» StrongFirst Podcast Episode #21

Dr. Stu McGill joins the show for a second time to talk about breathing and when to use what kind of breathing. Dr. McGill also talks to your host Craig Marker about picking up odd objects, wedging, and getting strong with power breathing.

Show Notes
01:20 – A general history of Dr. McGill’s exposure to the science and history of breathing.

03:20 – Dr. McGill’s work with Dr. Clayton Skaggs and the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.

05:34 – The baseline mechanics of breathing.

06:15 – The different types of breathing for different activities.

10:00 – Pavel’s technique and breathing.

12:00 – More on power breathing for a pulse of strength.

14:45 – The breathing concerns for people with heart conditions or risk for stroke.

18:20 – How to pressurize the brain to eliminate the possibility of a stroke.

19:20 – Why core strength effects performance in Jiu Jitsu.

22:14 – What is neural density and how to create it.

26:13 – How to use the instruction and mind trick of push the earth away.

29:05 – The neurology of the kettlebell swing.

31:20 – Dr. McGill’s suggestions for picking up oddly shaped objects.

36:25 – What to do about flexion when it comes to rowers.

41:33 – Dr. McGill’s thoughts on squatting and where your feet should be.

49:30 – What is needed for people who sit at the desk all day?

52:30 – Flexibility tunes the body, it doesn’t create more mobility.

53:16 – Why posture matters.

Key Points:

Your breathing when at rest can help indicate your probability for injury in performance.
Discover your weakness and then breathe to look after that.
If you pick up a heavy load you are most injury-resistant with a neutral spine using the hips as a fulcrum.

» Behind the Shield: Episode 95 – Dr Stuart McGill

Dr. Stuart M. McGill is a professor emeritus, University of Waterloo, where he was a professor for 32 years. His laboratory and experimental research clinic investigated issues related to the causal mechanisms of back pain, how to rehabilitate back-pained people and enhance both injury resilience and performance. This produced over 240 peer-reviewed scientific journal papers, several textbooks, and many international awards. He mentored over 40 graduate students during this scientific journey.

During this time he taught thousands of clinicians and practitioners in professional development and continuing education courses around the world.

He continues as the Chief Scientific Officer for Backfitpro Inc. His advice is often sought by governments, corporations, legal experts, medical groups and elite athletes and teams from around the world. Difficult back cases are regularly referred to him for consultation. Any product associated with this website has been tested in Dr. McGill’s laboratory.

> Soundcloud

» 190: Dr. Stuart McGill | The Back Mechanic Talks Golf

It’s rare that I meet a golfer who doesn’t currently struggle or haven’t struggled in the past with some sort of back pain and discomfort. Athletes, strength coaches, and trainers can all agree that no matter the sport, a healthy back and spine is a crucial component to optimal performance.

Our balance, speed, power, mobility, coordination and every other physical requirement for golf are directly linked to good spine health, which is why this week, our special guest is Dr. Stuart McGill.

Dr. McGill is one of the pioneers in back/spine performance research with hundreds of studies published in peer-reviewed journals and has restored several golfers’ careers that were debilitated by back pain. In this episode, we discuss the mechanics of the back, Dr. McGill’s impression of how golfers are and should be training, common causes of back pain, and what steps can you take to not only eliminate this pain but prepare and train your back.

» Life Mechanics with Stuart McGill – Episode 8, The Battle Axe Podcast

Stuart McGill is interviewed by Michael De La Pava, Owner of Battleaxe gym in Florida. They discuss strength, and recovery from injury for the strength athlete.

We proudly sit down wit Dr. Stuart McGill as we talk about his books, adventures, and vast knowledge on the spine. As the conversation grows we get to know a little about the man behind so many life changing experiences. No stone is left unturned as Stu makes us feel welcomed and at home in the world of bio mechanics.

iTunes >
Soundcloud >


It was an honor having Dr. McGill back on the show and this time with World-Class Powerlifter Brian Carroll to discuss the process of healing Brian’s back–a journey they detail in the book they co-wrote, The Gift of Injury.

Both Brian and I share similar beliefs that our injuries were some of the best things that happened to our lifting. We both found Dr. McGill, who’s absolutely amazing when it comes to working with injured high-level lifters. From Dr. McGill, we both learned that we needed to pay attention to how we moved and practice good back hygiene. We started implementing better warm-up routines, mobilizations, and core activation work that helped us lift more and with better movement. Doing that has paid off for both me and my athletes. The injury itself also both showed us that we can be tough and overcome such a serious blow like an injury and come out on top. We may not be invincible, but we’re damn tough.

