My Journey to the Kettlebell

By Professor Stuart McGill The kettlebell is special to me! The journey to the KB as a training tool has linked me to several important events in my life. And it was part of the beginning of my friendship with Pavel (Pavel Tsatsouline – the man who introduced Kettlebells from behind the iron curtain to the […]

Empowering Self Advocacy: Taking charge of your back pain (2015)

Most patients rarely receive the most  important part of the prescription to get rid of back pain from their doctor – the knowledge and understanding of their condition required to become their own best advocate. They remain clueless and frustrated, left in the dark about what behaviors must be stopped in order to alleviate the […]

The Fat Tongue technique (2015)

The Fat Tongue by Stuart McGill (Download PDF, 29Kb) Observe many top weightlifters approaching the bar, and taking their stance. Fixing their gaze above the horizontal they lift their chest extending the spine and neck. Arms waver at their sides in a slow rhythm exemplifying the old Russian technique for relaxation. The objective is to […]

Why Everyone needs Core Training

Stuart McGill I have been working with back pained people and high performance athletes for over 30 years. If I were asked to choose the single most influential variable that links pain and performance enhancement, it would be an underperforming core. Why is this? What is the core? Core stiffness is essential for injury prevention. […]

The Bottom Up Kettlebell Carry (2014)

The Bottom Up Kettlebell Carry by Stuart McGill (Download PDF, 33Kb) Every time I work with top international athletes I learn more about athleticism. We have all heard that having a strong core increases strength elsewhere in the body. Experience tells us this is true but I was incomplete in my explanation of the mechanism. […]

Okinawan strength: Developing the “Iron Body”

Stuart McGill PhD ( Strength is context specific – to remain immovable, to be resilient to blows and forces, and to lift and handle large loads with low risk of injury require a specific type of strength. The body is stiffened to become unbreakable. The martial arts of the island of Okinawa, Japan have embodied […]

Enhancing back performance with super stiffness (2013)

Super Stiffness by Stuart McGill, Professor of Spine Biomechanics Invited for (Download PDF, 25Kb) At a gymnastics or martial arts meet, or at a weightlifting competition, listen to the coaches advice to the athlete – Stay tight! This means to maintain stiffness. Being stiff ensures that there will be minimal energy losses as forces […]

Core stability: “Fascial raking” to stimulate abdominal wall activation for ultimate performance (2013)

Core stability: “Fascial raking” to stimulate abdominal wall activation for ultimate performance Stuart McGill, Professor of Spine Biomechanics (Download PDF, 57Kb) Core stability depends on activity in the many muscles that act around the torso, and in particular those that form the abdominal wall. This article describes how to improve the contraction quality of these […]

All Things Strength & Wellness – Podcast Interview

Listen At » “On this episode Dr. McGill and myself discussed – common reasons why the low back breaks down, common problems Dr. McGill see’s with core training, problems Dr. McGill see’s with some rehabilitation protocols that are used to treat low back pain, and/or dysfunction, Dr. McGill’s 5 stage protocol at rehabbing low […]

Designing Back Exercise: from Rehabilitation to Enhancing Performance (2012)

Designing Back Exercise: from Rehabilitation to Enhancing Performance Stuart McGill, Ph.D. Professor of Spine Biomechanics, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo (Download PDF, 260Kb) Many have asked me to write a short overview to assist increasing the competency of clinicians. But after writing two textbooks based on our hundreds of […]

The short stop squat: A drill for setting up big pulls

Professor Stuart McGill I am often asked for my opinion about the best way to squat, or to pull a loaded bar. My answer always is, “It depends on the person”. We all have a different injury history influencing which tissues may need sparing, different body segment length ratios affecting leverage advantages, different hip socket […]

Striking faster and harder – How the great fighters do it

Stuart McGill, University of Waterloo, ( and Jon Chaimberg, Adrenaline Performance Center, Montreal ( Published in Blitz Martial Arts Magazine, Australia, 2009 Great fighters simply get more out of their bodies to create fantastic performance. Teaming up with some top MMA/UFC fighters, we were able to document the “tricks” of striking fast and hard (see […]