Category: McGill Articles

Pavel coached Vladimir to hang following each heavy deadlift rep.

Keeping A Resilient Back as We Age

Meeting Pavel for the first time about twenty years ago changed my life. It is a story that has been told in these pages before. I was impressed with this quiet gentleman who knew so much about training systems far from the American tradition. We discussed the eloquence of Russian sport science that produced performance […]

Master Your Back Pain – All back pain has a cause

All back pain has a cause – understanding this is the key to beating pain. A proper assessment reveals the motions, postures and loads that cause pain versus ones that do not. This evidence-based approach resulted from 32 years of lab and clinical investigations. The first objective is to stop the cause to allow the […]

Head position and the deadlift

By Stuart McGill. I have heard many opinions about how to position the head and neck during the deadlift. The science on this issue is quite sparse but the good news is you can find the best position for you and your clients. As with every technique there is no universal answer, rather the truth lies […]

Mens Health Article (2016): Fix it with the Back Mechanic

FIX IT WITH THE BACK MECHANIC Exerpt: “My exam began the moment I climbed out of my rented Chevy Cruze and walked up the driveway-I just didn’t know it yet. Nor did I suspect that by the end ofthe day, I would learn that I’d been exercising wrong, that I had a semi-serious back injury, […]

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 […]