So it really is true that injury can sometimes be a gift. It’s may not be something you want, but as you’ll learn from the podcast today, there’s plenty to learn from an injury and the recovery from it can even make you into a much better athlete than you ever were before. It did for Brian and me.

You’ll hear more about this concept of the gift of injury on today’s show. Enjoy.


  • Dr. McGill’s “Big Three” core exercises, why and when you should do them
  • The non-negotiable exercises for injury treatment and prevention in strength athletes
  • The importance of how you correct for a failing lift or hard lift.
  • Belt Squats, carries, reverse hypers
  • The first two words that almost always come out of Stu McGill’s mouth
  • Movement assessment protocols and spine hygiene
  • and more

» Anchors of Health: 10: Fix Your Back Pain with Dr. Stuart McGill

In episode 10, you’ll learn the step by step McGill Method to fix back pain. We discuss his book, “Back Mechanic – The Secrets to a Healthy Spine Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You.”

Dr. Stuart McGill is a professor emeritus, University of Waterloo, where he was a professor for 32 years. His laboratory and experimental research clinic investigated issues related to the causal mechanisms of back pain, how to rehabilitate back-pained people and enhance both injury resilience and performance. This produced over 240 peer-reviewed scientific journal papers, several textbooks, and many international awards. He mentored over 40 graduate students during this scientific journey.

During this time he taught thousands of clinicians and practitioners in professional development and continuing education courses around the world.

He continues as the Chief Scientific Officer for Backfitpro Inc. His advice is often sought by governments, corporations, legal experts, medical groups and elite athletes and teams from around the world. Difficult back cases are regularly referred to him for consultation.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

[2:10] Dr. Stuart McGill’s motivation behind writing Back Mechanic.
[4:20] What makes his book different and why are people going to find a different result.
[6:10] His thoughts on the commonly held belief that there is “no such thing as non-specific general back pain.”
[6:47] Statistics on the efficacy of his method.
[8:00] Is back pain psychological?
[9:00] Mythbusting: The clinician at the pain clinic will be able to provide you with a long-term solution.
[10:33] Some holes that may be found with seeing a physical therapist.
[16:24] Why he focuses a lot on the high performance athlete.
[17:45] Mythbusting: His thoughts on “stretch more” or “do yoga or pilates” as a recommendation to fix back pain.
[20:10] An outline on the McGill Method to fixing back pain.
[27:25] What he means by his analogy, “picking the scab.”
[29:50] What he means by cumulative sensitization and his “bank account” analogy.
[31:57] Why pulling your knees to your chest first thing in the morning is not a good idea.
[33:14] The non-negotiable “Big 3 Exercises.”
[36:07] His take on sit-ups and crunches.
[38:38] The importance of walking.
[42:17] What he would do to fix back pain for an entire country.

Listen to mp3 of podcast

» Robin Black Podcasts: A Conversation with Dr. Stuart McGill

“Robin sits down for a hang with Dr. Stuart McGill. Dr. McGill is a professor emeritus, University of Waterloo, where he was a professor for 32 years. His laboratory and experimental research clinic investigated issues related to the causal mechanisms of back pain, how to rehabilitate back-pained people and enhance injury resilience and performance. Dr. Stu has rehabilitated countless athletes including a variety of combat sport athletes.”

YouTube >

Soundcloud >

» flippingfifty.com: Myths, Causes, and Solutions for Back Pain with Dr. Stuart McGill

“Back pain effects 80% of US adults and 80% say it recurs throughout the year. It can be debilitating and reduce your quality of life. If you suffer from back pain, know someone who does, or want to prevent it, listen today.

Prevent, end, or reduce your back pain with tips from renowned back pain expert Dr Stuart McGill. Hear his methods and means for finding the problem and the solution. Are you believing any myths about back pain?

You’ll learn:

Myths you may believe
Methods for getting to the cause and treatment
How sex and sit ups affect your back health and core results
There could be hope for even chronic pain sufferers
Tips for increasing activity to regain strength with less pain
Where to find additional information to self assess
Resources from the podcast:

The Book: Back Mechanic (available on the site below or Amazon)

Website: Backfitpro.com

Got back pain? Include your questions below the show notes for a follow up show. If you get the book, I’d love to know and hear how it helps you. Every individual back pain case is different and treating it uniquely is a must.”

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-flipping-50-show/id903871206?mt=2

» Professor’s McGill’s most complete podcast yet. Stu’s summary of treating back pain patients, the integration of pain science, and enhancement of performance.

