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Back Pain in Gymnastics with Dr. Stuart McGill: Mechanisms, Evaluation, and Training

I am incredibly excited to share with listeners an interview with someone who I have looked up to for many years, Dr. Stuart McGill.

Dr. McGill has a PhD from the University of  Waterloo and is one of the most internationally known researchers in spine biomechanics, having worked at The University of Waterloo for over 30 years. He runs one of the most internationally recognized companies for back pain education, BackFitPro.

His work specializing how the spine and core work, what causes low back pain, and then how to help people prevent back pain as well as reach elite levels of performance.

I was lucky enough to get Dr. McGill on The SHIFT Show to discuss a huge range of issues in gymnastics related to back pain. He was gracious enough to talk with me for over an hour, and also did a video conference with me to show some really cool spine anatomy models he uses to educate patients about injuries. (video feed is below!)

He has over 240 peer-reviewed scientific journal papers on various topics related to the spine, several textbooks, and many international awards. He has worked with hundreds of professional, elite, and Olympic athletes across many different sports for back pain, including many of the worlds most high performing gymnasts

I have followed Dr. McGills work extensively for the last 10 years, and many of the work that I have done in gymnastics on the coaching and medical side comes from his huge body of scientific research.

We talked about a huge range of topics including

  • Dr. McGill’s experiences treating elite and Olympic gymnasts for lower back pain
  • His views on proper training dosage for gymnasts
  • Lumbar stress fractures or spondy fractures in gymnasts
  • Compression based issues like endplate fractures that come from high impact landings in gymnastics
  • Working with youth athletes for back injuries versus adults
  • Body weight versus external loading for gymnasts

I promise this talk is loaded with tons of valuable information, so do yourself a favor and listen twice while taking some notes!  I highly recommend you watch the youtube video for the models, but you can also listen to the podcast form below.  Hope it’s helpful!

Dr.  Stuart McGill on Low Back Pain in Gymnasts, Diagnosing Injuries, and Training Methods to Prevent Injury


If you could do me a huge favor and share this with your gymnastics or medical community, I would really appreciate it!