A question I often get asked in clinic is what are the best exercises to perform to prevent low back pain. The below exercises are my ‘go-to’ for prevention of low back pain. They have been termed ‘The McGill big 3’ – named after the researcher Stuart McGill.
Stuart McGill is a spinal biomechanics researcher from The University of Waterloo, Canada. These role of these 3 exercises is to create spinal stability and endurance – which is essential for creating a stable foundation for the lower back.
The exercises aim to tighten up the front and sides of the core, while supporting the spine and remove gravity from the equation. The exercises are of a low intensity and are safe to perform.
Curl up – 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Bird dog – 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Side bridge – 3 sets of 8-10 seconds holds, each side.
If the above rep scheme is too hard, you can always modify it by reducing the number of reps and work your way up to the noted rep scheme.
It is also recommended to do these exercises before training as well, as it has shown to tighten and stiffen the core post performing them.
Perform these exercises once a day, not into pain. If you do have questions, pain or discomfort when performing these exercises, come in and see us and we can either correct your technique or advise you on alternative exercises.
McGill, S.M. (1997) The biomechanics of low back injury: Implications on current practice in industry and the clinic. J. Biomech. 30: 465-475.
McGill, S.M., Low Back Disorders: Evidence based prevention and rehabilitation, Human Kinetics Publishers, Champaign, Illinois, 2002.
Mitchell Roberts – Chiropractor