“Back pain has become the world’s leading cause of disability.

Stuart McGill has been at the forefront of non-surgical approaches to addressing back pain for many years. His 2015 book “Back Mechanic: The Secrets to a Healthy Spine Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You” is a wonderfully accessible account of his methods and perspectives.”

» LT 084 | Dr. Stuart McGill – Enhancing Athleticism in Rowers
“We’re back with Episode 084 of the LEO Training Podcast. I am pleased to have Dr. Stuart McGill back on the show as a return guest. His first interview, LT 012 | Dr. Stuart McGill – Spine Hygiene for Rowers. has been one of my most popular episodes to date. Today’s interview will focus on one topic into which Dr. McGill and I will diver very deep into: enhancing athleticism in rowers – simply put what can we do to improve performance.Dr. Stuart McGill is a retired Professor of Spine Biomechanics at the University of Waterloo. Dr. McGill is the author of over 400 scientific publications and 3 textbooks that address issues such as, lumbar spine function and injury mechanisms, patient assessment, corrective exercise prescription, and performance training. Dr. McGill consults for many medical management groups, governments, corporations, legal firms, and elite sports teams and athletes from around the world and has won numerous awards, including the Volvo Bioengineering Award for Low Back Pain Research. Dr. McGill is one of the few scientists who are regularly referred challenging patients for consult from around the world.”

The vision board podcasts EPISODE 156 – Dr Stuart McGill

Our special guest is Dr Stuart McGill. Stuart is a retired professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo in Canada. His one of the most highly regarded and sought after experts in spine bio mechanics and is a consultant to elite athletes, sports teams, legal experts, corporations and the government.

You will learn plenty from Dr Stuart McGill in episode 156 of The Vision Board Podcast.

Subscribe on iTunes, Sound Cloud or Stitcher Radio


4:21 – we welcome Dr Stu McGill
5:02 – what he’s actively doing in his career
5:54 – origins into his back expertise
7:20 – upright walking versus walking on all fours
9:10 – what his ideal field of study is
11:17 – why the MMA fighters are the most versatile style of athlete
13:05 – insights into a recent mma study with Stu
16:45 – BJJ, spinal injuries,
20:56 – an Algorithm for All coaches
23:36 – advice on training with injuries
25:25 – advice on assessing pain with clients
30:40 – identifying pain through visual aids
33:35 – is there a proper universal squat depth?
38:15 – strength training and mobility
39:10 – an NBA player analogy
41:35 – a high level Diver analogy
42:25 – a long distance runner analogy
44:14 – the complexity of our core
48:12 – the 3 elements of Core Stability
52:10 – advice for Being a better Coach
56:09 – insights into his own personal routine

» August 2016 Interview for Strength Matters Podcast.
Today’s guest is Dr. Stuart McGill, a leading professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. Dr. McGill has written three books on the back, he runs a laboratory that runs all sorts of tests on spines, and he is NOT a fan of sit-ups or crunches.
Today’s Topics Include:

  • What happens to the spine when military personnel carry heavy loads on their backs?
  • Different people have different body types suitable for different activities. A load that creates a beneficial adaptation for one person, can create an injury for another.
  • To avoid injury load the spine in a stacked posture.
  • A better training session might be a body balancing exercise like a suitcase carry or a bottoms up kettlebell carry. With a still in control core.
  • The military creates an iron will
  • and much more…


» Interview with Dr Ryan DeBell, The Movement Fix Jan 2016
On episode 13 of The Movement Fix Podcast, I am joined by Dr. Stuart McGill. Dr. McGill is a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo, he’s written several great books including his latest, Back Mechanic, and he travels all over the world to spread his knowledge… Here are some of the topics we discuss:

  • The Jefferson Curl: Can you progressively expose a lumbar spine to loaded or repetitive flexion to improve its resiliency?
  • Is lifting atlas stones safe? What are the considerations one must make when doing that lift?
  • What are Dr. McGill’s thoughts on MRIs and other imaging techniques that show damage but the person may not have pain?
  • Gymnasts typically go into repetitive low back extension. How can we manage those athletes and why is a spondylolisthesis sometimes painful and other times not?
  • What unanswered questions does Dr. McGill have about the low back and what is he currently researching?
  • and MUCH more”


» Back exercise and performance training. (Right click to “Save Target As”)

» Performance Training – Interview for the UK Olympic Program. (Right click to “Save Target As”)

» EA 09: How To Get Rid Of Back Pain With Dr. Stuart McGill

Topics Include:

