Stuart McGill Takes on Crunches…Again

Stuart McGill Takes on Crunches…Again
September 22, 2011 Dr. Phillip Snell

Dr. Stu McGill and Dr. Phillip Snell

Spine researcher Stuart McGill, PhD, was kind enough to spend some time answering some questions I had about recent developments in the spine literature and popular culture. We discussed a recent article in Strength and Conditioning Journal by noted blogger and trainer, Bret Contreras and co-author Brad Schoenfeld entitled To Crunch or Not to Crunch: An Evidence-Based Examination of Spinal Flexion Exercises, Their Potential Risks, and Their Applicability to Program Design.  This article was picked up by Gretchen Reynolds in the Health section of the New York Times.  Contreras and Schoenfeld contend that some loaded flexion of the lumbar spine, in a well chosen population is not only OK, but also, perhaps even health promoting.  Dr. McGill weighs in on this topic with his understanding of the literature and his experience working with elite athletes.  For those interested in learning more about Dr. McGill’s approach, check out his DVDs and books at

Osteopath, Dr. Eyal Lederman authored a rather provocatively titled paper in Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapy entitled The Fall of the Postural-Structural-Biomechanical Model in April 2011.  In that issue, several multidisciplinary luminaries responded to Dr. Lederman’s contention that a more encompassing clinical model was needed in management of musculoskeletal pain.  We  discussed some of the tenets of his Process Approach model, noting the similarities to Gordon Waddell’s Biopsychosocial Model.

Corrective exercises from Dr. McGill are located on as well as corrections from the FMS/SFMA work, Craig Liebenson, Robin McKenzie, Vlad Janda, Eric Cressey, the kettlebell community and many more.  These videos are thorough tutorials, in patient/client friendly verbiage for clinicians, bodyworkers, trainers and coaches to use to help simplify patient education.  Trial the site for $1 for 30 days.  If you like it, it’s only $9.99 per month!


Great for abs, still bad for backs.


Click on the arrow below to play.  Feel free to share by download or linking!  Articles we mentioned are linked below.  Enjoy!

References and Links:

*Catch Dr. Stuart McGill in person in LA October 15-16, 2011 when he’s hosted by Clare Frank, DPT and Cynergy Education Group.  This 2 day workshop will cover Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance.





* Link to Videman’s paper, Challenging the Cumulative Injury Model: Positive Effects of Greater Body Mass on Disc Degeneration.

* Link to Hebert et al’s paper, Clinical Predictions for Success of Interventions for Managing Low Back Pain.