Posts in Stuart McGill
Nicola Folino, Personal Trainer

Oakville, Ontario, Canada

I love it when I get an email from a trainer who really gets it!

Nicola Folino is a 46-year-old mother of two, a former low back pain sufferer and a personal trainer.  Due to her own issues with crippling lower back pain, that at times prevented her from engaging in her love for fitness, she embarked on a mission to try to fix the problem.

From Nicola:

"I spoke with doctors and chiropractors and read and read and read some more! I eventually discovered Stuart McGill and it changed my world. I read all of his books, watched his videos, attended his seminars and I am waiting to sign up for his "McGill Certification Program" which is coming soon!  I have "fixed" my own back pain and enjoy fitness full time again!  I have developed a Personal Training Program based on Stuart McGill's methods for my clients with low back pain and have had great success!  I also just invested in one of the spine models from Dynamic Disc Designs which is a phenomenal teaching tool."

Luggage Rack

I used to struggle with my luggage.  I could almost guarantee that I would leave for a trip in pain, because packing is the flexion-inducing activity of all time.  I used to plop the suitcase on the bed, and approach it in the only way I could, with straight knees and a stooped spine.  After talking to Stuart McGill, who helped me realize that an overabundance of flexion was my enemy, I searched the SkyMall catalogue, stuffed with items for people with bad backs, for an item I was certain had to exist — a significantly taller luggage rack. There was no such thing.  I expanded my search to the Internet and learned that although there were hundreds of styles, not one of them stood more than 23 inches tall — at about the height of my knees. If I wanted such a rack, it would be up to me to create it. It would be simple to build, but I was short of time, so I located John Hession, the proprietor of Exotic Savannah Woodworks, who agreed to make such a rack for me, to my specifications, for less than $100. For several days, I considered the best height for my 5’ 10” frame. At some point, would excessive height make it unstable?  I chose 32 inches, which I estimated to be hip high.  When it arrived, it was perfect — glossy white with black straps.  I unfolded it, placed my Rimowa roll aboard on top, and started packing, with queenly bearing.  The next morning, as I left for the airport, something was different.  Nothing hurt.

Craig Liebenson, International Society of Clinical Rehabilitation Specialists


Craig Liebenson has been instrumental in developing the International Society of Clinical Rehabilitation Specialists, many of whom were trained as chiropractors, but have chosen to retrain in spine rehab and sports medicine. For information on providers in your area, search here. Have a look at some of Craig Liebenson’s work here. Trained as a chiropractor, he’s one of the great spine rehab specialists, located in West Los Angeles.

Here are a couple of Craig Liebenson’s articles in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, describing exercises that you can do, though it would be best to do them under supervision.  See The Missing Link in Protecting Against Back Pain and How to Stabilize My Back. (Note that the exercises described here are variations of exercises that Dr. Stuart McGill has made famous, but there’s no such thing as intellectual property when you’re talking about exercises.)

Also check out the advisory committee here.

Dr. Stuart McGill, BackFitPro

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Stuart McGill is a professor of biomechanics at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. He frequently advises governments, corporations, and elite athletes and athletic teams when it comes to difficult back cases. In his laboratory at the University of Waterloo, experts test out products and recommendations, and only the best make it to his website, BackFitPro, a repository of back pain prevention and rehabilitation information.

Watch this video to get to know McGill and his work a little better:



You can also find a video series in which Dr. McGill busts back exercise myths here or read an article about core training by Dr. McGill here.