Alive Blog

Stuart McGill

Building a strong and resilient spine

In the world of strength and conditioning, Stuart McGill is a renowned figure who has dedicated his career to understanding the mechanics of the human spine and developing strategies to enhance its strength and resilience. Among his many contributions, McGill introduced “The Big 3” exercises, a set of fundamental movements designed to promote spinal stability and prevent back pain. By understanding and implementing these exercises, individuals can improve their spinal health, enhance athletic performance, and reduce the risk of debilitating injuries. In my opinion, this might be one of the most important blog posts related to your spine’s health. I personally do these exercises at least 3 times a week, it does not take long, and it helps me to keep my core strong and stable. So, let’s analyse the Big 3 and unlock the secrets to a strong and resilient spine. 

McGill N.1: The Bird Dog Exercise

The Bird Dog exercise is the first component of Stuart McGill’s Big 3. This exercise targets the posterior (back) deep muscles of the core, including the transversus abdominis and multifidus, which play a crucial role in spinal stability. By assuming a quadruped position and extending one arm forward while simultaneously extending the opposite leg backward, the Bird Dog exercise activates the muscles responsible for maintaining balance and proper alignment of the spine. Regular practice of this exercise helps improve core strength, stability, and coordination, ultimately reducing the risk of lower back pain and enhancing overall spinal health.

Superman exercise

McGill N.2: The Side Plank Exercise

The Side Plank is the second exercise in The Big 3 and focuses on strengthening the lateral muscles of the core, particularly the quadratus lumborum. This muscle plays a vital role in maintaining proper posture and stabilizing the spine during various movements. By assuming a side-lying position and lifting the body using the forearm and side of the foot, the Side Plank engages the muscles along the side of the torso, enhancing their strength and endurance. Regular practice of this exercise helps improve lateral stability, supports proper spinal alignment, and reduces the risk of injuries related to poor posture or spinal instability. Start by doing 2 or 3 sets on each side, holding as long as you can. 40 seconds is okay, 50 is good, more than 60 is very good! The only recommendation here is to keep your elbow in line with the shoulder. Hold the position and focus on your breath (it will help you to focus on the breath rather than focusing on the burning sensation on the side of your body!)

Side plank

McGill N.3: The modified McGill Curl-Up 

The McGill Curl-Up is the final exercise in The Big 3 and targets the anterior muscles of the core, including the rectus abdominis and obliques. Unlike traditional sit-ups or crunches, the McGill Curl-Up emphasizes spinal stability and avoids excessive flexion, which can strain the spine. By maintaining a neutral spine and performing a controlled partial curl-up, this exercise activates the deep abdominal muscles while minimizing stress on the lumbar spine. Regular practice of the McGill Curl-Up can improve core endurance, enhance spinal stability, and prevent lower back pain. Because it is a difficult exercise to perform and visualise – and it can also be easily misinterpreted -, you can watch a full explanation HERE.

Why are they important

Implementing The Big 3 exercises offers a wide range of benefits for individuals of all fitness levels and backgrounds. Firstly, these exercises promote spinal stability by targeting the deep muscles of the core, which provide a solid foundation for the spine and enhance its ability to handle external forces. Improved spinal stability translates to reduced risk of back pain and injuries during daily activities or athletic endeavors. Additionally, The Big 3 exercises improve core strength, endurance, and coordination, leading to enhanced athletic performance and functional movement patterns. By incorporating these exercises into a well-rounded fitness routine, individuals can build a strong and resilient spine that supports overall physical well-being. Most importantly, by implementing these in your workout routine, you drastically reduce the risk of developing lower back pain, sciatica, etc. They are also excellent exercises to perform a couple of months after giving birth, to fight core weakness and instability

 

Quality over quantity

To effectively implement The Big 3, it is essential to focus on quality over quantity. Performing each exercise with proper technique and control is crucial for reaping their full benefits. It is recommended to start with a low number of repetitions and gradually progress as strength and endurance improve. Additionally, consistency is key, so incorporating The Big 3 exercises into a regular training routine is essential for long-term results. Consulting with a qualified fitness professional or physical therapist can provide personalized guidance and ensure correct execution of the exercises, especially for individuals with pre-existing back conditions or specific needs.

Stuart McGill’s Big 3 exercises offer a practical and evidence-based approach to building a strong and resilient spine. By incorporating the Bird Dog, Side Plank, and McGill Curl-Up into a comprehensive training program, individuals can enhance spinal stability, improve core strength, and reduce the risk of back pain and injuries. Understanding and implementing these fundamental exercises not only benefits athletes and fitness enthusiasts but also individuals seeking to maintain a healthy spine and lead an active lifestyle. So, embrace the principles of The Big 3 and unlock the potential for a stronger, more resilient, and pain-free back.

 

Dr. Edoardo Elisei DC

Alive Chiropractic LTD
alivechiropractic.co.uk
1C Crown Gate Square
POUNDBURY

22/01/2023

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.

