Originally Posted by Brent Sallee
To correct this info, L5-S1 is actually the lumbar spine segment with the most sagittal plane movement so, yes, it's pretty important.
As a physical therapist, it really depends on the situation. If you're going to push yourself into the ground, then getting back into CF at a high intensity is not a good idea for your spine's longevity. However, I use deadlifts frequently as a tool for strength, coordination, and stability even in patients with single level fusions. The big thing? The rest of your spine can't be degenerative. If you have degenerative disc disease or disc herniations above the segment you'll need fused, it is not in your best interest to deadlift heavy or for time. In that case, lighter weight with greater volume and perfect form is the way to go.
Good to know. I guess perhaps my interpretation (and maybe I heard what wanted to hear, LOL) was that it won't necessarily affect athletic performance if you can maintain enough mobility in the soft tissues. Maybe that's overoptimistic. Supposedly, there are athletes who have gone back to high level sports after a fusion - a few NFL'ers (Keion Carpenter), hockey players, wrestlers, etc. but obviously, as you pointed out, adjacent segments have to be in good shape too.