Podcast Episode 108: Prof. Stuart McGill – Biomechanist & Lower Back Pain Expert

Episode 108: Prof. Stuart McGill – Biomechanist & Lower Back Pain Expert

In this weeks episode of The Physical Performance Show I share a conversation with Prof. Stuart McGill – Biomechanist & Lower Back Pain Expert.

We talk through all things, lower back pain and there is no one better credentialed on this planet than today’s featured guest Professor Stuart Mc Gill. Stuart Mc Gill is a professor emeritus in spine bio-mechanics from the University of Waterloo. For 32 years at the University of Waterloo, Professor McGill directed Laboratory Investigations that explored Lower back pain function, injury prevention and rehabilitation and performance training. Professor McGill’s collective work resulted in an incredible 400 scientific publications, which included four textbooks. The first book, Lower Back Disorders Evidenced Space Prevention and Rehabilitation is now up to it’s third Edition and it was written for clinicians like myself as a physiotherapist to guide the decision process when prescribing prevention and rehabilitation approaches. The text book Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance now up to it’s 6th Edition was written for trainers, coaches, athletes and those interested in enhancing the performance of their back while minimising any loss of resilience. In the book titled Back Mechanic – The Secrets to a Healthy Spine that your Doctors isn’t telling you. In this book, Professor McGill outlines a step by step method to help readers fix their back pain. And then most recently Professor McGill paired up with Champion Power Lifter Brian Caroll to author the Gift of Injury, this book guides the Strength Athlete out of pain and back to regaining strength.

In addition to Professor McGills’s many scientific papers and his contribution to the science around all things back by mechanics and lower back pain, Professor McGill also acts as a consultant in difficult back injury cases and provides performance enhancement programs for individual and teams alike. Professor McGill has worked with countless Olympic Champions from around the world in the variety of Sports as well as elite athletes in the NBA, NFL, PGA, NHL and UFC Fighters amongst others. Professor McGill has also been sought out by Presidents and Hollywood celebrities to help them get back to their best lower back fitness. This expert edition goes for around about 90 minutes. But if you yourself have ever suffered from the debilitating effects of lower back pain or you know someone that has then they’re going to want to do the wisdom that Professor McGill shares in this expert edition.

During the episode we get very practical, we talk about what lower back pain actually is and what other common conditions that we can experience across the lifespan with our spines. We discussed why assessments need to be thorough for back pain suffers. Professor McGill debunks the many lower back pain myths including is stretching of the hamstrings of any use.  We discuss the concept of core stability and Professor McGill gives us a true and accurate definition and why he believes it is fundamental to human movement in an absolute non-negotiable for athletic best performance. Professor McGill refers to examples of stifling athletic development through not allowing rest. We discussed the 2 and half year rehabilitation of Brian Carroll Champion weight lifter who succumbed to a very serious lower back and sacral injury and how Professor McGill helped Brian return to competition and how he became the first man to squat more than 50 times in competition a weight greater than a thousand pounds. It’s an incredible example of a very nasty injury, it should give anyone listening hope that they too can look forward to enjoying pain free best performance from their lower backs no matter what the degree of injury is that they may have been incurred. We touched on what is important for lower back pain sufferers to determine if they able to have a good day in amongst the bad days.

Professor McGill shares with us his big 3 non-negotiable exercises, the McGill curls, the Bird Dogs and the Side Planks. Finally we talk about why Professor McGill does not believe that drawing in activating transverse abdominous is of any use when it comes to creating stiffness of the spine and finally if you are sit up or a crunch lover for your abdominals we discuss why it is fundamentally doing you harm if you are performing crunches for your spine that is.

There is a whole lot in this episode as we speak with this incredible connoisseur of knowledge when it comes to all things lower back health and ultimate performance of the spine.

To listen to Episode 108:

Click the icon to listen to the interview on iTunes

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE at the links to ensure you get performance insights from our future upcoming exciting guests.

Listen in as we delve into the following:

  • Studying at university
  • Back Pain 101
  • The use of MRIs
  • Back conditions that are prevalent
  • Movement of the disc
  • Myths about Back Pain
  • Restoring careers of high level Athletes
  • Bone Callusing
  • Back Extensions
  • Spine hygiene
  • Spine Stability and Core Stability
  • Unpacking Sit-ups
  • Advantageous Exercises
  • Back Fit Pro Books available
  • Back Stiffness and variations

Show Sponsor Gold Coast Marathon

Like the Physical Performance Show, the Gold Coast Marathon encourages runners of all ages and abilities to push their boundaries and strive to complete a personal challenge. The Gold Coast Marathon is held annually on the first weekend in July and is a must do event for any budding athlete, weekend warrior or family looking for a challenge to complete together. Run for the good times at the gold coast marathon. Visit the Gold Coast Marathon here.

To follow Stu:

Twitter: @drstuartmcgill
Facebook: @stuart.mcgill.75
Instagram: @backfitpro
Website: Backfit Pro

Back Mechanic: The Step-by-step McGill Method to fix back pain
Gift of Injury: The strength athlete’s guide to recovering from back injury to winning again
Video Enhanced Back Mechanic
Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance (6th Edition-2017)
Low Back Disorders: Evidence-Based Prevention and Rehabilitation (3rd Edition)

Prof. Stuart McGill Prof. Stuart McGill

Prof. Stuart McGill Prof. Stuart McGill

For questions and comments about this Episode

Send to the show host @Brad_Beer (Twitter)


The Physical Performance Show Brad Beer