Dr. Stuart McGill on Building the Athletic Spine

Dr. Stuart McGill is often considered to be the world’s foremost expert on spinal biomechanics. His patient list ranges from the general population to some of the world’s most elites athletes, and his work has produced over 240 peer reviewed journal papers and 4 books.

In this show, Dr. McGill and I talk about a wide range of topics – how spinal shapes impact and influence performance, the power of pulsing, the differences between elastic and strength athletes, and even what he describes as his “biblical training week.”

Now before I jump into this show, I want to say this – Dr. McGill is one of the most influential people in my career as a coach. His work shaped my path early-on when I was just a  young fledgling, and I’m constantly amazed at the depth of his knowledge.

And after doing close to 200 of these podcasts, I can tell you with no reservation that that is definitely an all-time favorite.


Show Outline

Here’s a brief overview of this week’s episode:


  • Show Intro
  • Interview with Dr. Stuart McGill
    • Updates on what life is like since retiring from teaching.
    • How spinal type influences athletic performance.
    • The concepts of stiffness, relaxation and impulse, and how they impact athletic movement.
    • How rehabilitation approaches differ (and perhaps more importantly, are similar) between the lay population and elite athletes.
    • His thoughts on flexibility for the spine.
    • A shocking stat regarding injuries and personal training, and the advice he would give to young trainers and coaches to help keep them healthy.
    • Real talk: Of his four books, does he have a favorite?
    • Our always popular lightning round where we talk about his favorite summer past time, why he doesn’t miss teaching, and what’s next for Dr. Stuart McGill.


Related Links


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