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Any experienced weight-trainers here?

I had disc replacement surgery in April and now have the go-ahead from my surgeon to go back to low-weight/high-rep weight-training, but I'm not quite sure how to restart. Back in January (before my neck went), I was doing a 3-times-weekly varied combination of:

- Leg press machine @ 40kg, 3 X 12
- Dumbbell squat @10kg dumbbells, 3 X 12
- Chest press machine @ 15kg, 3 X 12
- Lat pulldown machine @ 20kg, 3 X 12
- Shoulder press @4kg dumbbells, 3 X 12
- Bicep curls @ 6kg dumbbells, 3 X 12
- Tricep pushdown machine @ 7.5kg, 3 X 12

I'm not quite sure how to pitch my return. I'm very wary of the lat pulldown because I think that was the final straw for my neck, so I probably won't do that one at all. I'm thinking maybe start at about half the weight of what I was doing before, do 2 sets to see how I go the first time, and build up slowly from there. Cardio + working my core I'll think about separately. Any thoughts/suggestions/alternative exercises?
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I'm no expert but I think I'd give the dumbells a miss, at least to start with, with cabled machine exercises there is an element of support and you can use a low weight and do high rep sets, e.g instead of 3 x 12 20kg lat pulldowns, a few sets of 20-25 reps @ 5 or 10kg.
I would ask your doctor or a physio first though as some exercises can have an effect on other parts besides the one targeted.
Hi there

Where exactly was your damage - neck? which vertebrae?

I do quite a lot of weights and neck injuries are not uncommon, but recovery can be achieved.

1. Avoid for now any exercise where the weight needs to be picked up from the ground/rack. That probably means no dumbells or barbells or kettlebells. This will avoid any sudden movement. Once you are in full recovery you can get back to these but take baby steps for now.
2. Form - essential always to follow form. I also do 3x slower on the negative, so for example when I bench press and push the weight I take prob 2 seconds to get the weight up, but for the negative/return I slow it right down so its more like 6 seconds. This is good form and you will benefit from more time with a load but under control. Youll burn more calories too!
3. Warm up - do dynamic stretches before training and static after. Dynamic are simply movements, such as a neck roll where you rotate your head around. Static is simply holding a position
4. Got a friend to train with? a training partner will help spot weights and feedback on form. Oh and someone to chat to...
5. Do some pilates (or yoga) and learn stretches and movement to release tension.
6. I agree avoid lat pull down - however were you pulling the weight down toward your chest or behind your neck? Ive seen injuries where people pull behind the neck and any head bowing movement can mean a risk to injury, and should be avoided
7. Perform 10, 12 and then 14 reps per set, increasing the reps before you icnrease the weight. So week 1 is 10 reps, week 2 is 12 reps etc.., and after week 3 up the weight
8. Use a theraband/resistance band in place of dumbell exercises. Mine was a £5 and lasts a while before I replace it
9. No twisting or rotational exercises
10 This is a great chance to start over and introduce better techniques with more caution but optimal results. Have the correct posture when performing exercises by straightening your spine, tightening your stomach/core and keeping your chin parallel to the floor. Maintain proper breathing by exhaling during the exertion portion of the exercise and inhaling during the release. Holding your breath during may increase your blood pressure, which could increase your pain.

This is a routine you should be able to do if your gym has the kit.

1. Leg press 3 x 10
2. Leg extension 3 x 10
3. Leg/Hamstring curl 3 x 10 (if your gym does not have leg extension or hamstring curl, just do lunges without weights)
4. Squats with resistance band 3 x 10
5. Bench/chest press 3 x 10
6. Shoulder press 3 x 10
7 bent over row resitance band 3 x 10
8. bicep curl resistance band 3 x 10
9. tricep extension resitance band 3 x 10
10 lateral raise/row resistance band 3 x 10

For resistance band here is a site with images to follow the form -
Resistance Band Exercises

REduce the weights, add some cardio and you will grow in strength and get past this. It took me 8 weeks to get back my knee strength so take your time dont rush things

LEt me know if you want any more specifics.