservation

Hi Coach - I underwent a micro-discectomy for a severely herniated L5/S1 about 5 weeks ago. Prior to the herniation I followed a more powerlifting centered routine with the occasional (2-3 times a week) crossfit workout for conditioning and volume. Post herniation I have put powerlifting on hold and am doing body weight exercises (basic pull ups, push ups…etc) to keep myself sane until I can get back to the gym. I recently also purchased an Airdyne as it has always been an intense low impact full body exercise for me.

My question to you is whether you have ever seen someone preserve muscle mass while using an Airdyne exclusively. Obviously it isn’t best case scenario but given the circumstance I am trying to keep busy while my back heals. Do you have any advice on approaches (HIIT / steady state…etc) to maximize muscle preservation here?

Stats - 28 years old, 5’ 8", 170 lbs, ~10% BF

Well it is devoid of eccentric so the stimulus for growth is lower. But from my experience it does a great job on pumping the legs. So it might work.

If we take a page from speed skaters and sprint cyclists I would say that all-out sprints of 45-60 seconds would be the way to go. I would not do intervals, I would see each bout of 45-60 seconds as a set. Take 2 minutes of rest between sets.

I would keep the volume low, 4-5 sprints per session. But do it every day.

You could also do banded leg curls and banded leg extensions (or the real machine versions) either superseded with the airdyne or by themselves.