McGill has recently left the University and now he is a consultant.
There are a lot of athletes and patients who have mysterious back pain.
In school, he discovered math and science, and then after visiting a spine biomechanics lab, he decided to get his Ph.D.
The scientific approach is different than the basic medical approach.
Assess the pain mechanism, then eliminate the precise cause, build a pain-free foundation for movement.
Back injuries set themselves up over time.
Adaptation – tissue becomes stronger up until the tipping point. Loading is good, but not too much or too little.
Build in appropriate rest to allow time for adaptation.
Prevention, train in cycles and be sure to have rest periods.
Practice better spine hygiene and use lumbar support.
Don’t try to progress too quickly during training.
Pavel and decompression after each lift.
Kettlebells and training only one side of the body.
Walking and loaded carries would be a wise progression.
Go for a walk and reset disc stress from sitting by going for a walk.
Assess the demands of the sport.
Assess your abilities compared to those demands.
Train to make up the difference.
Without the appropriate neural wisdom, injuries can happen.
The best athletes have plosive strength.
Activated muscle creates muscle force.
Faster pulses and faster muscles create relaxation and speed.
Hip hinges and pulses in kettlebell swings.
Power breathing, spine stability, and athletic performance.
Training to stop motion with the core creates core strength and stability.
Carries are a great way to build strong obliques.
Sit ups can create back pain for soldiers. Planks may be safer core training for the back.
Training for mental toughness in the military.
Sex and spinal pain. There are motions and pain triggers that clinicians can use to help avoid injuries.


» Dr. Stuart McGill interviewed by Scott Iredella on “How to achieve optimal back health” – Feb. 9th, 2016
Dr. Stuart McGill, Professor of Spine Biomechanics, is BACK (pun intended), and is this week’s featured guest on the podcast. Dr. McGill is a world-renowned lecturer and expert in spine function, injury prevention, and rehabilitation… During this interview, you’ll learn the truth about optimal back health, so you can improve your training performance and better achieve long term results.

» Ep 30: Gift Of Injury: The Strength Athlete’s Guide To Recovering From Back Injury With Dr Stuart McGill

Dr. Stuart McGill is the man who restores very difficult backs. He is a professor emeritus, University of Waterloo, where he was a professor for 32 years. He conducted laboratory and experimental research into the causal mechanisms that cause back pain. His work has resulted in books, products, courses, over 240 peer-reviewed scientific journal papers, textbooks, and the answers to fixing back problems and pain. He has mentored graduate students and taught thousands of clinicians and practitioners.

He is the Chief Scientific Officer for Backfitpro Inc. where all products offered have been tested in his laboratory. He has helped elite athletes and everyone in between. His website is full of testimonials from people he has helped including actor Ed O’Neill from Modern Family, and father of Kettlebell workouts Pavel Tsatsouline. He is here today to talk about his new book Gift of Injury: The strength athlete’s guide to recovering from back injury to winning again which he co-authored with powerlifter Brian Carroll.

Today’s topics include:
McGill shares his love of researching and understanding everything about the spine and rehabilitating it.
He focuses on the very difficult cases and in helping elite athletes.
His whole history has been driven by sport and performance.
McGill loves the application of fitness and strength and working with elite athletes and understanding how to tune their bodies a little more to unleash their athleticism and unload the history of back pain.
The challenge of helping MMA fighters with not locking up their bodies when heading into the fight. They need to control the fear and unleash their bodies.
Their is a full spectrum of challenges with optimum athleticism for competitive fighters and martial artists.
How typical medical practice doesn’t access pain. The story of Brian Carroll’s injury and how having pain was compromising his entire life.
In Gift of Injury they tell the story of how Dr. McGill helped Brian Carroll come back from his injury and begin winning again.
Moving in ways that don’t respect the injury and the pain mechanism.
The examination begins with an interview in Dr. McGill’s house where his laboratory is now. He pays attention because he has to coach these people through movement patterns.
It’s an exercise in pattern recognition.
It’s about understanding the mechanism of pain and then doing the opposite to take the pain away.
Nothing can be interpreted without examining the person at the start.
Brian Carroll’s injuries were more extensive than he thought.
They followed Dr. McGill’s plan to get Brian out of pain.
Athletic training and getting out of pain can’t be mixed.
Then they made a plan to make Brian’s body so robust he was able to lift and compete again.
The technique of pain provocation.
How there is no such pain as back pain. There is something that determines the mechanism of the back pain.
Nonspecific back pain doesn’t exist. Find the pain mechanism and the differential diagnosis. Get through the list and systematically probe the pain and find reactions to different things and find what causes pain.
How the role of the strength and conditioning coach is important for keeping injuries down.
They purposely stress tissues to see what is causing the pain.
Then they choose a strategy of movement that doesn’t irritate the pain and then they find a foundation of exercises to build up the body.
All biological systems have a tipping point. Find where that is in a person.
Neural adaptations take place while training and make the system wiser.
Tissue adaptations only take place during rest.
When bone is stressed it builds a charge which creates the basic building blocks of bone, but the bone needs rest after being stressed.
They also used bone therapy with Brian where they would load his spine and then have 5 days of rest.
Superior exercises for building support of the spine.
The question of should you stretch? Can you enhance performance by tightening the muscle?

