A couple months ago, I picked up copies of the Gift of Injury as well as Back Mechanic–both great reads and very helpful. I’ve since implemented the core strengthening protocol on a daily basis, but I had a question regarding volume of the McGill Big 3.
In the Gift of Injury, several volume recommendations are made (6-4-2, 4-3-2, and I believe even 3-2-1 if I recall correctly). I’ve been using the 6-4-2 scheme since starting, but it sounds like Dr. McGill had you on a lower volume progression. Was this ever increased during your rehab, or was it ever reduced to more of a maintenance volume after you started to feel better and begin training heavy again? I don’t recall this being mentioned in the book, and now that I’m beginning to incorporate squats and deadlifts again, I’m not sure if I should be adjusting volume or not. I typically do 6-4-2 both on off-days as well as prior to lifting on training days.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and provide some insight!
Thanks for the words!
I did all sorts of fine-tuning during this process to find what worked for me. And what worked? about the middle of the road, multiple sessions per day.
The best advice I can give you is to find what works for you. Of course, there will be several volume suggestions. There is no cookie cutter for back pain. How bad is your back? Can you only do a couple of sets? Can you do a lot? Do they make you feel better or worse the more you do and what sticks with you more and creates pain-free capacity? Multiple times a day broken up or once a day? Lots of variables here.
Let us know what works for you!
Also, you will be doing these forever to remain resilient! Utilize them in the warm-up. For more programming suggestions, if you haven’t check out my book 10/20/Life where I give you all sorts of suggestions for cooldowns and extra work. https://shop.powerrackstrength.com/products/10-20-life-second-edition
Last year Brian helped me come back from a pretty severe back injury due to years of strongman and contact sports. To piggy back on what Brian said, it’s always going to boil down to trouble shooting and what works best for you. During my early days of programming/rehabbing I had 5 sets of 5 reps on each side with a 10 second hold. That started off perfectly but soon Type A personality took over and started to treat it as a workout rather than a rehab tool. Due to this, by the time I got to my 4th and 5th rep I was fatigued and my form was falling apart, causing a step back rather than forward. What worked for me was taking a step back, slowing down and gradually adding seconds over time with perfect form rather than worrying about particular sets, seconds or reps (I’m too competitive for my own good!!). It also didn’t hurt to have Brian watching weekly videos of my Mcgill big 3 etc hahah. Holding myself accountable to perfect form, disciplined mindset and becoming what Doc Mcgill refers to a “Type C” personality allowed me to progress forward and make it a lifestyle change rather than a reactive approach to injury. I hope this information helps you out and thanks for visiting our QnA!
I went through the McGill rehab protocol for two bulged discs and a nerve impingement. I was doing asymmetrical KB carries, KB Bottoms Up walks, birddogs, rolling planks and nerve flossing. I was doing this daily and started off with a 16kg bell for the carries and every week I increased the weight 2kg until I reached 32kg bell which I feel is heavy enough to get the desired response.
With the birddogs and rolling planks, I started with 3 sets 5/4/3 for 10 second holds. And every couple of weeks I increased the volume (5/5/3, 5/5/4,5/5/5).
I continue to do my McGill protocol daily which includes a 10 minute walk and my maintenance protocol is the KB walks with 32kg bell (3 sets x 100 ft) 24kg bell (Bottoms Up carries) (2 sets of 50 ft) BirdDogs 2 sets of (5/5) Rolling Planks 2 sets of (5/5) and I do nerve flossing sets in between my birddog and plank sets.
This seems to work really well for me.
Hope this helps.