Richard
Richard
12:52 03 May 24
Fantastic informative straightforward information looking forward to working with Edo
Linda Jukes
Linda Jukes
18:07 01 May 24
I have had back pain for many years and tried lots of different ways to ease it, with no success. From my first appointment at Alive Chiropractic Clinic, I could feel an improvement. I am so pleased with the results after a 12 week course. The clinic is superb and Edo is friendly and supportive. I will continue to visit the clinic and recommend to everyone!
Gary Rolls
Gary Rolls
19:48 24 Apr 24
I have been a patient of the Alive Chiropractor clinic for the last six weeks. Following a stroke in March 2022 I had been suffering with a walking imbalance and general lack of mobility. I would say that my improvement stands somewhere between 60-70% already. I would happily recommend the clinic to anyone that is suffering to book themselves an appointment.
Peter Waller
Peter Waller
11:29 15 Apr 24
After visiting Dr. Edoardo at the Alive chiropractic clinic, I booked a block booking of 12 sessions. From start to finish he made me feel very comfortable, and as each session went on i began to feel much better within myself.As well as the work he done with me in the clinic, he has taught me many different exercises to help me with the problems in which i suffer with, as well as explaining to me how my diet can also help me going forward.He has been a great help, and i shall continue to see him in the future so that he can help me maintain ( and improve) my well being.RegardsPeter
leonie macdonald
leonie macdonald
16:15 18 Mar 24
I was greeted by an interested and professional person. I was helped to deal with a recent trauma, not only with deep breathing techniques and compassion but also accurate chiropractic treatment. Every time I left my appointment I felt a profound sense of healing.
Emma Simmons
Emma Simmons
20:34 07 Jan 24
My experience from the very first consultation has been excellent! Edo is extremely knowledgeable and a great professional. His holistic outlook and advice brings benefits beyond his chiropractic adjustments, which is an added bonus! I would highly recommend his practice.
olly morency
olly morency
09:16 21 Nov 23
An excellent service; Edo helped me with corrections for my back, and advice on how to improve my health span with breath work and improved movement. Strong recommend!
Moira Priestley
Moira Priestley
20:18 15 Oct 23
I found the treatment I received very beneficial. My sciatica has eased a lot and I am sleeping much better. I would highly recommend Alive Chiropractic.
Ben Boughton-White
Ben Boughton-White
06:04 15 Oct 23
A fantastic chiropractic experience!Dr Edo provides a whole body approach to resolving chiropractic issues. His care plan to help solve your unique issues is fantastic, short and simple adjustments rather than long sessions of big adjustments has worked brilliantly for me. Communications are easy and booking ahead is brilliant for me and my schedule.I can’t recommend Alive highly enough!
Benny Clifford
Benny Clifford
15:53 25 Sep 23
Dr Edo has been a great help in getting me moving again, and he is a trustworthy pair of hands in his field of work. Top man!The reception is also very welcoming. I very much recommend this place!
Jane Bygraves
Jane Bygraves
12:30 14 Sep 23
I have a better range of movement and am moving more freely after a course of gentle, thorough treatment with Alive Chiropractic. My energy levels have improved.
Sarah Spadon
Sarah Spadon
18:48 10 Sep 23
I’ve been adjusted by Dr Edoardo for a number of years now, since I’ve been under care I’ve never had any problems but most importantly he helps me keep my nervous system healthy through maintenance care which allows me to be more in control in all of my day to day activities and keeps my mind healthy. His adjustments are gentle and precise and he is really kind and makes you feel at ease in any moment. Highly recommend!
Morgex
Morgex
11:05 10 Sep 23
This is my first experience with chiropractic ever, and it has been life changing! I have a slipped lumbar disc and I was in lots of pain and had very limited mobility. I saw Edo for a few appointments and not only did my back get better, it has stayed that way since! I am doing the exercises he prescribed and now I am only seeing him for maintenance and I feel better than ever, more relaxed and aware of my posture overall . He is a good listener, very informative, professional and communicative.
Isabella White
Isabella White
07:15 08 Sep 23
A wonderful experience so far with Dr Edo at his clinic in Poundbury. I have come away from my first six sessions feeling so much more aware and in tune with my body, and I have experienced noticeable changes in my body and mindset also.Dr Edo is professional, knowledge, and believes firmly in his work which he is clearly passionate about. I feel he has an empowering vision, cares deeply, and has a refreshing balance of western and eastern understanding. Because of this, Dr Edo has a deeper, holistic approach by taking into account all aspects of one's lifestyle (diet, exercise, mental/emotional state) in sessions. For someone like myself who values a holistic perspective on health, Dr Edo's approach is invaluable and helped me relax and feel at great ease. Sam in reception is lovely and you instantly feel welcomed when coming in for a session also. Thank you to you both. Highly recommend!
Chris Copeland
Chris Copeland
20:59 16 Aug 23
