Stop Bastardizing McGill’s work Part 2

In this series of articles, I will give myself 30min to write about a topic – a rough draft to published. It will be rough and straight to the point. Let’s see how a few of these go and if I have any friends left after this period of time.

Last time I discussed the Big 3 and how some tend to think they are doing the McGill method just because they are adding core stabilization to their programming, which can be a really good thing, but this is only one component of many. Further, it may not be for you at a given time.

I’m speaking about my own experience and interpretation of the texts of Low Back Disorders, UBFP, GOI, and Back Mechanic: I am only speaking for myself as a personal trainer and coach, and someone who has had to learn a great deal about managing my own back. This is not intended to be in any way a how-to guide, or medical information.

This time I’m going to discuss another detail: Each back injury has a unique cause and must be treated as much. Many powerlifters have compressive force injuries often paired with either flexion and or extension intolerance.

In my experience over the last 8 years, here is what I have found:

Simply adding in the McGill big 3 exercises could help but could also really flare up a lifter if not properly executed and applied; this is determined by the art of coaching; the information in Back Mechanic and Gift of Injury are clear: it’s up to you to study, experiment, and apply.

Everyone will respond differently with variables that range from pure luck, genetics to proper training and rest cycles, as well as building a custom program that brings up your deficits but strengthens your weaknesses and REMOVES the cause of injury/pain.

You can do all of the core work you wish, but it isn’t likely to get you back to where you want to be if you have many ‘lifting years’ under your belt!

Remove the cause.

You might even need to take some time off from lifting! But you can’t do that right?

Get educated. More soon.

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Brian Carroll

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Brian is a retired world-class powerlifter with over two decades of world-class powerlifting. From 1999 to 2020, Brian Carroll was a competitive powerlifter, one of the most accomplished lifters in the sport's history. Brian started off competing in bench press competitions 'raw,' then, shortly into the journey, he gravitated toward equipped lifting as there were no "raw" categories then. You only had to choose from single-ply (USPF) and Multi-ply (APF/WPC). Brian went on to total 2730 at 275 and 2651 at 242 with more than ten times his body weight in three different classes (220, 242, 275), and both bench pressed and deadlifted over 800 pounds in two other weight classes. He's totaled 2600 over 20 times in 2 different weight classes in his career. With 60 squats of 1000lbs or more officially, this is the most in powerlifting history, regardless of weight class or federation, by anyone not named David Hoff. Brian realized many ups and downs during his 20+ years competing. After ten years of high-level powerlifting competition and an all-time World Record squat at 220 with 1030, in 2009, Brian was competing for a Police academy scholarship. On a hot and humid July morning, Brian, hurdling over a barricade at 275lbs, landed on, fell, and hurt his back. After years of back pain and failed therapy, Brian met with world-renowned back specialist Prof McGill in 2013, which changed his trajectory more than he could have imagined. In 2017, Brian Carroll and Prof McGill authored the best-selling book about Brian's triumphant comeback to powerlifting in Gift of Injury. Most recently (10.3.20) -Brian set the highest squat of all time (regardless of weight class) with 1306 lbs – being the first man to break the 1300lb squat barrier at a bodyweight of 303 lbs.
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