» Dr. Stuart McGill on the Real Causes of Back Pain (and How to Fix It)

Back pain is the bane of athletes everywhere.

About a third of adults deal with it at some point, and that number is even higher for us fitness folk.

To make matters worse, the cause of back pain, and low-back pain in particular, is rarely obvious and notoriously difficult to diagnose. It also often strikes out of nowhere, lingers for a while, and then suddenly vanishes for no apparent reason. Or not—sometimes it sets in the for long haul.

All this mystery, confusion, and frustration has made low-back pain a reliable honeypot for Internet profiteers, fake doctors, and supplement shysters who aren’t bothered one bit by cashing in on people’s pain.

That’s why I wanted to talk to one of the most respected, experienced, and knowledgeable experts in the world on spinal health and function—Dr. Stuart McGill—to help cut through the noise and get an honest, practical, evidence-based take on treating back pain.

Dr. McGill has spent over 30 years studying the mechanics of the spine and what causes back pain and how to safely and effectively treat it, has published several books including The Back Mechanic, and through his work has helped tens of thousands of people prevent and eliminate back pain without invasive surgery.

In this interview, Dr. McGill and I start more or less from square one and then dive into the nitty gritty details and address a whole host of questions I get asked fairly often, including . . .

-Is back pain always caused by structural damage?
-Can you have structural damage without pain?
-How do different forms of exercise affect the health of your back?
-How common is degenerative disc disease?
-What can people do to self-diagnose and heal their back pain?
-When is surgery a good idea and when it is unnecessary?
-And more.

The bottom line is by the end, you’ll know more about the real science of back pain than 95% your fellow lifters (and more than many doctors and personal trainers).

» Optimal back health and strength training – Strongfirst

StrongFirst Podcast Episode #17 ~ Dr. Stu McGill discusses optimal back health and its importance when strength training.
> Listen on www.strongfirst.com

» Clinical Podcast: The Truth About Back Pain | Dr. Stuart McGill

“Some tough questions about back pain, pain science, and commentary about psychological and mechanical perspectives to create better patient outcome. We get into mechano-stimulation, and why every back pained person requires an approach tuned to them for optimal success.” ~ Drs Moore and Childs pulled a lot out of me on this one.
> Listen on Evidence in Motion

» 93: The Low Back, Part 2; w/ Dr. Stuart McGill

Dr. Stuart McGill, PhD, guests this week on Movement Fix Podcast. He has previously been on the podcast for part 1 on the low back.

Dr. McGill is a world-renowned lecturer, (recently retired) professor, author, and consultant to many olympians and world champion athletes.

In this episode we discuss:

Spinal flexion: when is it ok and when is it not ok?
How to appropriately progress back pain patients/clients
Spinal bracing: should it be automatic or intentional?
Piezoelectric effect and bone adaptation
Individuality in rehab and performance



When I did my recent research for Pulling Science, I had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Stuart McGill.

There’s a good chance you’ve heard his name before. I think it’s safe to say he’s the world’s foremost expert on performance and injury of the low back. He’s performed research in the field, taught for decades, and worked with world-class athletes.

It was an absolute honor to talk with him again. I have learned so much from reading his books and even more when I’ve got to talk to him. He stopped by our facility a few months ago and blew everyone away with his knowledge.

> Podcast Page

» humanOS – The Science on How to Avoid or Improve Back Pain Podcast with Stuart McGill

About 40% of people worldwide will get lower back pain at some point in life, and on any given day roughly 12% of adults are experiencing lower back pain. This crippling condition strongly influences quality of life, often affecting relationships with loved ones, impairing performance at work, and leading to substantial costs – not only healthcare ones but also expenses due to absenteeism and so on.

