ESC Recommended Exercise of the Week #19

Some of our members struggle on the court with lower back pain. Canadian spine researcher Dr. Stuart McGill from the University of Waterloo is well known for his big 3 exercises for spine stabilization: the Bird Dog, the Curl Up and the Side Bridge. Here’s a squash take on these exercises and some variations.

Dave Benterud, co-owner of Tawa Physical Therapy has this to say about the McGill exercises:

“Stuart McGill has developed some great, well-researched exercises and I use them with my patients daily. For most patients, the beginner versions of these exercises provide a relatively safe starting point for core strengthening. One concern I have when giving McGill side planks to patients is the potential for developing a painful shoulder. The last thing you want to do when doing exercises to fix one problem is to end up with 2 problems.
“I also agree with this physiotherapist that exercising the core out of neutral and into different functional positions is safe and important for our daily lives and sport function. There is no one-size-fits-all exercise routine for people who experience lower back pain. Devising a safe and challenging lower back exercise program in conjunction with your physiotherapist depends on many factors: pain location, severity, aggravating movements or activities, mechanism of injury,  movement restriction patterns, the presence of muscle imbalances- (usually specific muscle tightness/weakness), among other factors. Your physiotherapist will note all these things during your assessment and help you devise a customized workout routine from there.

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