I am here to share with you a part of Ken's journey to lifting pain free. We recently met with Dr. Stu McGill and for over 5 weeks Ken has been doing the "McGill Big Three" everyday. Here is Ken's version of why everyone should do these exercises.
Anyone in the powerlifting world has probably heard of professor Stu McGill Phd. "Stu headed the Spine Biomechanics lab and clinic at Waterloo University and has spent many years researching spinal mechanics". Professor McGill has written several books on spinal mechanics, he travels the world doing seminars and is a consultant for many professional athletic organizations.
Professor McGill has worked with numerous professional athletes of all disciplines and is considered to be one of the most premiere specialists in the world. He recently worked with Brian Carroll and by using a specific rehabilitation protocol, Brian has been able to return to the platform 100% pain free. Both Brian and Professor McGill have recently written and released a book about Brian's near career ending injury called "The Gift Of Injury".
A few of the key elements of the McGill approach to resolving back injuries is to assess a patient, determine what the source cause of the injury is and address it accordingly through a desensitization period, followed by increasing endurance and strength. Many people have jobs where they sit at a desk all day without proper posture, a lot of their daily movements are repeated numerous times with poor posture which can put a lot of accumulated stress on the spine.
Paying attention to good posture and "moving well 24/7" is paramount to fixing somebody with back pain or an injury.
The "McGill Big 3"
Lifters and strength athletes have heard or are starting to see a lot of athletes using 3 exercises referred to as the "McGill Big 3". These exercises are designed to strengthen the muscular support system for back without putting any shear force on the spine itself.
The Big 3 consists of Birddogs, the McGill crunch and bodyweight planks. If these exercises are done on a daily basis and prior to squatting or deadlifting, they will help tremendously in maintaining a healthy spine and it will make your back much more resilient to injury.
The Birddog: The birddog is started when you are on all fours on the floor. Extend the opposite arm and leg while bracing your mid-section for ten-second holds. When you start, perform each hold for ten seconds per side with a rep range of 5/5, 3/3 & 2/2.
The McGill Crunch: The McGill crunch is performed by lying on your back with one leg straight and one leg positioned at a 45 degree angle. Place your hands under your hips and raise your ebows off the floor. Raise your head off the ground about two inches and brace your abdominals for ten-seconds. Alternate your opposite leg positions to do the exercise on both sides. Hold each position for ten-seconds each for three sets with a rep range of 5/5, 3/3 & 2/2.
Planks: Planks are performed in a front plank position and side plank positions. With your feet on the floor, rest on your elbows in a plank position and brace your core. Hold the position for ten-seconds. Roll onto your right elbow and hold for ten-seconds, roll back to the front plank position briefly and roll onto your left elbow in the plank position. Hold each position for ten-seconds and do three sets; 5/5/5, 3/3/3 & 2/2/2.
You may think that these simple movements are insignificant or shouldn't be a priority but I promise if you "move well 24/7" make them a part of your daily routine and training regimen, you will become much stronger in your lifts and you will be much more resilient to injury. (Ken Whetham)
Get your copy of the latest and greatest edition "The Gift Of Injury"
Dr. McGill is one of the most knowledgeable people we have had the pleasure of meeting. His generosity and kindness is a gift and we value it more than words can describe. So cheers to Stu and cheers to Ken lifting pain free!