> Podcast Page

» AAF 118 Dr. Stuart McGill returns

Training your core can provide numerous benefits from flattening your abs to strengthening the muscles that move your spine. Dr. Stuart McGill is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Waterloo where he spent the majority of his thirty-two year career studying the biomechanics of the spine including identifying specific mechanisms of back pain along with the the best exercises to return to optimal function. In short, Dr. McGill’s research has helped numerous people eliminate back pain including Brian Carroll, a powerlifter who experienced a serious back injury that almost ended his career.

On episode 118 of All About Fitness Dr. McGill shares how he worked with Brian to identify the cause of his injury as well as revealing the exercises and workout program that helped him return to championship form. Learn the real secrets to strengthening your core so that you never have to deal with back pain again!

> Podcast Page

» THE READY STATE, SEASON 2 – Dr Stuart McGill

This was a really fun podcast with Kelley and Juliet Starrett of Mobility WOD where I discuss pain science and the emotional side of back pain.

Season 2 of The Ready State is here, and it’s all about PAIN! We spoke with athletes, scientists, filmmakers, and writers to help conceptualize the very complex and subjective nature of pain. Check out Season 2 for our chats with Georges St-Pierre, Chris Bell, Laird Hamilton, Amelia Boone, Sue Falsone, Dr. Stu McGill, Dr. Andrew Huberman, and Dr. Alex Hutchinson.

Also available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, GooglePlay, and TuneIn.

> Podcast Page

» FTCA Podcast #16 – Professor Stu McGill – Legends Series

Stu McGill. Nothing else to say.

This interview was career fulfilling for me, as professor McGill has served as one of the fathers I never had.

As recommended in this interview, be sure you pick up copies of Professor McGill’s book “Back Mechanic” by the case, and make them available to your patients. All of Professor McGill’s books should be part of your library:

– Low Back Disorders (or as I mis-named “low back pain” in the podcast)
– Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance
– Back Mechanic
– Gift of Injury: The Strength Athlete’s Guide to Recovering From Back Injury and Winning Again

All of Professor McGill’s books and more can be found at: https://www.backfitpro.com

Enjoy our conversation!

» The Physical Performance Show Expert Edition: Prof. Stuart McGill – Biomechanist & Lower Back Pain Expert

In episode 108 of The Physical Performance Show Brad Beer brings you an expert edition and has a conversation with Prof. Stuart McGill – Biomechanist & Lower Back Pain Expert.

On this weeks’ episode 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.

» How To Get Extreme “Okinawan” Strength, 3 Ways To Fix Low Back Pain & The Best Core Exercises With Stu McGill

Are crunches really all that bad?
How can you get the torso strength of a steel bar?
How can you keep your glutes “turned on”?
Is there a way to fix your back without seeing a chiropractic doc over and over again?

These questions and many more are things I constantly think about when it comes to the health of the low back, so I decided to get one of the world’s leading low back experts on the podcast to clear up the confusion and clutter about your back and spine. Stuart McGill has been a Professor of Spine Biomechanics at the University of Waterloo for over 32 years, authored of over 240 scientific journal papers and has mentored over 40 graduate students during this scientific journey. As a consultant, he has provided expertise on low back injury to various government agencies, many corporations and legal firms and professional/international athletes and teams worldwide. He is regularly referred special patient cases from the international medical community for opinion.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-How Stu quantifies whether or not something actually works to strengthen your low back or fix your back pain…[8:30]

-The three major elements that influence spine stability…[14:00]

-The Stuart McGill “big three” exercises for low back pain…[24:20]

-What Stu thinks about credit card analogy out there that you can’t “bend” the spine a whole bunch of times without causing damage…[31:10]

-How you can develop extreme “Okinawan” strength…[40:05]

-How Stu treats and fixes low back pain related to sex…[45:45]

-How to make your core stability a “subconscious motion”…[58:25]

-Whether it is true that an SI joint can “lock up” and if so, how that can be fixed…[62:30]

-Stu’s opinion on inversion tables or yoga trapezes for self traction and low back pain…[68:30]

-And much more!

» #67: How Dr. McGill would explain Back Pain to a New Patient

» On YouTube

» On iTunes

Back pain isn’t the death sentence you think it is. Majority of people can get better with a little understanding and dedication.

Dr. Stuart McGill PhD is a spine biomechanist at the University of Waterloo. Over the years, he has conducted numerous lab experiments on the human spine to figure out how much load it can take, what motions cause it to become injured and more. He’s the author of some awesome books, such as Back Mechanic: The Secrets to a Healthy Spine your Doctor isn’t Telling You, which was written specifically for chronic low back patients to better understand and resolve their condition.