Dr. Edo has a very calm temperament and his knowledge aids in your own relaxation, which is a help when your own flexibility, mobility or posture are far from relaxed. Sam, the Chiropractic assistant, is the first person to greet you when you arrive and will explain the fundamentals of the practice. The practice is clean, modern and has ample road side parking. The whole experience has been a success and I am now able to move without pain, the new mobility gained will enable me to get on with life and have new experiences and adventures, for this I thank you.
Sonya Hendry
Sonya Hendry
18:21 16 Aug 23
I have been coming to see Ed at Alive Chiropractic since opening. Visiting regularly is enabling me to have a more comfortable and mobile life. The ambiance and warm welcome, along with total professionalism means so much.
Alison Michele Williams
Alison Michele Williams
20:49 30 Jul 23
A great, professional, friendly service. A whole rounded approach to better well being and healthy body.Thank you!
Tessa Aindow
Tessa Aindow
16:58 13 Jul 23
Brilliant experience. My back has improved so much and I don’t have the same aches and pains. Dr Edo is very professional and gives great advice and exercises to help alongside the adjustments at the clinic.
Malwina T
Malwina T
15:56 19 Jun 23
Great and unique treatment. Eased the lower back pain significantly! Changed my outlook on chiropractic treatments and self care. Highly recommend!!!
jill cheng
jill cheng
09:17 16 Jun 23
I visited the clinic after suffering with low back pain for nearly ten years. The chiropractor helped me regain functionality and quality of life. More importantly, he helped me understand and connect some aspects of my life to my body and how it works, strongly recommended 👍🏻
Chirosofia
Chirosofia
20:41 14 Jun 23
I have known Edoardo since day one at Chiropractic College, and I have witnessed his growing passion for this profession. His long time experience as a Yoga Instructor, combined to his deep knowledge into the Chiropractic art, science and philosophy, will make your journey towards healthy-living a very pleasant experience. Book that appointment and enjoy feeling better!
Paul Ansell
Paul Ansell
12:33 08 Feb 23
All my life I’ve had bad posture and bad back I’ve been to doctors specialists and always same outcome I’ve got to live with it. At the age of 58 I went to this practice and he has done wonders this is the best I have ever been since I can remember. Highly recommend
Zoe Ratcliffe
Zoe Ratcliffe
17:05 30 Jan 23
I attended Alive chiropractor after seeing a special offer they were offering and suffering from a bad back for a long time it felt like a good idea to go see what they said. Since this I have been attending twice a week and the improvements are happening. Edo is very knowledgeable and really wants the best for you he doesn't just care about the back or other pains you may be having but also acknowledges the impact these things can have on you emotionally and personally. I can't recommend this service enough.
Michelle Lambell
Michelle Lambell
21:55 24 Jan 23
Regular sessions with Dr Edo at Alive Chiropractic have made such a big difference to my posture, my way of working at my desk and taught me how to manage my breathing, all of which have led to a big shift in my mindset towards looking after myself and my body.I will happily recommend Alive Chiropractic to my friends.
Paul Nicol
Paul Nicol
08:22 30 Sep 22
I have just finished initial treatment for my back problem. Appointments with the NHS in the past have never resulted in a diagnosis let alone treatment. However at Alive I received a diagnosis and treatment plan on the initial consultation. This set out exactly how I was going to be treated and cost. Following the treatment I could not be healthier or happier. An exceptionally professional service in which Dr Edoardo Elisei seems passionate about what he does. It is more than just a hands on treatment on his 'couch', but a full lifestyle treatment ensuring exercises and diet are in balance to assist recovery and as a preventative for the future. I would be happy to recommend to anyone.
claudia marcela lopez gallardo
claudia marcela lopez gallardo
08:05 30 Jul 22
Edo is a great professional, very friendly and knowledgeable. He corrected my posture in only few months, he said this was going to happen and I couldn't believe it, it was so fast and happened, the changes not only I could feel them but also you can see them. He did the adjustments with a lot of care, with a lot of patience he took the time to give the advices and exercises that I could benefit my posture in the future. I totally recommend him.
TheLizwalker
TheLizwalker
10:18 18 Jul 22
When I first met Dr Ed I had problems bending, and worst of all I could hardly move my neck. I was a total painful wreck.Ed takes a very holistic approach, encouraging me to lose weight and work on different rehab exercises to reinforce the manipulations and adjustments he made.Here I am some three months on, I weigh a lot less, I have incredible flexibility in my lower back and can now touch my toes and, best of all. I have full flexibility of my neck.Eds holistic approach really works, he is very approachable and easy to chat about things with.One caveat, Ed knows when you haven't done your exercises so don't cheat. :)I cannot thank him enough for the massive improvements in my health and his encouraging me to make little changes for a healthier long term lifestyle.
Elaine Daniel
Elaine Daniel
13:05 07 Jul 22
I saw Edo in March and he was so informative regarding my spinal issues. I have had many treatments from him over the past few months and feel so much better and have more movement and less pain. He provides exercises for clients to help with strengthening muscles which is all part and parcel of chiropractic healing. I would recommend going to see him anytime.
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