Dr Stuart McGill’s Bio: Dr. McGill is a professor emeritus, University of Waterloo, where he was a professor for 32 years. His laboratory and experimental research clinic investigated issues related to the causal mechanisms of back pain, how to rehabilitate back-pained people and enhance injury resilience and performance. This produced over 240 peer-reviewed scientific journal papers, many international awards, and has mentored over 40 graduate students during this scientific journey.

I’m honored to have him on this podcast session. Our goal today is to breakdown the common questions patients have about back pain. If you’re a healthcare provider you’ll know what questions I’m talking about:

Should I stretch my back?
Is my pain from a disc herniation?
How can I overcome a weak back?
Why does it hurt when I sit?

These are just a few of the topics. Basically this podcast was designed to fit the best spinal hygiene information within an hour and 15 min block. If you’re a healthcare provider, share this with your patients. If you’re a patient, share this with your doctor or your spouse with back pain.

» LT 099 | Dr. Stuart McGill & Brian Carroll – The Gift of Injury

Dr. Stuart M. McGill is a professor emeritus of the University of Waterloo, where he was a professor for 32 years. His laboratory and experimental research clinic investigated issues related to the causal mechanisms of back pain, how to rehabilitate back-pained people and enhance both injury resilience and performance.

Brian Carroll is world class powerlifter with over a decade of elite class lifting under his belt. Coming back from a devastating back injury in 2012 that broke multiple bones and that most experts said he would never recover from, Brian returned to world class form and was able to establish a new world record for the squat at 1185 pounds all after his back injury.

This interview tells the story of Brian’s injury and his journey back to health and elite performance with the help of Dr. McGill.

Here are 3 things you will learn from this interview:

  • The importance of being an athlete 24/7
  • What’s one piece of advice you both would give to our youth to better prepare them to strength train?
  • The value of assistance work

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Gift of Injury you can find it on Amazon.com, Powerrackstrength.com and BackFitPro.com and I will also include those links in the show notes.

Interview Topics and Questions:

Brian and Dr. McGill

  • Who came up with the title “The Gift of Injury” and what’s the meaning for each of you behind this title?
  • What does being an athlete 24/7 mean?
  • What’s one piece of advice you both would give to our youth to better prepare them to strength train?
  • Regardless of sport, why is it important to only compete at competitions a few times a year?
  • What do we need to do to change the mindset of chasing reps and adding weight? This is not a mindset that athletes intuitively possess.


  • What does it mean to “Practice the way we plan to compete.” and to “approach every lift with intent and meaning”.
  • The value and importance of assistance work. What do you look for when coaching an athlete and how to select the appropriate exercise.
  • Your decision to retire and over the next several years lower your body weight.

Dr. McGill

  • Why “knee to chest” stretches and rolling around | use of a foam roller are not good for the back or performance?
  • How the Big Three provides a stiffening, bracing effect for several hours after performing them reduces micro movements.
  • Bone callousing: quick explanation of theory and how this was a key part of Brian’s rehab

» Performance Place Sports Care – Sports Medicine & Anatomy – #63: The Gift of Injury with Brian Carroll & Dr. Stuart McGill

After receiving my copy of the Gift of Injury, the story of Brian Carroll’s return to powerlifting after a horrific back injury, I asked the two authors to be on the podcast. Brian Carroll and Dr. Stuart McGill blend the worlds of science and powerlifting together perfectly… the moral of the story is that if Brian can feel better and win again then many other people/ weekend warriors/ athletes can overcome their back pain.

Here’s Brian’s bio:
Brian Carroll: Brian is a world class powerlifter with over a decade of elite class lifting under his belt. Coming back from a devastating back injury in 2012 that broke multiple bones that most experts said he would never recover from, he has returned to the pinnacle of world class lifting (while 100% pain and symptom free). He is now dedicated to helping others avoid the same mistakes that he made in the past through private and group coaching
Brian flew to Dr. McGill’s lab in Canada for a full assessment and develop a plan of attack. His goal was to be at the top of his game again… better than before his injury.

Dr. Stuart McGill was the right guy to see.
Dr Stuart McGill’s Bio: Dr. McGill is a professor emeritus, University of Waterloo, where he was a professor for 32 years. His laboratory and experimental research clinic investigated issues related to the causal mechanisms of back pain, how to rehabilitate back-pained people and enhance injury resilience and performance. This produced over 240 peer-reviewed scientific journal papers, many international awards, and has mentored over 40 graduate students during this scientific journey.

The Gift of Injury was born of their experiences/relationship together. It’s an excellent book packed with examples of loading programs, building tension, and the guy wire system all in an effort to allow Brian’s spine to heal before his push to be at the top of powerlifting again.

After Brian’s recovery he was able to he lifted a 2615lbs total at the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival, claiming the 242lbs class open and overall titles for the 3rd time.

– Back Mechanic FIX YOUR BACK PAIN

» Strength Coach Podcast- Episode 219 – The Gift of Injury with Dr. Stuart McGill and Brian Carroll

Highlights of Episode 219

Hit The Gym with a Strength Coach

  • What led Brian to eventually see Stu
  • Stu explains Brian’s injury
  • Stu talks about Purposely Provoking Pain
  • The 2 Stage Plan to Recovery
  • The Importance of Buy-in
  • A review of The Big Three
  • Approaching every lift with the same intensity


“(#224) Dr. Stuart McGill and Brian Carroll return to the podcast this week to share their story about the “Gift of Injury.”

The NEW book, co-written by my guests, outline Brian’s recovery from back injury and how he returned to elite level powerlifting with the help of Dr. Stuart McGill.

Dr. Stuart McGill has been the professor of Spine Biomechanics at the University of Waterloo since 1986. He is widely regarded as the world-leading authority in Spine Biomechanics and has worked with individuals and teams all over the globe.

Brian Carroll is a world-class powerlifter with over a decade of elite lifting under his belt. He came back from a devastating back injury and returned to the pinnacle of world-class powerlifting, while successfully becoming pain and symptom free.

Their new book is a system to maximize function and optimize performance for the strength athlete and should serve as the definitive guide to back rehabilitation and training.

Here’s what you’ll learn this week in an amazing interview with the authors:

Dr. McGill describes Brian’s initial interaction and assessment
How Dr. McGill explains the devastating scenario
What Brian’s mindset was like when he went to visit Dr. McGill
How the book idea came about – and actually came to reality
How fast his pain began to resolve following the advice of Dr. McGill
Pain triggers – and their importance in relieving pain
The initial “movement” patterns used by Dr. McGill to reduce pain
Key cues and tips to improve function and core stiffness
The science of “bone callousing” – and why this is important
Why Brian says his program was so successful
We discuss long-term thoughts on back injuries
Who needs to read this book – and why
Why they ultimately decided to collaborate on this project
How ‘Gift Of Injury’ differs from each of their previous books
Should clinician’s read this book?
What all humans can learn from the strength athlete
Tools and practical applications to use in everyday life
How the ‘Gift Of Injury’ changed Brian’s life for the better
What Dr. McGill learned from working with Brian
And so much more…”

» The Everyday Athlete by Strength Matters

“The Everyday Athlete is a weekly podcast produced by Strength Matters and hosted by Josh Kennedy. Josh talks to the world’s leading experts in health, fitness, rehabilitation, nutrition, mindset, and performance to share cutting edge strategies to help you train smarter, reduce injuries and achieve better results. The Everyday Athlete is someone who cares about his or her health enough to do something about it, has reached at least a very basic level of fitness and is someone who regularly partakes in purposeful physical activity and/or has an active lifestyle and job. If you are reading this, you probably are the Everyday Athlete. We combine winning strategies developed in-house by Strength Matters and those of the world’s leading experts, who share their stories and strategies on the Everyday Athlete podcast. Learn their winning strategies and apply them to your training and lifestyle today.


Dr. Stuart McGill on Back Health and Proper Core Training for Strength Athletes
Dr. Stuart McGill is widely acknowledged as the world’s foremost expert on the low spine, particularly as it relates to athletes. He joins us on this monster of a podcast to talk about core training for athletes, back health, rehabilitation, and more.http://www.spreaker.com/user/mashmafiastrength/130-dr-stuart-mcgill-on-back-health-and-

» Podcast Interview, June 23, 2013
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 back pain and/or dysfunction, and many more topics.http://robbiebourke.podbean.com/2013/06/23/episode-22-an-interview-with-dr-stuart-mcgill/

» Interview with master trainer Paul Bielak in Prague, Czech Republic Jan 2016
Advance Training was built on an ideal of continuing education, as well as the ongoing evolution of the Personal Training profession. Our goal is to achieve pain-free peak performance by taking the time to build a strongfoundation for loaded movement. Consideringappropriate stability, mobility, and prioritizingindividual compensation in the beginning of he process allows for proper physical function, and a reduction in injury ratelater in the process of developing endurance, strength, and training capacity asit relates to any specific work or sporting demand.http://www.advancetraining.cz/en_US/back-mechanic/

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